Funeral arrangements for Raoul J. Cita announced.
is now available on Raoul J. Cita’s funeral.
is a viewing this Thursday, December 18, from 3-8 PM, at Benta's
Funeral Home 630 St. Nicholas Ave, NY, NY. A service will be held on
Friday at 11 AM.
Royales voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
So glad to hear the Five
Royales have been voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Unfortunately the Spinners and Marvelettes failed to make it in.
In the public vote, the Spinners and Marvelettes finished 13th and
14th out of 15.
mentor, Raoul J. Cita passes.
Just heard the terrible
news that our friend Raoul J. Cita of the Harptones has passed away.
Cita died of cancer on the morning of December 13, 2014, at the age of
86. Cita was a giant in our music, as a musician, songwriter,
arranger, vocal coach and teacher and most of all as the musical
director and driving force behind the Harptones, one of the greatest
R&B vocal groups of our time.
Raoul J. Cita was born on February 11, 1928 in Newark, NJ, but was
raised in New York City. He started taking piano lessons at the age
of five and at first was into big band music. He first met the
Skylarks (forerunners of the Harptones) around 1951 when they
auditioned for a dance Cita was running at Bowman’s. He worked with
the group to perfect their harmonies. Cita didn’t see the group again
until 1953 when they returned to him for guidance. He re-named them
the Harps (later changed to the Harptones) and gave them some songs
he’d written. From then on, Raoul Cita became the Harptones’ pianist,
arranger, vocal coach, sometimes tenor or baritone and overall manager
and mentor. Cita’s relationship with the Harptones lasted more than
Raoul J. Cita worked with other groups besides the Harptones. In the
early years, he rehearsed a group called the Dreamers, who would later
become the Valentines. Cita also worked with the Joytones, Hearts
(Baton label), Lyrics, Neons, Rubies, Herb Lance, Mabel King, Carol
Blades, Peggy Farmer and many others. The Royale Cita Chorus was a
combination of three of Cita’s group, the Harptones, Joytones and
Raoul Cita also recorded a duet with Gloria Hawkins under the mane Roy
& Gloria (DeLuxe label). But one of his biggest talents was
songwriting. He’s credited with writing or co-writing almost 70 songs
including, “Forever Mine,” “I Depended On You,” “Life Is But A Dream,”
“Loving A Girl Like You,” “My Memories Of You,” “That’s The Way It
Goes,” “Three Wishes,” "I'll Never Tell" and many more.
Raoul J. Cita on right
Raoul J. Cita on left
"Blue" Lovett of the Manhattans dies a week after fellow group member Sonny
Sadly we have to report
the passing of Manhattans' Blue Lovett, just a few days after the
death of Sonny Bivins. Lovett was 74. Both were founding
members of the Manhattans, one of the greatest soul vocal groups of
Isidore recovering from heart attack.
Our friend Little
Isidore is recovering from a heart attack, suffered while performing
recently in Pittsburgh. He is home now and resting. Future
shows by Little Isidore & the Inquisitors have been postponed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him for a speedy recovery!
Bivins, founding member of the great soul vocal group, the Manhattans
(1936 - 2014)
Edward Jesse "Sonny" Bivins, tenor and founding member of the great
Jersey City, NJ, soul group, the Manhattans, died December 3, 2014.
Bivins was born in Macon, GA, on January 15, 1936. In 1950, he moved
with his family to Jersey City, NJ. He began singing with the group
that would eventually evolve into the Manhattans in the late 1950's.
For a while, the group called themselves the Dulcets and in 1961 they
record "Pork Chops" for the
Asnes label, though their name was misspelled "Dorsets" on
the label. After a few personnel changes, the group (now called the
Manhattans) competed on the Apollo Theatre's amateur night, coming in
third place. That was enough to convince Joe Evens to record them on
Carnival label in 1964. From there, the Manhattans went
on to become international stars. Sonny Bivins, in addition to being
a talented entertainer, was also a great song writer. He wrote many
of the Manhattans hits, including “Follow Your Heart,” “I’m the One
Love Forgot,” “I call it Love,” “Baby I’m Sorry” and “There’s No Me
Without You”. The complete Manhattans story can be found in five
parts on the
Soulexpress website. To hear a YouTube of
the Manhattans singing Bivins' composition, "I'm The One Love Forgot"
Manhattans. [Photo courtesy of Jeanie
Manhattans, Sonny Bivins top
harmony historian and writer, Carl Janusek (1943 - 2014)
We were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of fellow
group harmony historian and writer Carl Janusek. Carl died on Friday
December 5, 2014 at the age of 71. Carl was best known to us as a
fellow writer for Echoes of the Past magazine, a publication that he
contributed articles to for the past 25 years. Carl was born in
McKeesport, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, on May 22, 1943. He
specialized in the history of R&B and doo wop vocal groups from the
Pittsburgh area, and much of what we know about groups from that
geographic area, we owe to Carl. His passing is a terrible loss for
our music community.
Dick Rietveld, Tenor for the Deep River Quartet
New Tribute Page just added to this website.
On November 8, 2014. the music world
lost one of its greatest proponents of quartet singing and we lost a
good friend. Dick Rietveld, great tenor for the popular Dutch
vocal quartet, the Deep River Quartet, passed into eternity.
Dick suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died
at the age of 58.
With its unique blend of
vocal harmony, the Deep River Quartet evolved into one of the premier
entertaining ensembles in Europe. The Netherlands-based group, whose
career has spanned the past 40 years, was equally adept at vocal
interpretations of Jazz, Spirituals, R&B and Soul classics.
With over 24 albums to their credit,
the Deep River Quartet not only sang all over the Netherlands,
Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland, but also
appeared in Great Britain, Indonesia, India, Singapore and the Dutch
Antilles. They’ve been favorites at the North Sea Jazz Festival and
the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival in Scotland. One of their TV specials
received the highest rating ever awarded to a musical program, in the
history of Dutch television.
With their huge following in Europe,
the Deep River Quartet found no shortage of work, touring constantly.
On their one trip to the United States, the Deep River Quartet sang
at our (Charlie & Pam Horner’s) wedding and made an appearance on Jim
Bakay’s WRDV radio program. Photos and videos are now viewable
on our Tribute Page to Dick.
Dick Rietveld Tribute Page to take a look.
Dick Rietveld played a huge part in the
Deep River Quartet’s success as entertainers, leading many of the
group’s numbers. His extraordinary tenor voice allowed him to almost
effortlessly render Ink Spots’ tunes like “Into Each Life Some Rain
Must Fall” and “I’ll Never Smile Again”. Dick Rietveld and the Deep
River Quartet’s legacy is perhaps that over the years they brought
harmony, though quartet singing, to hundreds of thousands, maybe
millions of people. And that’s a might important gift to all of us.
Thank you Dick. We’ll miss you.
River Quartet with Pam & Charlie, 2008
Dick Rietveld third from left.
Stirrers' great, Leroy Crume passes.
