Long Island Doowop day one
Day one of the annual Doowop Weekend in Long Island could have been subtitled The Return of Kenny Vance. The former Jay and the Americans singer is a great favourite here, but has been seriously ill for the last three years.. His return was greeted by an ecstatic audience and his fairly low key set, which included a less than impressive duet with his son on Let It Be Me, was received rapturously. I thought it was an April Fool but apparently not as the crowd reception was bordering on religious fervour. He started low key with an acoustic My Vow To You, which was soporific, but Wonderful Girl and Looking For An Echo were good and I could see the appeal by the end of his set.
The rest of the show was, as ever, a marathon with 16 acts appearing, although not Barbara Lewis, who I was looking forward to seeing. The Jarmels (Little Bit Of Soap) started things off well, although Joe Villa, once of the 3 Fruends and the Royalteens, was average. Next up was Tony Middleton and the Willows (Church Bells Wll Ring) who was fine as was Johnny Farina, playing steel on Pipeline, Rebel Rouser and Sleepwalk. Jimmy Clanton, looking immaculate as ever, reprised Go Jimmy Go, Just A Dream and Venus In Blue Jeans and the Heartbeats (A Thousand Miles Away) were quite impressive. Next up were the Coasters. Not sure who's in the current line up but they were note perfect on Poison Ivy, Young Blood, Charlie Brown and Yakety Yak.
After an intermission we had The Dubs, featuring original member Cleveland Still, who were excellent on Could This Be Magic, the Fireflies, who failed to set their contribution alight, and Tony Passa of the Fascinators, who was ok on Chapel Bells and Oh Rose Marie. It was good to see Johnny Tillotson, who was given a slightly longer set, which included a couple of favourites of mine, It Keeps Right On A Hurting and Without You, plus Send Me The Pillow, Dreamy Eyes and, of course, Poetry In Motion. Lenny Dell and The Demensions' set (Over The Rainbow) was rather spoiled by a screechy female singer, Willie Winfield and the Harptones followed up strongly, including Sunday Kind Of Love, and the Orioles were superb on Too Soon To Know (lead singer Clive Walker said he was born in 1948, the year it was recorded), an R and B version of Baby Please Don't Go and Crying In The Chapel. Then there were the Teenagers, including original member Herman Santiago, who were fun on Goody Goody, I Promise To Be True, The ABCs of Love and Why Do Fools Fall In Love.
As ever the show was held together by Bobby Jay, who also sang bass with a couple of the groups, and Cool Bobby B. Organiser Rob Albanese put the minds of the faithful at rest by saying that although this show was billed as The Finale, there will be another show next spring, although with fewer acts who will each get more stage time. This was an enjoyable day with a pretty high standard throughout and I'm looking forward to day two today. Photos will follow in due course.
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