High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dueling Doo-Wops, Vol. 1


My good friend and original Dell Rat 
Jerre Slaybaugh wrote to me recently 
and explained how much he likes rare, 
seldom heard soul and doo-wop here 
on Shady Dell Music & Memories. 

"I enjoy the articles, info and history about people that everyone doesn't already know.  I know that all my old true Dell Rat friends would enjoy these type articles and the music much more than the oldies you still hear on the radio everyday today. Keep digging out those moldie oldies and killer Bs and I will be happy. 
I have truly enjoyed reading your blog and hope it stays with its roots and true soul music be it black or vanilla."

Thanks for the feedback, Jerre. I hear you and I aim to please. Dell Rat Ron and I have assembled a special 5-part series in which we will present some of the greatest black doo-wop, white doo-wop, early soul and pre-Beatles pop. Dueling Doo-Wops is dedicated to the Rodentia Intelligentsia of the 50s and early 60s, original Dell rats who knew then and know now that old school is cool.

Ron, you're up first so 
start spinnin' that old gold! 


 Shady, your post 
 a couple of weeks 
 ago about your first 
 slow dance had me 
 flashing back to a 
 record hop at a 
 Catholic school in 
 Dallastown which 
 my Mom drove me to. 
 I had the pleasure of 
 slow dancing with a 
 young lady named 
 Linda to the song 
 "Lover's Island" and 
 it is still the most 
 memorable slow dance 
 of my life. I'll never 
 forget my arms around her tiny waist and she felt both as 
 fragile as a bird, but as real a woman/person as I'd ever 
 met. It wasn't overly familiar, but she wasn't just dancing 
 with a stranger and making me feel at a distance. I felt 
 appreciated.  The Jive Five had "My True Story" out at 
 the same time, so I can never think of one group without 
 thinking of the other. 

"Lover's Island" - The Blue Jays (October 1961, 
highest chart position #31) 

 I always loved Leon Peels' lead vocal with the Blue Jays, 
 and their follow-up, "Tears Are Falling" is no exception. 
 This was the last song of theirs I heard played on the 
 media even though they kept recording. 

"Tears Are Falling" - The Blue Jays (December 1961, 



 I know Jerre will appreciate Jackie and the Starlites. 
 Their one song which was played every week on the 
 Rock 180 Club was "Valerie," their most noteworthy 
 release, and first, to my knowledge. The lead singer, 
 Jackie Rue aka Jackie LaRue (birth name: Gaspere 
 Biondolillo), had a unique singing style that included 
 breaking down and sobbing in the middle of a song. 

"Valerie" - The Starlites (July 1960, uncharted) 

 I had a few other records by Jackie & the Starlites 
 just from exploring the Disc-O-Rama. My favorite is 
 probably their follow-up to "Valerie", called "Ain't "Cha 
 Ever Comin' Home". My neighbor Vicki originally turned 
 me on to "Valerie", bringing it to my attention. By the way, 
 Jackie and the Starlites are not to be confused with Eddie 
 and the Starlites, whose "To Make A Long Story Short" 
 was also requested most every week on Rock 180

"Ain't Cha Ever Coming Home" - The Starlites (March 1961, 

Ron, pardon the interruption but I'd like to add a song to your Starlites set. It's the group's biggest hit, "I Found Out Too Late," which was released at the end of 1961 and went top 20 on the R&B chart in the spring of '62. This was the first Fury single that had the act billed as Jackie & the Starlites.

"I Found Out Too Late" - Jackie & the Starlites (April 1962, 
highest chart position #17 R&B) 

 Oh, when I think of the 

 money that could have 

  been made operating  

  a Kleenex concession  

  at Starlites concerts! 


Jackie Rue, later of Jackie and the Starlites, originally sang lead for The Five Wings, a Harlem vocal group which, along with another act called the Scale-Tones yielded personnel that later formed a terrific R&B ballad group called The Dubs. Written by lead singer Richard Blandon, "Don't Ask Me," the Dubs' first charting single, made it to #72 on the pop chart which was par for the course for many unknown R&B acts at the time. However, the record failed to register at all on the R&B chart. Strange as it seems none of the great singles released by the Dubs ever appeared on the black chart!