Sorry to report that Soul Stirrers' great, Leroy Crume died
October 21, 2014 of cancer. Leroy first joined the Soul Stirrers as
guitarist back in the 1950's in the Sam Cooke era. He later became a key
singer with the group. We last saw Leroy in February 2013 at Reverend
Brenda Boone's annual gospel program in Portsmouth VA. To see photos
from that event, click
2013 Gospel in Portsmouth.
Stirrers with Pam & Charlie, 2013
Left to right: Charlie
Horner, Leroy Crume,
Frankie Davis, Pam Horner, J.D., Arthur Crume
Classic Urban Harmony Free Email Newsletter (#22) now out!
The latest issue of the Classic Urban Harmony Free Email
Newsletter is now out and should be in your InBox. This is our biggest
and best newsletter to date and is packed full of group harmony news. If
you didn't receive it and would like to, send your name and email address to
Transfer's Tim Hauser dies
Tim Hauser & Charlie Horner, 2008
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Tim
Hauser, founder of the great vocal group Manhattan Transfer. Tim died
October 16, 2014. He was 72. Tim was not
only a phenomenal entertainer but a major figure in preserving the legacy of
our music. He was among other things, a singer, arranger, producer,
music historian and radio host. Our music has lost one of its most
Tim Hauser was born in 1941 in Troy NY but grew up near Asbury
Park NJ. Influenced by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, he formed the doo
wop group the Criterions, named after Criterion Candies, a store on the Asbury
Park boardwalk. The Criterions recorded two songs for Cecelia Records.
Tim went to Villanova University where he got involved with the college's
radio station. He once told us that it was there that he found a copy of
the Friendly Brothers' recording of "Operator," a song he'd later record with
In 1969, Tim formed the first incarnation of Manhattan
Transfer, a group that (with a few personnel changes) would sing for 45 years.
Manhattan Transfer's nation-wide summer TV show, in 1970's, thrilled doo wop
fans with performances of songs like "Hearts Desire," "Gloria," and "Guided
Missiles". In 1981, Manhattan Transfer gave new life to the Ad Libs'
song, "Boy From New York City".
Tim Hauser and Manhattan Transfer explored numerous styles of
vocal harmony, including jazz, doo wop, R&B and vocalese.
Thank you, Tim, for all you've done for our music. We'll
miss you. - Charlie & Pam
The Criterions, Tim Hauser upper right
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
We are back! Pam &
Charlie return from Hawaii!
Yes, we know many of you were wondering what happened to us the
past few weeks as we were not updating this website, sending out the next
email newsletter or posting to FaceBook. Actually, we were on a cruise
ship circling the Hawaiian Islands. We had a great time staring down the
tops of volcanic craters and hiking through rain forests at 3000 feet, but now
it's time to catch up on all we missed. It may take us a little time to
cover all that's happened while we were gone, so please be patient with us.
In the meantime, visit Our Events
Calendar to see all the recently updated coming concerts and scroll
down to new items on this page. We'll be adding a lot more and
publishing our next free email newsletter soon. - Charlie & Pam
Tymes' original second tenor,
George Hilliard passes.
We are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of the Tymes'
original second tenor, George Hilliard. The Tymes really came together
as the Latineers in 1955, when George Hilliard and Norman Burnett met at a
summer camp. The Philadelphia vocal group soon came together with the
addition of Albert "Ceasar" Berry and Donald Banks. Renamed the Tymes
prior to their first record, the group went to become one of the greatest
vocal groups Philadelphia has ever had. Their 1960's hits "So Much In
Love," "Wonderful Wonderful," "Somewhere," "The Magic Of Our Summer Love,"
"These Foolish Things," "Pretend" and "People" are still very much appreciated
today. George Hilliard left the Tymes in the early 1970's to enter the
ministry. The group continued without him to chart again with "Trustmaker"
and "Ms. Grace".
George Hilliard passed away on September 24, 2014. Our
heartfelt condolences to George's family and friends. He contributed
much to the history of vocal harmony and he will be missed. [Our thanks
to Ceasar Berry for letting us know about this.]
Photos below are from the Doo
Wop Mural dedication in Germantown's Trolley Car Diner, April 2010. To
see photos of that event click
Doo Wop Mural.
George, Ceasar, Donald and Norman, the original Tymes,
reunited for the doo wop mural dedication in 2010.
Donald Banks, Pam Horner & George Hilliard, 2010
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
New Philly Doo Wop Festival a
Huge Success - Draws 2200 people!
Doo Wop music in Philadelphia is alive and well! Just
when many were questioning whether there would ever again be a doo wop
festival in Philadelphia, the annual event was restored and was bigger and
better than our wildest dreams. Under new management, at a new
location, the event featured 14 vocal groups, classic cars, dancing and record
and memorabilia tables. A crowd of 2200 doo wop fans packed the
festival, most seated in lawn chairs in front of the large outdoor stage.
A full compliment of Philly's doo wop radio personalities past and present,
including Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner, did the emceeing.
Awards were presented to contributors to Philly's doo wop music legacy.
For those who weren't able to attend, or those who want to
relive this glorious moment in Philly's Doo Wop legacy, we have posted about
50 photos from the event here. Click
2014 Philly Doo Wop Festival to
take a look.
2200 people crowded the Philly Doo Wop Festival at the FOP
Above, Cornerstone serenades the audience.
Our article on Satan & the
Angels now posted to this website.
Satan & the Angels, the great doo wop acappella group from
Trenton NJ who recorded a now much sought after LP in the late 1960's only
sang for a short time but left their mark on group harmony history. Our
article on the group, previously published in Echoes of the Past
magazine, is now available in its entirety on this website for all to read.
We've added color scans of the album and updated the discography. To
take a look, click
Satan & the Angels.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
Latest Issue of Echoes of the
Past now out. Contains our article on the
The latest issue of Echoes of the Past (#109) is now
out, and it's a great one! Our long awaited article on the Dreamers (Grand
& Rollin' labels), Quadrells (Whirlin' Disc), Universals (Mark-X,
Ascot labels), Cameos (Cameo label), Strangers (Maske &
Checker labels) is in it, as well as George Frunzi's article on the Five
Diamonds (Treat label), Cooperettes (Brunswick), Carl Janusek's article
on the Mon-Vales (Pen Joy) and Lee Silver's article on the Royal Teens.
Add to this articles by Nay Nasser, Larry Stidom and even some CD reviews.
If you're not getting Echoes, subscribe now. A year subscription
is only $16.99 (in the U.S.) for four issues. Contact Bob Belniak at
Charlie & Pam on Jim Bakay's
"Gospel Train" radio program. Photos now posted.
Charlie & Pam made their second
guest appearance on Jim Bakay's "Gospel Train" radio program on WRDV Radio
(89.3 FM Warminster/Hatboro, PA; 107.3 FM Philadelphia PA; 97.1 FM Bensalem
PA; WLBS 91.7 FM Bristol/Levittown PA) on Tuesday night September 9. The
program normally runs from 10 -
11 PM, but we had a lot of great gospel quartets to play, so we actually ran
over by about 45 minutes! The program was also heard on the internet at
We spun great obscure gospel harmony records from the 1960's and 1970's out of
Virginia and the Carolinas. To see some photos from our appearance,
Gospel Train 2014.
