Philly String Band Club
Hosts Steve Applebaum Tribute Concert
(Philadelphia, March 25, 2010
by Pamela & Charlie Horner
Steve Applebaum was one of the most knowledgeable, well-respected and
well-liked group harmony aficionados that we knew. His untimely passing
affected all of us, especially those from the Philadelphia area. It was
only appropriate then, that one of Steve’s favorite music venues would hold
a tribute concert to celebrate his life.
On March 25, 2011, the South Philly String Band Club, well-known for its
bi-monthly doo wop acappella shows, set aside a special show to honor
Steve. When we arrived, DJ Jimmy De Pre was spinning Steve’s favorite
songs. Carole Applebaum and many of Steve’s friends, as well as several
acappella groups, gathered for the tribute.
Pam with Carole Applebaum
Charlie with Doo Wop @
the South Philly String Band Cub Co-Founder Eddie Natale
A new acappella group on the scene from central New Jersey, Re-memberThen,
made their first String Band Club appearance. They set the stage for a
night of harmony with “Tonight Could Be The Night”. Led by Frank Cicerale,
Re-memberThen acknowledged the wealth of group harmony that came from
Philadelphia by singing a Tymes' song, “So In Love”. To close their set,
they did the song that gave them their name, The Earls' “Remember Then”.
Because so many groups were waiting to sing, all the groups did abbreviated
sets. Re-memberThen was enthusiastically received and called back for an
encore, “Crying in the Chapel”.
Frank (Re-memberThen) &
WRDV’s Jim Bakay was the MC for the evening. He explained that the String
Band Club would each year give out The Steve Applebaum Memorial Award to
that person who best epitomized Steve’s joy and enthusiasm for our music;
someone who made major contributions to keeping classic R&B harmony a vital
part of the Philadelphia music scene. The first annual award was presented
to Val Shively of R&B Records. Val has been at the center of this music in
Philadelphia since the early 1960’s. Val was certainly deserving of this
MC, WRDV's Jim Bakay
Jimmy DePre presenting
the award to Val Shively
Val Shively and Jim Bakay
Pam, Charlie & Val
Charlie with Patty & Val
Another marvelous acappella group stepped up to the microphones, Junior and
The Four Seniors. Junior (Jimmy DePre) talked about what Steve’s
encouragement meant to him and his group began with one of Steve’s favorite
songs, The Four Buddies’ “I Want To Be The Boy You Love”. Singing second
tenor for the Four Senior was John Paloney, an original member of The
Intentions, from South Philly. With Jimmy DePre on lead they sang The
Intentions' record “Mister Misery”. Called back for an encore, Dave Moore
led with another Philadelphia standard, “Bewitched, Bothered, and
Junior (far right) and
the Four Seniors
Junior & the Four Seniors
Charlie & Buzzy Garland
One group that’s been on the Philadelphia music scene for many years is
Nostalgia 5. This group has endured personnel changes over the years and
has recently resurfaced with a great new sound. They are a very smooth
sounding group doing difficult material. They sounded great on The Ravens’
“Love is the Thing”, and “Count Every Star”. Their final number was a
superb rendition of The Velour’s arrangement of “I Apologize”.
One of the hottest groups around today is the ever popular Quiet Storm. The
Storm’s first tune was The Crickets’ “You’re Mine”; an arrangement updated
by the Vibrations. Quiet Storm tapped into 1980’s soul with rhythmic
Temptations’ “Lady Soul”. The Flamingos’ “Everybody’s Got A Home But Me”
was followed by one of Steve Applebaum’s favorites, “Only The Angels Know”
(Esquires). Quiet Storm wrapped up their performance with Skip Mahoney and
the Casuals’ “Where Ever You Go”. Marty Bentley did a tremendous job with
a falsetto tenor lead.
Bill Keith (seated) and Jim
Bakay with Quiet Storm waiting in the wings.
Pam & Quiet Storm bass
Next up was a group from Pottstown, PA, The Tributes. They did a short set
of two rhythmic R&B numbers, Joe Turner’s “Flip, Flop, and Fly” and Ernie
K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law”. The group had everyone clapping along.
We have long-awaited seeing the newest acappella group around, The Copians.
Rich Giresi performed a powerful and energetic lead on The Starlites’
“Missing You”. Bill Keith led a smooth rendition of the Re-Vels' tune “
Talking To My Heart”. Vinnie Tucker, formerly of Quiet Storm took the lead
on The Ad Libs arrangement of “Human”. For an encore the Copians gave us a
foot stomping “Little Bitty Pretty One”. This was an impressive debut for
The Copians. We look forward to seeing them again.
The Copians singing
Bill Keith (left) leading
The Copians in "Talking To My Heart"
Charlie & former radio
co-host, Don Leins
It’s not unusual at a String Band show for groups to spontaneously get
together to sing a song or two. On this night, Dennis Gillen, formerly of
Rick and The Masters, assembled an all star group to close out the show.
Bob Reilly did his Jocko rap from the old Neighbors Complaint and A Moment
Pleasure days. Dennis then did a powerful lead on “When We Get Married” (Dreamlovers)
and “Your Way” (Heartbeats).
The Dennis Gillen group
The Dennis Gillen group
Pam, Charlie, John Mattei,
Tom Harford, Dennis
Bergey, Pam, Lar-Kings's Gil Torres
Frank Cicerale & Angelo
It was a wonderful celebration of our friend Steve Applebaum’s life and his
love of music. It was our pleasure to document this event.
Copyright © Classic Urban Harmony LLC, 2011. All