"Don't Ask Me (to Be Lonely)" - The Dubs (July 1957, 
highest chart position #72) 

The best known Dubs recording was one that I remember playing at age 8 on my tiny tinny turntable in the basement. "Could This Be Magic," a powerful ballad that ranks among the top doo-wop classics of the era, was a guaranteed dance floor filler at record hops for years to come.

"Could This Be Magic" - The Dubs (January 1958, 
highest chart position #24) 

The Dubs' third and last record to reach the Billboard pop chart was another piece of paradise for slow dance inclined couples. Listen with hankie in hand as the Dubs expound on the pompatus of love in the "Chapel of Dreams."

"Chapel of Dreams" - The Dubs (September 1959, 
highest chart position #74) 

 "Human progress is neither automatic 

 nor inevitable.  Every step toward 

 the goal of justice requires sacrifice, 

 suffering, and struggle; the tireless 

 exertions and passionate concern of 

 dedicated individuals." 

 - Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 Ron, we've reached an 

 important moment and 

 it's been a long time comin'

 "Seeing the Quin-Tones 
  for the first time when 
  I was in 10th grade 
  really inspired me to 
  form vocal groups." 

 -- Dave Bupp 


In the 50s and 60s Central Pennsylvania was a mecca for authentic R&B and soul music performed by black artists, music made by white artists who sounded black, and kids who grew up loving the sound,
regardless of which race was producing it.
In today's post and subsequent editions of Dueling Doo-Wops, Ron and I will be paying tribute to the Quin-Tones, the seminal black R&B/doo-wop vocal group from York, Pennsylvania. This year the Quin-Tones were belatedly and, for some members, posthumously recognized by their high school's hall of fame thanks to a crusade spearheaded by Dave Bupp, lead singer of the Del-Chords and the Magnificent Men, two other groups that drew members from York and Central Pennsylvania and were influenced by the Quin-Tones. Ron, you've got more on that part of the story along with the first two Quin-Tones recordings!


 Right you are, Shady. Dave Bupp 
 made a lot of phone calls and 
 personal appearances, gave 
 performances and wrote blogs 
 to ensure the Quin-Tones' 
 induction into the William Penn 
 Hall of Fame. The Quin-Tones' 
 nomination was finally secured 
 by a positive response to Dave's 
 lobbying efforts by the current 
 students of William Penn, AKA 
 York High. 

 The Quin-Tones formed in 1957 and consisted of lead 
 Roberta Haymon, Carolyn "Cissy" Holmes, Jeannie Crist, 
 Phyliss Carr, Kenny Sexton and Ronnie Scott, the group's 
 keyboard player.  At the time all were 16 and 17 year-old 
 students at William Penn. 

 Originally calling themselves the Quinteros, the group 
 produced a pure, angelic sound that didn't stray far 
 from gospel.  They started out making the usual 
 rounds, performing at various teen dance venues.  
 At one of those functions the group was discovered 
 by Harrisburg DJ Paul Landersman of WHGB radio 
 who became their manager. 

 In February of 1958 the group, now calling themselves the 
 Quintones, recorded several sides at Philadelphia's Reco-Art 
 Studios. Their first single, "Ding Dong," was released on 
 Chess Records.  Although it was an excellent R&B ballad, 
 "Ding Dong" failed to chart. 

"Ding Dong" - Quintones (February 1958, uncharted) 

 The B side, "I Try So Hard," offered more of the same 
 simple, straightforward R&B balladry.  Like the A side, 
 however, it went virtually unnoticed outside of York 
 and the East Coast region. 

"I Try So Hard" - Quintones (February 1958, uncharted) 

 Shady, as you indicated, we'll be featuring more of the 
 great recordings by the Quin-Tones in future volumes 
 of Dueling Doo-Wops.  Back to you. 

Thanks, Ron. Sweetness, sincerity and purity are the active ingredients in great doo-wop and, as the Quin-Tones prove, it's a powerful combination. Those same essentials can be found in my last two featured recordings, one a superb ballad by a black New York group and the other a fine teen slow dancer recorded by a white West Coast vocal group.