Pam & Charlie with Jim Bakay at WRDV's "Gospel Train" Sept. 9,
Jim Russell, founder of New
Orleans' iconic record store dies at 94.
Any record collectors who have ever been to New Orleans, know
of Jim Russell's record store on lower Magazine Street. It's been a
source of vinyl records for us for decades. Russell (real name Russell
J. Bimback) had a long and colorful history prior to opening the record store,
as a radio disc jockey and music promoter. He was a major figure in New
Orleans R&B. Russell died July 20, 2014. Read all about him in the
article from Off Beat magazine.
Classic Urban Harmony presentation of "Under
The Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop Era - Part 1" comes to Cranford (NJ)
Community Center, Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
If haven't been able to catch our newly updated
multimedia presentation, "Under The Streetlamp: Tales From the Doo Wop
Era - Part 1" yet (or want to see it again), here's your chance! On
Wednesday evening September 17, 2014 at 7:30 PM, Charlie & Pam bring their
popular presentation about doo wop music to the beautiful Cranford NJ Community
Center, 220 Walnut Ave., Cranford NJ (next to the library). The event is
sponsored by the Friends of the Cranford Public Library. Admission is FREE
and all are welcomed. Come out and join us for a great time.
Cranford NJ Community Center
220 Walnut Ave., Cranford NJ
R&R and R&B Archives Willed to Classic Urban Harmony
We were deeply touch and honored to learn this week that our friend and
noted R&B music historian, Phil Groia, named Classic Urban Harmony in
his will to receive his archive of R&R and R&B items. Phil, R&B
vocal group researcher and author, passed away July 8, 2014.
[Scroll down to read his obit, here.] We are all indebted to Phil
for leading the way with his ground breaking research some 40+ years
ago. Phil set a high standard for researchers that followed.
We are proud to preserve his work.
Groia's book, "They All Sang On The Corner," is a MUST READ for anyone
interested in NYC 1950's R&B vocal groups. Though the second
edition (published 1983) is long out of print, a few used copies can
still be found at bargain prices. Grab one before they all
disappear. Clicking on the photo below will take you to Amazon.com
to purchase one.
Phil Groia's "They All Sang On The Corner"
Click on the book's photo to be taken to
Amazon's page to purchase a copy.
Urban Harmony meets with author Madonna Carter Jackson regarding her father's
photos for the Asbury Park West Side Music exhibit.
Our upcoming exhibit of Asbury Park's West Side Music photos and
memorabilia is getting bigger and bigger every day. On August 21,
Pam & Charlie met with Madonna Carter Jackson, author of the series of
books, Asbury Park: A West Side Story. Madonna's father,
Joseph A. Carter Sr., was the West Side's premier photographer.
His dedication to preserving the area's cultural heritage through
photography is unprecedented. Though Joseph Carter passed away in
1980, his photographs are being preserved by his daughter, Madonna
Carter Jackson, in a series of books. Madonna has graciously
offered to help us with our exhibit. If you have any interest in
African American cultural history along the Jersey Shore, Mrs. Jackson's
books are an essential resource. Thank you, Madonna for all of
your support. To purchase any of Madonna's books visit her
Charlie & Madonna in Asbury Park
Group Harmony Historian, Phil Groia Dies.
We heard about this on August 8 but without confirmation, held up
reporting it in the hopes that it was not true.
We're deeply saddened to hear of the passing of friend and fellow group
harmony historian, Phil Groia. Phil died suddenly on July 8, 2014.
We believe he was only 73. Those of us who dedicate our lives to
preserving the history of Rhythm & Blues vocal harmony owe a debt of
gratitude to Phil. In the early 1970's serious research into the
history of our music was in its infancy. A few brave souls were daring
to interview singers of the 1950's for articles in magazines like
Town Review and
Bam Boom but few of us had the depth of knowledge or
patience to write a whole book. Lynn McCutcheon broke the ice with
"Rhythm And Blues" in 1971, which gave an overview of R&B. But Phil
Groia's book, "They All Sang On The Corner" really took this research to
a new level. "They All Sang On The Corner" took the research of NYC R&B
vocal groups to a level of details not previously seen. This book is a
valuable resource today (it was updated in a second edition in 1983) but
in the early years, it was mind-blowing! Thank you, Phil, for the
inspiration you gave us to do what we do.
Phil Groia with Pam
Stone dies at 93. Pioneer producer and record label owner.
Henry Stone. pioneer record producer and label owner
died August 7, 2014. Born in the Bronx on June 3, 1921, Stone began playing trumpet
in his teens. After leaving the service in 1946, he moved to Los
Angeles and worked for Modern Records, selling records to juke box
distributors across the country. In 1952 he moved to Miami FL and
started the Rockin' label for R&B (Otis Williams & the Charms) and the
Glory label for gospel music (Miami Soul Stirrers). He
would later own and operate a number of record labels including the Chart
(Champions, Evergreens, Charms) and Marlin (Majestics) labels (in the 1950's), and later R&B and disco labels like
Glades, TK and Alston. Stone was influential in the careers
of numerous vocal groups, most notably Otis Williams & the Charms.
The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival at the FOP
- Line Up Just Announced
It's back! The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival has
returned, this time for the benefit of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of
Police Survivors Fund. New location and new management, but the
excitement is still there. Seventeen area doo wop groups, Philly's best
radio personalities, record collector vendors, classic cars, five hours
indoor dance party - want more could you want? Rain or shine.
$20 admission gets you all the activities plus food, beer and soda.
Free parking. Sunday September 14, 2014 from 2 - 7 PM at Fraturnal
Order of Police Lodge #5, 11630 Caroline Rd., Philadelphia, PA. For
tickets call 215-629-3600 or visit
Groups appearing include: 5/3 Woodland, A Perfect Blend. the
Balladeers, the Bel Airs, Cornerstone, the Ecstasies, the Emeralds, Junior &
the 4 Seniors, Nite Lite, the Norristones, Nostalgia Five, Now & Then,
Platinum, Re-Memberthen, Reunion, Still Around and the Tributes.
Classic Urban Harmony Free Email Newsletter now in your In Box!
If it's not in your In-Box, first check you spam folder.
Some Email servers don't know essential newsletters from spam. If it's
not there, send us an email at
CUH@att.net. You don't want to miss
CUH Newsletter #21.
Echoes of the Past to feature our article on the North
Philly R&B groups, the Dreamers, Quadrells, Universals, Cameos,
Our latest article for the magazine
Echoes of the Past (due out in September) covers the related
North Philly R&B vocal groups, the Dreamers (Grand and Rollin'
labels), Quadrells (Whirlin' Disc label), Universals (Mark-X,
Cora-Lee, Ascot and Relic labels), Cameos (Cameo
label), Strangers (Maske and Checker labels) and Tommy
Cook & the Fantastics (Priority label). It is a fascinating look
at a talented pool of singers from the same neighborhood. You can read
the story by subscribing to Echoes
of the Past magazine. This magazine features great articles
on R&B and doo wop vocal groups from the 1950's and early 1960's. It
comes out four times annually and only costs $16.99 per year. To
subscribe, contact Bob Belniak at
Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner spins rare
records at the TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Party.
