Sunday, April 13, 2014

A feast of Doowop

They say rock and roll will never die, but one of its founding pillars, doowop, may well do so. Unlike other forms of the genre such as rockabilly it has not found a young audience. As a result, the audience at the 11th Doowop weekend in Long Island was a similar age to the members of the 17 acts who appeared on day one, who in the main were street corner groups from Brooklyn and Harlem who learned their craft in the late 50s. Not so much Brooklyn Dodgers as Brooklyn Codgers.
That's a pity as it was a fantastic day's entertainment. There was Gene Chandler defying the years and donning his trademark top hat, cape and cane for Duke of Earl. Eugene Pitt, now 76, with the Jive Five ( actually four these days including two brothers). My True Story was brilliant. Earlier we had Jimmy Charles, who had a massive hit aged 15 with A Million To One, Kathy Young, who was a similar age when she hit with A Thousand Stars and Happy Birthday Blues, and the Mystics who displayed superb harmony on Hushabye.
Most of the acts performed just three numbers, with the last one being their biggest hit, so there was the Solitaires with Walking Along, Tony Middleton and the Willows with Church Bells Will Ring, Sonny Til's Orioles with Crying In The Chapel, the Spaniels with You Give Me Peace Of Mind, a silver haired Jimmy Clanton with Just A Dream and Venus In Blue Jeans, Cleveland Still and the Dubs with Could This Be Magic, Jimmy Gallagher and the Passions with Just To Be with You and Maurice a Newton of the Fidelities with The Things I Love. Of course not all group members were originals but three of the original Chantels were there and the original girl group were superb on Look In My Eyes and Maybe. So too were the Charts on Desiree.
In all it was a wonderful day of nostalgia and great music and there's more to come. Photos will appear on the blog later.
Nick Cobban.


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