Led by Charles Moffitt, the Brooklyn R&B vocal group called The Velours never had a hit, but they're grandfathered into the Shady's Law Hall of Fame thanks to this, their best known recording. It's a dream maker and a heart breaker, one of the sweetest romantic doo-wop ballads of the 50s, "Can I Come over Tonight."

"Can I Come Over Tonight" - The Velours (July 1957, 
highest chart position #83) 


Not to be confused with The Surfaris, the surf rock group that gave us "Wipe Out," The Safaris were a Los Angeles based pop group that formed in 1959. Marv Rosenberg and Rich Clasky penned most of their songs and Jimmy Stephens laid down the velvety lead vocals.

One-hit-wonders, The Safaris just missed the top 5 with the dreamy ballad "Image of a Girl." The record was covered by English actor/singer Mark Wynter who rode his version to #11 on the UK chart. I prefer the Safaris original because it's like butta, one of the great high school snuggle songs of the era.

"Image of a Girl" - Safaris (September 1960, highest 
chart position #6) 

 Ron, this has been a blast 

 and the fun has just begun. 

As I noted at the beginning, there are four more volumes
of Dueling Doo-Wops coming up in the weeks and months ahead. Stick around!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Hi there Tom. Well, I see that I am the first one up today. Eeeek! Well, my dear friend, I have to say that the doo-wop sound was one of my favourites in the late 50's and 60's. Being an old romantic, I used to play this sort of music over and over again! I had never heard of any of these songs today, but I did love them. Really takes you back to that era. I also loved the Platters, when they sang songs like that. My favourites today have to be Tears Are Falling by The Blue Jays, Lover's Island, and Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely. I was in my own little world there, listening to them. Thanks also to Dell Rat Jerre and Del Rat Ron for their input. Have a lovely week dear Shady.

  2. Thisisme - Yessum - you're the early bird again today and I do appreciate you coming all the way across the pond to listen to this vintage doo-wop. Decades ago when I was an active collector of vinyl I owned dozens of albums filled with this type of music. The stuff that I loved most was recorded between 1948 and 1953 when the sound was raw. primitive and unpolished. By 1954 the music was already becoming more slick and refined and that's something that I have always rebelled against. Thank you again for joining the fun today, dear Thisisme, and have a marvelous Monday!

  3. All I have to say is - Doo-Wops are fabulous!

  4. Kristina - I'm happy to know that somebody your age can relate to 1950s doo-wops. Thank you very much for coming by and sampling these songs, dear friend, and have a great week!

  5. Shady and Ron, What a great start to the series. Every selection is a doo wop classic to us doo wop lovers. I lived near the Quintones in center city York and went to York Hi in that era with Bupp. Shot alot of pool with some of the original DelChords. All of these selections are in my collection and I really enjoyed the historical facts that you put with the selections. "Can I Come Over Tonight" is one of my all time favorites. I really look forward to the follow ups on this series and the facts you will dig up. PS: I remember the group the "Exciting Invictas" doing Valerie at White Oaks and bringing out the Kleenex. You guys are great and keep the Doo Wop spinning.

  6. Jerre - Thanks so much, good buddy! I'm glad you enjoyed the post as much as Ron and I did putting it together (with four more yet to come). I never lost my love for these older sounds. In my earlier years I collected the material extensively on vinyl (Orioles, Robins, Clovers, Hollywood Flames, Cardinals, Five Keys, Checkers, Moonglows, Charms, Crows, Harptones, early Ray Charles, etc.) before foolishly selling it off. Thank you very much for the feedback, Jerre, and keep it tuned to SDMM for more classic doo-wops in the weeks and months ahead!