Vic Donna Group sings! What a great time!
Charlie Horner and Bob Campbell spun rare R&B vocal
group records at the August 1, 2014, TNT North Jersey Rhythm & Blues and Doo
Wop Party while the Vic Donna group sang. What a night! To see
August 2014 TNT.
Park West Side Music Display Shaping Up as a once in a lifetime Exhibit!
we're exaggerating? This exhibit keeps getting bigger and
better. Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters is turning into one
big staging area for the largest ever exhibit of Asbury Park's West
Side Music (1910 to 1970). We're assembling frames for over 100
photos, sheet music, records, posters and other memorabilia items.
Fans of R&B, Doo Wop, Gospel and Jazz music will be amazed at Asbury
Park's contributions to American popular music.
Working with the
Asbury Park Historical Society, the Light Of Day Foundation and
Monmouth University's Center for the Arts, Classic Urban Harmony
LLC is spearheading a comprehensive museum-like exhibit that will
be open to the public in January and February 2015.
exhibit will be previewed in the Heaven Art Gallery, 721 Cookman
Avenue, Asbury Park on January 11-12, 15-19. Then more photos
and larger items will be added as the exhibit moves to the larger
Pollak Gallery in Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ for the
month of February.
sincere thanks to the family of our friend, the late Bobby Thomas, for
providing numerous items from Bobby's estate. We'll now be
displaying things like Bobby's guitar and other memorabilia from the
Vibranaires, V-Eights and Orioles. The grand opening at Monmouth
University will be on February 4, 2015, where a grand reception will
take place from 6 - 8 PM. The public is invited. SAVE THE
also be a Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation there in
February (date to be determined) and possibly other events.
coming out to learn about Asbury Park's West Side contributions to the
careers of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Claude Hopkins, Erroll Garner,
Cozy Cole, the Spirits of Rhythm, the Golden Harmonaires, the
Missionary Jubilaires, the United Gospel Singers, the Vibranaires, the
Vibes, the Mar-Keys, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, the Endeavors, the
V-Eights, the Uniques, the Broadways, the Moments, Ray Goodman & Brown
and many many more.
Thomas rehearsing with the Sheps at
Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters, 2010.
Bobby's guitar, dating back to his Vibranaires
days will be part of the Monmouth University exhibit.
group, "A Perfect Blend," rocks the Franklin Township Library!!!
What a time at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset NJ on
July 9, when the acappella group, A Perfect Blend, captivated a packed
house with their "perfect blend" of soul and doo wop harmony. We
didn't know you could pack so many people into the library's community
room. We estimate 125-130 in the audience for the free event,
with an unknown number turned away because of space limitations.
[We told everyone to register early! Classic Urban Harmony
events have been rapidly expanding in popularity lately. We'll
have to start finding larger rooms.]
posted a review and a number of photos from this event. Click
Perfect Blend. If
you'd like to see A Perfect Blend in concert in Landsdale, PA, on
August 9, check our
A Perfect Blend at FTL
Conrad "Cliff" Dunn dies
We were very saddened to hear of the passing of Cliff Dunn, baritone
lead of the great Philadelphia R&B group, the Dreamlovers. Cliff died
on Sunday, June 22, 2014. The Dreamlovers began singing as the
Romancers in North Philadelphia in 1956. The group initially
consisted of brothers Cliff and Ray Dunn, Cleve Hammock, Tommy Ricks
and lead William Johnson. When Johnson was tragically shot and killed
at a neighborhood party, the group added guitarist (and
singer/songwriter) Donald Hogan and eventually new lead Morris Gardner
and re-emerged as the Dreamlovers. After three very fine, yet
unsuccessful records for the local
Len/V-Tone label and a prolific career as Cameo
Parkway backup artists for Chubby Checker (they were on
"The Twist"), Dee Dee Sharp, the Dovells, etc., the Dreamlovers came
into their own on
Heritage Records. There they scored with "When We Get
Married," "While We Were Dancing," Zoom Zoom Zoom" and "Welcome
Home". Later Dreamlovers' hits included "If I Should Lose You" and
"You Gave Me Somebody To Love". After a brief career as the soul
group, A Brothers Guiding Light, the group became the Dreamlovers
again in the 1980's.
[Thanks to Ceasar Berry of the Tymes for letting us know about this.]
Dreamlovers: Cliff Dunn second from
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
16 "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey" presentation at the Franklin
Township Library, one of our best!
Classic Urban Harmony's latest
multimedia presentation, "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey," was given
to a packed house on June 16 and has to go down as one of our most
successful events. The community room at the Franklin Township Library
in Somerset NJ holds 100 people and
there were only a couple empty seats (if that). We traced the growth of central New Jersey
1950’s and 1960’s Doo Wop Music in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Bound Brook, New
Brunswick, Trenton, Princeton, Somerville and
Plainfield. We even covered groups that formed at McGuire Air Force
Base. In the audience were members of local groups like the Golden Bells,
Contessas, Del Larks, Sheps, Satan & the Angels and Re-MemberThen.
Following the presentation we were also treated to some live doo wop
acappella singing by the Piscataway based group, Re-MemberThen! Our
presentation was sponsored by the Franklin Township Public Library and was
free to the public. We had such a great time, we'd love to give this
presentation again somewhere, though because of narrow geographic scope of
the project, we don't know where or when that might be. To read more
about this event and see photos plus videos of Re-MemberThen singing, click
Central NJ Groups.
Left to right: Tommie Shider (Sheps, currently with the
Joe Urbano (Satan & the Angels), Ron Taylor (Del Larks),
Pam Horner, Joyce
Walker (Golden Bells, Contessas),
Mary Cheek (Contessas), Charlie Horner
The late Bobby Thomas (Vibranaires,
V-Eights, Orioles) honored with an Asbury Angels boardwalk plaque.
The late Bobby Thomas, founder and lead singer of the Vibranaires and Vibes and
member of the V-Eights and Orioles received his Asbury Angels plaque on the
Asbury Park (NJ) Boardwalk of Fame on Saturday June 14, 2014. The popular
Asbury Park singer passed away in 2012 and was honored as an "Asbury Angel" in
this his first year of eligibility. Bobby was a pioneer in R&B vocal harmony.
The Asbury Angels Project honors those who have made major contributions to the
Asbury Park music scene and have now passed on. Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie
& Pam Horner, consultants to the Asbury Angels Project were there to help honor
Bobby’s memory along with members of Bobby’s family and friends. Photos and a
biographical sketch of Bobby Thomas were be added to the
Asbury Angels website. Bobby Thomas was one of nine prominent and
influential members of Asbury Park's music scene selected for this year's
induction. Other members include Odyssey Moore, owner of the West Side's
legendary night spot, the Orchid Lounge; singer Donnie Bertelson; Jim Giantonio
who booked acts at the Fast Lane nightclub; Delores Holmes, soul singer; Jim
McDonald, lighting director and stage manager; Carlo Novi, tenor sax player;
William & Albert Rediker who brought big bands and R&R shows to Convention Hall;
and Vinnie Roslin, bass player. For more photos of the plaque dedication, click
& Charlie Horner, Bobby's son Randy, wife Betty and
daughter Vickie in front of the Bobby
(Photo by Marian Cicerale)
Classic Urban Harmony Website
passes 100,000 Visits!