  7. I am, as ever, totally blown away by the depth of detail in this post! Some of these songs were just amazing! Guess what?! Sir Alfred was papped at Paris Fashion week and appeared on a web site - whoop,whoop! Today Paris, tomorrow Milan or New York no doubt. Have a fabulous week dear friend :)

  8. Gosh Dell Rats were/are so flipping cool. I can just imagine slow dancing to Lovers Island, its perfect for a little swaying. As always I am impressed with your musical knowledge, you are basically a living encyclopedia of coolness, now if we could just get you off that crack :)

  9. G-T - Well it's hard to believe that anything or anyone could draw the paparazzi away from you, dear friend, but I'm glad Alfred's getting noticed. I can just see it now - Sir Alfred: rock star - more famous than the Beatles and Elvis put together - invited to have tea with the Queen mum - and getting his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone! Thank you so much for reporting in from Paris, Gawgus Girl, and good night to you, dear friend!

    Amber Blue Bird - Why am I not surprised that you like the Blue Jays? There are lots of bird groups in doo-wop so stay tuned, my feathered friend! I know that you have radar for cool and that's what makes you the quintessential Dellette. Our friendship is like crack to me and I am very happily addicted! Thank you very much for visiting, dearie, and have a good evening up your way!

  10. These would be so romantic to dance to! "Tears are Falling" and "Can I Come Over Tonight" were my favorites today. Also loved the Dubs, the Quin-Tones and Safaris. The woman singing with the Quin-Tones had quite a voice! I remember the safari song.

  11. Belle - I'm so glad you remember some of these old old songs and enjoyed most of them! I hadn't heard "Image of a Girl" in quite a number of years. So many of those great romantic teen pop and doo-wop songs by white vocal groups are clustered around 1959-1961. When I listen to these songs I feel safe and sane, a feeling I don't usually have in modern secular society. Thank you very much for visiting, reading and listening, dear friend Belle, and have a terrific evening in British Columbia!

  12. Shady, my friend, you've done it again. These are all treasures, and I appreciate you keeping them alive for us to enjoy.

    Does anyone still do doo-wop? I think it takes such incredible talent to sing it and even more to sing it with such finesse.

    Have a good day, and please keep finding this recording gold for us to listen to!

  13. Hi, Shelly! I'm so happy to see you here again and to know that you have returned safely from hiatus. I've missed you, dear friend! Hard to believe but a good number of these original doo-wop acts are still performing, albeit with new personnel that have replaced group members who died. In addition, there are modern acts that are preserving the authentic doo-wop sound and style. In fact it would be hard to think of a category of music or entertainment that is not being preserved. Modern girl groups are performing the songs of the Shirelles, the Angels and Lesley Gore; the Jersey Boys are introducing the music of the Four Seasons to younger audiences; the Beatles tribute band Rain is doing the same with Beatles songs; there are Kiss tribute bands, etc. From bluegrass to big band era swing to jitterbug... it's all being kept alive somewhere by someone. Thank you very much for coming over for a visit, dear Shelly, and I'll be seeing you on your blog soon!

  14. Your blog is so unique!!!! Keep up the good work! :) You really stand out from the crowd.

    Belly B :)

  15. Belly B - Hello and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am delighted that you dropped by to take a look around and found value in what I'm offering. Thank you very much for the sweet compliments and I hope to see you back here again soon!

  16. Shady, I was glad to see such an assembly of beautiful doo-wop ballads put together so well. I'll be dreaming about Linda tonight again. By the way, the song "No Milk Today" was running through my head most of the morning, from a little while back. Don't usually have Pete Noone in my head singing. I'm so glad we were able to share the enjoyment of those songs, having read the responses. Of course, it couldn't be done without you doing what you do with my remembrances and suggestions, and complementing with your editing, comments and additions. I never heard the Velours before and you're right, it's beautiful! Finally realized that Roberta Haymond could have been Arlene Smith's little sister (lead singer of the Chantels). I believe they were on the same bill at the Apollo in their hayday. Your Dubs selections were the most popular of the group and I enjoyed hearing them again. Don't believe they ever did a bad song. There is one of their songs that wasn't on Oldies albums like the others, and it was frequently requested on the Rock 180, as well as sung by groups at the Oaks. It was called "Be Sure (My Love)", and was overlooked more than their others.