Our website has just passed 100,000 hits!!!! Our sincere
thanks to all of you for your support. You've made this one of the
premier websites for our music.
Registration NOW OPEN for FREE, Live, Acappella Concert by "A Perfect Blend"
at the Franklin Township Library, July 9.
Each year Classic Urban Harmony is pleased to assist the
Franklin Township Public Library by recommending a great acappella group for
their free Summer Concert Series. This year, we have another great
acappella group, the Philadelphia R&B and doo wop vocal group, A Perfect
Blend. If you haven't yet heard this fine Philadelphia group, you're
in for a treat!
It takes place on Wednesday evening July 9 from 7 - 8:30 PM at
the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.
The concert is FREE to attend but you must register. Sign up is
now open. Click
Franklin Township Library, then click
"Events" and "Adult Calendar" to bring up the calendar. Then in the
"search box" type "A Perfect Blend". You'll be brought
to a description of our event. Clicking on the little pen on the right
hand sign brings up the sign up page. Fill out the form with the
name, phone number and email and list each person attending. Alternately, you can call
732-873-8700 during regular business hours and ask for the Reference Desk.
Do Not leave a message, you must confirm your registration with a live
Singing legend, Jimmy Scott
dies at age of 88
terribly saddened to learn of the passing of our friend, legendary vocalist,
vocal stylings have, over the years, influenced everyone from Sonny Til to
Frankie Valli. His influence transcended just about all musical genres and
he had to be one of the most important singers of our time. It’s hard
to imagine what popular music would have been without Jimmy Scott. In
addition, we’ve come to know Jimmy and his wife Jeanie as two of the nicest
people we’ve ever met. We tried to catch Jimmy Scott's performances
whenever he was in our area, both on NYC and CT. Whenever we'd make
our way backstage, Jimmy always was glad to see us. Jimmy had a way of
welcoming people into his life. He was both humble and warm hearted.
The world has lost one of its greatest stars. Our thoughts and prayers
are with Jeanie and Jimmy's family and friends. - Charlie & Pam
Jimmy Scott with Charlie & Pam
The Blue Note, 2010
Jimmy & Pam, Lincoln Center, 2008
Jimmy & Charlie, Lincoln Center, 2008
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
music historian, radio dee jay, Bob Abrahamian dies.
We were shocked
and saddened today (June 6) to learn of the death of Bob Abrahamian, soul
music historian and host of the popular and informative "Sitting In The
Park" radio program. Bob has always been a friend to us at Classic
Urban Harmony, supplying us with photos, contacts and information about
groups we were researching, especially those from Chicago.
Unfortunately, Bob took his own life. He was only 35. Our
thoughts and prayers are with Bob's family.
Read Bob's obit
from the Chicago Sun-Times, see
Bob Abrahamian & Charlie Horner, 2009
issue of Echoes Of The Past magazine is out. Contains our article on the
acappella group, Satan & the Angels plus much more!
latest issue of Echoes Of The Past magazine (#108) is now out.
It contains our articel on the great acappella group from Trenton, NJ, Satan
& the Angels. Also in the magazine is Bob Bosco's article on the soul
group, the Informers; George Frunzi's article on the Orlons and a lot more.
If you're not getting it, subscribe now. A year subscription is only
$16.99 (in the U.S.) for four issues. Contact Bob Belniak at
article on Tony Talent & the Coalitions is now posted to this website.
Our article on
Tony Talent and the great soul group from Philadelphia, the Coalitions, is
now posted to this website. The article first appeared in Echoes of
the Past #107. If you didn't get that issue or if you want to see the
labels scans and photos in color, click
To hear their fabulous soul ballad, "Instead... How Are You" see the YouTube
Bobby Thomas to receive Asbury Angels plaque on Asbury Park Boardwalk,
Saturday June 14, 2014.
The late Bobby Thomas,
founder and lead singer of the Vibranaires and Vibes and member of the
V-Eights and Orioles is scheduled to receive his
Asbury Angels plaque on the Asbury Park (NJ) Boardwalk of Fame on Saturday
June 14, 2014. at 12:30 PM. The public is invited to the dedication
ceremony on the boardwalk at 2nd Avenue. The
Asbury Park singer passed away in 2012 and is being honored as an "Asbury
Angel" in this his first year of eligibility. Bobby was a pioneer in
R&B vocal harmony. The Asbury Angels Project honors those who have
made major contributions to the Asbury Park music scene and have now passed
on. Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie & Pam Horner are consultants to
the Asbury Angels Project. Photos and a biographical sketch of
Bobby Thomas will be added to the Asbury Angels website, shortly.
Bobby Thomas is one of nine prominent and influential members of Asbury
Park's music scene selected for this year's induction. Other members
include Odyssey Moore, owner of the West Side's legendary night spot, the
Orchid Lounge; singer Donnie Bertelson; Jim Giantonio who booked acts at the
Fast Lane nightclub; Delores Holmes, soul singer; Jim McDonald, lighting
director and stage manager; Carlo Novi, tenor sax player; William & Albert
Rediker who brought big bands and R&R shows to Convention Hall; and Vinnie
Roslin, bass player.
information, see the Asbury Angels Press Release and visit
Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner to appear with Alan David Stein on WCTC-AM
radio, June 10
Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner will make a rare radio
guest appearance with Alan David Stein on 1450 Talk Radio WCTC-AM on Tuesday
June 10, 2014 from 8 - 9 AM (New Jersey Time), drive time. Charlie
will be discussing doo wop vocal groups from central New Jersey with Alan.
They'll be taking phone calls over the air and playing short audio clips.
The show can be heard in central New Jersey on 1450 AM and on the Internet
by going to
www.wctcam.com. This is a prelude to our June 16 multimedia
presentation on the same topic at the Franklin Township Public Library.
If you haven't signed up yet, space is running out. See our
Calendar for how to register.
Richard Nader Entertainment's
25th Anniversary Doo Wop Concert a real 'Blast From the Past'!!!
Twelve groups graced the stage at the May 30, 2014 Richard
Nader Entertainment's 25th Anniversary Doo Wop Concert, and that doesn't even
count opening acts Re-MemberThen (winners of the outside acappella contest)
and Twin Gold who opened the show. Classic Urban Harmony was right there
to catch all the excitement of the concert in a photo packed review of the
event. Click Nader 25th Anniversary Concert to take a look.
Vito Balsamo & group at the Nader concert
Re-MemberThen wins the
Richard Nader Acappella Contest Again!
Congratulations to our friends in the Piscataway NJ based
acappella group, Re-MemberThen, who on May 30, 2014, won Don K. Reed's outdoor
acappella group contest, outside of the IZOD Center prior to the Richard Nader
Doo Wop Concert XXV. This was the second time in three years that Re-MemberThen
entered the contest, winning each time. The winners then got to open the
concert inside the IZOD Center later that evening. Re-MemberThen will
have their new CD out shortly. Watch a video of Re-MemberThen singing
inside the IZOD Center (below).