    I'd just like to add for Brian and readers from across the US and on the other side of the world that the frequently-mentioned Delchords and Magnificent Men will be appearing the end of this month in good ol' York, Pa. The Class of 60 Somethin', as they call themselves consist of most of the Mag Men, most remaining Delchords, as well as members of other groups from York, Lancaster & Harrisburg. The cost is nominal, other than travel, but if you're interested in hearing what us Yorkers and ex-Yorkers rave about, check: If you're able & interested, check it out. It will be an experience.

    Also, up until now, the only Magnificent Men recordings that have been available has been a greatest hits collection on Collectibles Records, called "Peace of Mind". I was happy to discover this weekend, that all four of their albums have been release on CD for the first time. They can only be had at: So, if you want to experience more of what we considered to be the Rolling Stones, or the Who when we grew up, check into these sites.

    Thank you, dear friends, for allowing me to run on. You and Tom/Shady keep me going. I love your input/information from around the country/world. Jerre, any more word about Gino's?. Thanks for reminding me of the Invictas doing "Valarie". I'd totally forgetten that.

  17. Ron - Thanks for the comments and the tips on the Class of 60-Something dance and the new Mag Men collection. It's funny how you can hear a song like "No Milk Today" and a week or two later it starts replaying in your head all day long. That happens to me all the time, sometimes with songs I don't want running through my mind because they're annoying. Thanks again for your feedback, Ron, and I'll be seeing you soon in our next feature. Take care, good buddy!

  18. Shady, it's wonderful that your mission on here has brought together other former Dell Rats to join you such as Jerre and Ron. It was fun to read all the thoughts and memories. I could sure hear how "Lover's Island" would be a great slow-dance song. It was evident there was much "sincerity and purity" in these songs, some of them to me were mournful cries. It was perfect that you included the Martin Luther King quote
    after "Chapel of Dreams". I confess I am not familiar with that song but love the title and lyrics. I came away from this post really liking The Dubs: Don't Ask Me to be Lonely and Could This be Magic. Also loved your closing song on this post, "Image of a Girl". Interesting that you noted there were two groups with the "Safaris" name. You know I always learn something new from your blog! Thank you, Shady and former Dell Rats Jerre and Ron! Looking forward to the next installment! ☺

  19. Cindy - It's very kind of you to come in from wave riding on Myrtle Beach long enough to check out some of my oldies. Thank you, dear friend! I like the way you described some of these songs as "mournful cries." Of course, that was literally the case in those Jackie Rue recordings because of his trademark melodramatic sobbing. However, I realize that you are referring to the subtle rather than the blatant. Many of the songs that Dell rats loved were rendered from the p.o.v. of the underdog. Pain and heartache, struggle and sacrifice - these are the foundations of deep soul and you can hear and feel their presence in the doo-wop, R&B and soul recordings of black artists and certain white artists. Thank you again for taking time out from vacationing to visit me. You are a true blue friend, Cindy!

  20. P.S. (Oops, I need to make a correction: There are The Surfaris AND there are The Safaris. Thank you for your kind words, Shady.)

  21. Doo wop..I remember listening to it all. My Mum used to listen to the records all day long.Big Hugs, please stop by tomorrow and linkup for the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop. :-)

  22. Cindy - My dear friend, it's wonderful to see your smiling face again. I hope this doesn't mean it's a rainy day in Myrtle Beach and you have nothing better to do! (LOL) I wasn't about to correct you because the important thing is that you showed up for me and had some fun while you were here. You are correct, however, in pointing out that the Surfaris and Safaris were two different groups that had almost identical names and, I'm pretty sure, overlapping careers. You are very special for coming by again. Now get out there on the beach and get some sand between your toes! :) Have a wonderful vacation, dear Cindy!

    Katie - I wish that I could say that my Mum turned me on to doo-wop and R&B but she was a product of the big band swing era. She could not relate to, nor did she like "modern" pop music. She tried many times to discourage my interest in rock 'n roll and believed that the Beatles were a bad influence on youth. (Gangsta rap was still light years away.) Thank you very much for coming by, dear Katie, and have a wonderful day up your way!


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