Classic Urban Harmony Free
Email Newsletter #20 is now out.
If you subscribe, it should now in your In-Box. Some
people did not receive it, so let us know if you didn't. If you'd like
to subscribe, send your name and email to
Herb Jeffries dies at 100.
Jazz singer, singing cowboy in black westerns.
Jeffries [sometimes spelled Jeffrey], crooner, actor and singing
cowboy in black westerns of the late 1930’s, died May 25, 2014, of
heart failure at a California hospital at the age of 100. Jeffries
was born Umberto Alexander Valentino in Detroit
on September 24, 1913. His mother was Irish and his father, whom he
never knew, was a mix of Sicilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Native
American and African American. Jeffries was proud of his African
American heritage and in spite of his light skin always considered
himself a person of color.
Jeffries became a singer at an early age and began working with
Erksine Tate and his Vendome
Orchestra in Chicago. During the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933,
Jeffries sang on national radio with Earl Hines’ Orchestra. With
Hines’ orchestra, he made his first recordings in 1934.
While on touring the South, Jeffries took note of the
popularity of theaters showing cowboy motion pictures. He felt that
black westerns could be successful and soon found a director and
distributor. When he couldn’t fine a singer/actor to star in the
film, Jeffries decided to star himself. A number of classic black
westerns followed, with Jeffries playing the lead role as singing
cowboy. Group harmony fans love his songs backed by groups like Dusty
Brooks & the Four Tones and Cats & A Fiddle. Films included Harlem On
The Prairie (1937), Two Gun Man From Harlem (1938), The Bronze
Buckaroo (1939) and Harlem Rides The Range (1939).
watch Herb Jeffries sing "I'm A Happy Cowboys" with Cats & A Fiddle,
Two Gun Man From Harlem.
By 1940, Herb Jeffries was a vocalist with Duke
Ellington’s band, with whom he recorded. His recording of "Flamingo"
(1940) with Ellington was a best seller. Jeffries’ recording of “At
Least You Can Save Me A Dream” (Excelsior label), backed by the
female trio, the Three Shades of Rhythm, was arranged and directed by
future Delta Rhythm Boys’ Carl Jones.
The Three Shades of Rhythm were recruited out of Jefferson High School
in Los Angeles for the recording session by Carl Jones who was doing
vocal arrangements for Excelsior Records while in college. One
of the Shades of Rhythm, Effie Smith went on to greater fame as a
blues and pop singer.
A film about Herb Jeffries’ life was produced in
2007. Click to watch a trailer for “A
Jeffries’ last recordings were done in 1995 for the WEA/Warner
label CD, “The Bronze Buckaroo Rides Again”. Background vocals on one
cut were done by Donald Mills and his son John Mills, the last
commercial recording by the Mills Brothers’ Donald Mills. Take Six
backed Jeffries on another cut on the CD.
Classic Urban Harmony and the
Asbury Park Historical Society teaming up to assemble comprehensive museum
exhibit of Asbury Park black music history. Exhibit will be on display
in January and February 2015.
Breaking News!!! We've just finalized the details for our
Asbury Park NJ black music exhibit, "Asbury
Park’s Springwood Avenue Harmony: Celebrating The West Side’s Unique Musical
Long before Asbury Park became known for rock music, the city’s
African American community rocked on Springwood Avenue. Between
1910 and 1970, the city’s West Side pioneered the sounds of jazz,
gospel and rhythm & blues. This exhibit explores, chronicles and
highlights Asbury Park’s black music scene from Count Basie to Billy
Brown, through an impressive collection of rare photos and
Working with the Asbury
Park Historical Society, the Light Of Day Foundation and Monmouth
University's Center for the Arts, Classic Urban Harmony LLC is
spearheading a comprehensive museum-like exhibit that will be open to
the public in January and February 2015.
The exhibit will contain
scores of rare photographs plus phonograph records, posters, sheet
music, musical instruments and other memorabilia from Asbury Park's West
Side. It will contain sections on jazz, gospel and R&B music, and
will also highlight black radio, record labels and record stores.
One section of the exhibit will feature photos and ads for early
Springwood Avenue nightclubs and theaters.
Fans of R&B, doo wop and gospel
vocal harmony groups can be sure these genres will be well represented.
There'll be plenty of items related to Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires,
Lenny Welch & the Markeeys, the Ray Dots, the V-Eights, the Broadways,
Billy Brown with the Moments & Ray Goodman & Brown, the Missionary
Jubilaires, Golden Harmonaires, United Gospel Singers, Golden
Harmonettes and many more.
The exhibit will first
open in the Heaven Art Gallery, 721 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
There it will run from Sunday January 11 through January 19, 2015
(closed January 13 and 14) during Asbury Park's annual Light Of Day
concert series. The Light Of Day Foundation raises money to find a
cure for Parkinson's Disease and their concert series brings thousands
of music fans from around the world.
The Heaven Art
Gallery, located on the second floor
of 721 Cookman Ave. (the long narrow,
glass front building above), in downtown Asbury Park.
Following the exhibit's
close in Asbury Park, it will be expanded even further and moved to
Monmouth University's larger Pollak Gallery on the university's campus
at 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ. There the exhibit will
remain viewable for the entire month of February, 2015. We'll be
scheduling a Classic Urban Harmony multimedia presentation during
February, possibly at the Pollak Theater, a magnificent 700 seat venue.
Other related events are being discussed. Follow our
for more details.
Monmouth University's Pollak Gallery is located in the Pollak
Read Charlie Horner's article
on the lost history of Asbury Park's Smile-A-While Inn: Long forgotten jazz
club of the 1920's and 1930's that gave a start to Count Basie, Claude
Thornton and many others
Our ongoing project to document African American music from
Asbury Park NJ has led us to the fascinating tale of the Smile-a-While Inn, a
popular West Side jazz nightclub during the 1920's and 1930's. While
there's not much in the literature about the Smile-A-While, we've uncovered
enough to know there's a great story here. First hand accounts will be
hard to come by, as anyone frequenting this club in 1926 would now be about
108 years old now. Charlie just wrote an article about the Smile-A-while
Inn for the (Asbury Park) Coaster newspaper, which we have reprinted here with
their permission. To read the article, click
Autobiography of Joe Evans,
Jazz Musician and Owner of the Carnival Label now on our Bookshelf Page
When Joe Evans died at the age of 97 this past January, we were
prompted to read his autobiography, "Follow Your Heart," first published in 2008. Joe Evans
was a famous sax player who played with some of the biggest bands of the
1930's and 1940's. He went on to play in the house bands of the Savoy
Ballroom and Apollo Theater and tour with several of the R&R shows of the
1950's and early 1960's. He also founded the Carnival label that
gave us the Manhattans and many more. We highly recommend this book as
it has interest to jazz enthusiasts as well as R&B and soul music fans.
See our full review on our Bookshelf
Page and if you wish, follow the link to where you can purchase a
copy. Copies won't be around forever.
Jerry "Chief" Russell,
founder and owner of Goldradio passes.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Jerry "Chief"
Russell, founder and owner of Goldradio, the doo wop/oldies Internet radio
station that brings us George Frunzi's "Down On The Street Corner" and Carl
Tancredi's "Work With Me Annie" programs, among many others. While we
didn't know Chief well, we had spoken to him by phone when we guested on
George Frunzi's show and we were impressed by his dedication and enthusiasm
for the music. He will be missed.
More losses to our musical
We are also saddened to report the passings of three more
legendary lead singers recently: Little Joe Cook of the Thrillers, Bob
Bovino of the Bob Knight Four and Joe Speedo Frazier of the Impalas.
We'll have something on each of them in our next newsletter.
Announced for the Friends of Joel Katz Benefit Dinner and Concert, September
As Joel Katz battles cancer, his friends are getting together
for an incredible all star concert and dinner to raise money for him.
Please help with you attendance and/or donations! Concert stars the
Dubs, the Fireflies, Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, the Devotions, the
Solitaires, the Willows, Kid Kyle, the Five Discs, Quiet Storm, possibly
more groups. It takes place on Sunday September 21, 2014, beginning at
3 PM at the Elan, 111 Route 46 West in Lodi, NJ. Tickets are $75 per
person for family style dinner and concert. See our
Events Calendar for
more details. For tickets call 570-775-9217 or 201-845-0579.
New, "Doo Wop Groups of Central New Jersey" presentation planned for the
Franklin Township Public Library, June 16, 2014.
Classic Urban Harmony has put together a completely new
multimedia presentation. Music
historians Charlie & Pam Horner trace the growth of central New Jersey
1950’s and 1960’s Doo Wop Music. Who knew so many great doo wop groups came
from New Brunswick, Trenton, Bound Brook, Princeton, Somerville and
Plainfield? You may not be familiar with groups like the Golden Bells,
Majestics, Del Larks, Parliaments, Plazas, Dynamics, Off Keys, Admirations
and Satan & the Angels now, but you will be when you leave this
presentation. Central NJ doo wop groups were and still are top notch!
You’ll even learn about our area’s current acappella doo wop groups.
This presentation is FREE but registration is
required since only 100 people will be able to fit in the room (due to fire
department regulations). We expect quite a few singers from the talk
will attend, so register early. This presentation is expected to fill
It takes place on Monday evening June 16 from 7 - 8:30 PM at
the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ.
The presentation is free to attend but you must register. Sign up
begins May 15, so check back here on that date and we'll give you a link to
Live, Acappella Concert by "A Perfect Blend" at the Franklin Township Public
Library, July 9, 2014.
Each year Classic Urban Harmony is pleased to assist the
Franklin Township Public Library by recommending a great acappella group for
their free Summer Concert Series. This year, we have another great
acappella group, the Philadelphia R&B and doo wop vocal group, A Perfect
Blend. If you haven't yet heard this fine Philadelphia group, you're
in for a treat! It takes place on Wednesday evening July 9 from 7 -
8:30 PM at the Franklin Township Public Library, 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset,
NJ. We expect registration to fill up quickly for this one, so watch
our website to find out when you can register.
Classic Urban Harmony's
"Crossing Jordan" presentation well received at Caldwell College's
Lifelong Learning Institute.
Our sincere thanks to to the staff of Caldwell College's
Lifelong Learning Institute and all those whop came out to see our
presentation, "Crossing Jordan: How African American Spirituals Changed the
World" on Friday April 4. The lecture hall at Caldwell College was a
great place to give presentations, with two electronic screens as well as
the large projection screen. The audience was very enthusiastic and
well met a lot of nice people.
Charlie talking about Spirituals
Pam displaying Spirituals sheet music and photos
Jazzman Records UK visit
Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters
On April 6, 2014, Jazzman Gerald and Liam Large, of the UK's
Jazzman record label, dropped by Classic Urban Harmony's world
headquarters for an afternoon visit. Jazzman Records is looking
to legally re-release a rare jazz album recorded by former Castelles' bass
singer, Ron Everett, back around 1980. The late Ron Everett had been a
friend of Classic Urban Harmony's Charlie Horner and had given Charlie a few
of his jazz recordings, but unfortunately we did not have the album Gerald and
Liam were looking for. If anyone reading this has Ron Everett's
Vagabond King label album or knows the whereabouts of Ron's family, please
email us at CUH@att.net
and we'll pass the info on to Jazzman Records. Visit Jazzman
Records' website at
Gerald, Charlie and Liam at Classic Urban Harmony Headquarters
The Whiptones sing the National Anthem
before 30,000 people at the Mets' 2014 Opening Game!
Our friends, the teenage acappella doo wop
group from Whippany NJ, the Whiptones, were outstanding in singing the "Star Spangled
Banner" at the New York Mets' opening game at CitiField, on March 31.
Our crowd of more than 30,000 saw the group sing live, with probably a million more
(including us) watching on TV. The Whiptones won the spot from a strong field of competitors who auditioned
March 10 at the 2014 NY Mets Anthem Search. The Whiptones have also been
kept busy lately making several television appearances. Our congratulations to the Whiptones! [Watch
a Youtube of the group singing the national anthem, below and then visit the Whiptones' website at
Classic Urban Harmony presentation,
"Crossing Jordan: How African American Spirituals Changed the World" at the
Lifelong Learning Institute, Caldwell College, 10 AM, Friday April 4, 2014.
If you haven't heard Classic Urban Harmony's inspirational multimedia presentation of "Crossing Jordan: How
African American Spirituals Changed the World," you'll have one more
chance to take it in. We'll be giving it as part of Caldwell College's
Lifelong Learning Institute. While the presentation will take place
from 10 - 11:30 AM, there'll be a pre-lecture social beginning at 9:15,
where you'll get a chance to flip through our collection of gospel group
Caldwell College's Center for Student Success is located at 120 Bloomfield
Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006 (see the map below). We'll be in Werner
Hall, Building #6 on the map. The presentation is open to the public
($10 per person) with registration. No pre-registration is necessary - just attend.
Park in the main parking lot (top of map). For info call
973-618-3000 or visit
Map of Caldwell College's Center for Student Success
Werner Hall is Building #6 on map
Work on our January 2015
Gallery Exhibit on Asbury Park West Side Music taking shape!
We continue working hard on preparations for our January 2015
gallery exhibit of photos and memorabilia from Asbury Park's West Side music.
We may be soon be announcing the location and dates when it will be opened.
After running for a couple weeks in an Asbury Park NJ downtown gallery as part
of the 2015 Light Of Day celebration, the exhibit is expected to move to
Monmouth University. The exhibit is being designed by Classic Urban
Harmony and the Asbury Park Historical Society. The Light of Day
Foundation supports research into Parkinson's Disease and each January they
sponsor a week of music concerts and events in Asbury Park that attract music
fans from around the globe. We have already collected over a hundred
photos from Asbury Park's West Side from which we'll choose those to display.
We also will have numerous memorabilia items on display, including records,
posters, uniforms and musical instruments from the West Side. We even
have the giant sign from Springwood Avenue's Turf Club.
The exhibit will cover the West Side's music history from 1910
until 1970, beginning with early jazz artists connected with Asbury Park,
including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sonny Greer, Fats Waller and Claude
Hopkins. It will also have displays of Asbury Park's early R&B artists
like Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch, the Ray Dots, the V-Eights,
the Uniques, Broadways and many more. Another segment of the exhibit
will be Asbury Park's gospel music. If anyone has photos, posters or
music memorabilia to donate or lend to our exhibit from the glory days of
Asbury Park's West Side, please email us at
We recently attended a panel discussion of the West Side's jazz
scene produced by the Ocean Township Historical Museum. It featured as
panelists, Asbury Park jazz musicians, Gladstone Trott, Clifford Johnson and
Left to right: Gladstone Trott, Clifford Johnson, Dorian
On our last visit to Asbury Park, we took the opportunity to
visit with Leon Trent, former member of the soul vocal group, the Broadways,
and now performing as part of the Waterfront Duo. Leon just released a
song he recorded in Nashville, "Gonna Find Me An Angel". It's available
for download on Amazon and ITunes.
Pam & Charlie Horner, Leon Trent
Latest Classic Urban Harmony
Free Email Newsletter (#19) now out.
This is our biggest issue yet. If it's not in your In
Box, send your name and email address to
Breaking News!!! The
Whiptones to sing the National Anthem at the Mets' 2014 Opening Game!
This just in! Our friends, the teenage acappella doo wop
group from Whippany NJ, the Whiptones, will be singing the "Star Spangled
Banner" at the New York Mets' opening game at CitiField, on March 31 at 1 PM.
The Whiptones won the spot from a strong field of competitors who auditioned
March 10 at the 2014 NY Mets Anthem Search. We saw the group highlighted
on Fox News, who covered the auditions. Our congratulations to the
Whiptones! [Visit the Whiptones' website at
(Photo courtesy of the Whiptones)
Our article on the Golden
Bells & Contessas, now posted to this website.
Our article on the Golden Bells (Sure label) and
Contessas (WGW label) that recently appeared in Echoes of the Past
magazine, is now posted to this website. We've updated it with new
photos and converted the label scans
to color. You can read the entire article by clicking
New Echoes of the Past (#107)
is now out. Contains our article on Tony Talent & Coalitions.
The newest issue of Echoes of the Past magazine is now out.
It includes our article on Tony Talent & the great soul group the Coalitions
as well as article on the Volcanos, Majestics (Jordan label) and much more.
For info on the magazine, email Bob Belniak at
Stephen Propes' new book,
"Old School: 77 Years of Southern California R&B & Vocal Group Harmony Records
1934 - 2011," now reviewed on
Our Bookshelf Page.
Record by record, author Stephen Propes chronicles the history
of Southern California R&B vocal groups (and solo artists) with group members,
musicians, original labels, dates, local radio and record store charts,
fascinating stories about the groups and records and even an idea about each
record's value. Propes knows more about Southern California R&B than
anyone we know and this book covers his original research and interviews with
hundreds of singers. Entries on more than 1400 records by 850+ groups
and solo artists. Read our complete review on
Our Bookshelf Page.
Considering Propes' last book on L.A. vocal groups has been selling for
$200, you might want to grab this one while you can.
Legendary Pittsburgh radio
personality Porky Chedwick has died. We'll have more posted shortly.
Legendary Pittsburgh radio personality, Craig "Porky" Chedwick
has died on March 2, 2014 at the age of 96. Porky Chedwick was an
important part of our group harmony music heritage. He began playing R&B
music in 1948, one of the first white radio dee jays to bring R&B to black and
Bob "Big Murph" Murphy of
acappella group, Neighbors Complaint, passes. Tribute Page now posted on
Robert "Big Murph" Murphy, founder and lead of the
legendary Philadelphia doo wop acappella group, Neighbors
Complaint, died of a stroke on February 27, 2014. One of
the area's most important acappella groups, Neighbors Complaint
paved the way for many of the Philadelphia acappella groups of
today. Murph and Neighbors Complaint were closely
associated with Charlie Horner's radio program in the 1980's.
We've posted a tribute page to "Big Murph" with the complete
story of Neighbors Complaint with many photos and Charlie's
recollections of those times. Click
Neighbors Complaint to
take a look.
Robert "Big Murph" Murphy &
2014 Portsmouth VA Gospel
Concert another great one!!! Photos & Review now posted to this website.
Rev. Brenda Boone's annual Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert was
another one for the record books! Running almost six
straight hours, the program featured many of the most exciting
gospel groups and soloists around. Classic Urban Harmony's
Pam & Charlie Horner were there to detail the event in words and
many photos. To take a look, click
Portsmouth Gospel Concert.
Elder Ron Harper leading the Harmonizing Echoes at
Rev. Brenda Boone's annual Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
The Harmonizing Echoes have been singing for 52 years!
Take 6 Celebrates 25 Years
with a great performance at Princeton's McCarter Theatre
Since bursting on the national music scene in 1987, Take 6’s
innovative blend of intricate harmonies and jazz influenced
rhythms have made them one of the most important vocal groups of
our time. Take 6 is the original beacon for mixing gospel,
jazz, R&B, doo wop and pop acappella using syncopated rhythms
while their harmony is at the forefront. A gospel group that
has had a major influence on the development of hip hop harmony,
Take 6 is the most awarded vocal group in history (10 Grammy
Awards, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award, and more) as they
continue to celebrate their 25th Anniversary! Quincy Jones has
called them “the baddest vocal cats on the planet!” When the
group appeared at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ on
February 22, it was our first time seeing Take 6. We were
excited to see choreography added to the mix.
In addition to their familiar gospel selections, a portion of
their program was devoted to their roots. They sang a parody of
songs by artists they grew up listening to. They harmonized
songs by Earth Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees, The Doobie Brothers,
Ben E. King, and Michael Jackson. An impression of Michael
Jackson including a moonwalk was a lighthearted surprise. The
sextet’s repertoire also included Louis Armstrong’s “What A
Wonderful World”, “Stand by Me”, “Mary Don’t You Weep”, and
“Spread Love”. A doo wop version of “Smile” was pure dreamy
ecstasy to this harmony fan.
It only took us 25 years to see Take 6 but hopefully it won’t be
the last time. If you can open your heart to all harmony, give
Take 6 a try. You won’t be disappointed. This was a very
enjoyable show! - Pam Horner
Classic Urban Harmony
interviewed for Asbury Park promotional video.
On Tuesday February 4, 2014, we traveled to Asbury Park, NJ,
where Charlie was interviewed on camera for a promotional video about Asbury
Park's musical legacy. The video is being produced by Mackanic Media LLC
for Design Four Four Six and will be viewable on the Internet in the near
Charlie was interviewed at the historic Asbury Park Armory, home
of numerous concerts by the Orioles, Ravens and others back in the day. On
camera, Charlie talked about Asbury Park's West Side music scene from 1910 to
1970, with emphases on Bobby Thomas & the Vibranaires, Lenny Welch & the
Mar-Keys, the Broadways and much more. Of course a number of people were
interviewed for the video, so Classic Urban Harmony is only a small part of the
We'll let you know when the video is available for viewing.
Charlie in the Asbury Park Armory