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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Imaginations Run Wild in Volume 7 of Dueling Doo-Wops!

 It's time to conclude our epic 

 7 part Dueling Doo-wops series, 

 a salute to the finest vocal group 

  sounds of the 50s and early 60s. 

 As always, Dell Rat Ron's here to spin a few 

 of his favorites and I'll be spinning mine.

 Ron, I'd like to be the first to 

 put the needle in the groove. 

 Listen to one of New York's 

 finest white vocal groups... 


Driven by the sweet falsetto of lead vocalist Frank Mancuso, The Imaginations, a white vocal group from Long Island, NY, produced quintessential Brooklyn-Italian style street corner doo-wop recordings.

The Imaginations formed in 1961 and their first single release that year was double dynamite. The B side of the record was "The Search is Over," a slow drag snuggler every bit as good as "There's a Moon Out Tonight."

 "The Search Is Over" - The Imaginations (April 1961, 

The A side, "Goodnight Baby," was an uptempo, Dion & the Belmonts style recording that featured King Curtis on sax. The Imaginations performed up tempo doo-wop material as well as any of their contemporaries.

 "Goodnight Baby" - The Imaginations (1961, uncharted) 

The Imaginations second 45 had "Guardian Angel" as the jump tempo A side backed with the ballad B side "Hey You." Both sides attracted attention and radio play was split, preventing the record from reaching the national chart. Nevertheless, "Hey You" is remembered as one of the most popular vocal group recordings in the greater New York area during the early 60s. Listen and you'll understand why.

 "Hey You" - The Imaginations (1961, uncharted) 

 Ron, I cheated and peeked at your play list 

 in advance. An't no doubt about it, today's 

 lineup is all killer, no filler! Play away! 


 Shady, listening to Herman's 
 Hermits in one of your posts 
 a few months ago made me 
 think of "Silhouettes", and I 
 think that Peter Noone and 
 his English group used a 
 strange/unique arrangement 
 on it, but I still like it. 
 It's the song itself, and 
 the irony of this insecure, 
 jealous guy going for a 
 walk and freaking out, 
 only to realize that with 
 these row houses in the 
 city, every block looks 
 the same and he got on the 
 wrong one. Even though it's a more fun version, the record 
 by Herman's Hermits lacks the "feel" of the Rays' original. 
 "Silhouettes" is probably one of the most definitive songs 
 of the old "American Bandstand" when it was still in Phila- 
 delphia. That, and the Diamonds singing "The Stroll". 

 "Silhouettes" - The Rays (January 1958, highest chart 
 position #3) 

 The Rays did a follow-up on a different label which didn't 
 do as well. I think it may have broken into WSBA's Top 40, 
 but it didn't receive a lot of airplay there. Dick Clark treated 
 it well, however. My introduction to Claude Debussy. 

 "Magic Moon (Clair De Lune)" - The Rays (October 1961, 
 highest chart position #49) 

Ron, your doo-wop Rays made me think of our Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. Filed
in my memory under "50s R&B/baseball" is Arthur Lee Maye, a baseball player turned doo-wopper! Isn't that how everybody's brain works?



Former major league baseball player Arthur Lee Maye was also a major league talent in the recording studio. With his group The Crowns, Arthur waxed some excellent slow doo-wop in the mid 1950s. Maye's best recordings were for Dig Records, the label owned by Johnny Otis. My Pick to Click is "This is the Night for Love," featuring Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns accompanied by Johnny Otis and his orchestra.

 "This is the Night for Love" - Arthur Lee Maye 
 and the Crowns (1956, uncharted) 


Formed in 1956, the black Brooklyn doo-wop group the Shells had only one hit to their name and it took quite some time to become one. In 1957 the group released the excellent ballad "Baby Oh Baby" on Johnson Records but their single failed to chart. "Baby Oh Baby" was re-released in December of 1960, entered the pop chart on Christmas day, and brushed the top 20 in the winter of 1961.

 "Baby Oh Baby" - The Shells (February 1961, highest 
 chart position #21)

In 1958 the Shells released a slow drag teenage malt shop lament entitled "Sippin' Soda."

 "Sippin' Soda" - The Shells (1958, uncharted) 

 Ron, we're doo-woppin' 

 and there's no stoppin'! 

 What's next on your list? 


 Shady, one of my favorite songs from the early days of 
 the Delchords was the Sevilles, "Charlena". This song was 
 popular at the Oaks. 

 "Charlena" - The Sevilles (February 1961, highest chart 

 position #84) 

 The flip side of "Charlena" is a doo-wop ballad called 

 "Loving You (Is My Desire)" which was also frequently 
 requested on Rock 180. 

 "Loving You (Is My Desire)" - The Sevilles (February 1961, 


 Ron, please permit me to chime in with 

 an example of a swing era smoothie 

 that got a dandy doo-wop makeover!  


The Chimes were another great white doo-wop vocal group from Brooklyn. Lenny Cocco and his mates originally picked the name Capris but changed it when they learned it was already being used by another white doo-wop act from the area, the ones who cracked the top 5 with "There's a Moon Out Tonight." Lenny's dad urged the Chimes to wax a cover of the standard "Once in a While" which had been a hit in 1937 
for big band leader Tommy Dorsey. The idea paid off with a hit for the Chimes that just missed the top 10.

 "Once in a While" - The Chimes (February 1961, 

 highest chart position #11) 

 Ron, in Volume 6 we found out 

 how great the Cellos sounded. 

 Looks like the harp was the inspiration 

 behind your final spin of the day. 



 Right you are, Shady.
 The Harptones were 
 originally known as 
 The Harps but later 
 changed their name to 
 avoid being confused 
 with a gospel group 
 of the same name. 
 The Harptones aka 
 Harp-Tones formed in 

 Harlem in 1953 with 
 Winnie Winfield on lead 
 and Raoul Cita as pianist, 
 arranger and guiding force 
 of the act.  The Harptones 
 did one thing very well and 
 stuck with it -- they sang mellow ballads and never dabbled 
 with jump rhythm or rock and roll as did most other groups. 
 Although one of the best loved R&B doo-wop groups of the 
 50s, the Harptones never had a hit on the pop chart and 
 none of their records ever showed up on the R&B chart. 
 "Since I Fell For You" is the jazz and pop standard that was 
 a top 5 hit for Lenny Welch in 1963.  It was composed in 
 1945 by Buddy Johnson and was first made popular that 
 year by Buddy's sister Ella Johnson accompanied by Buddy 
 and his Orchestra. In 1954 the Harptones released their 
 own version of the pretty blues ballad. Excellent though it 
 was the record nevertheless remained uncharted. 

 "Since I Fell For You" - The Harptones (November 1954, 


 Ron, to save you from 

 getting carpal tunnel 

 me bring our super series 

  to a close with two more 

  that make
 old school cool. 


The Los Angeles R&B quartet the Rivingtons are best known for their early 60s novelty dance numbers "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow," "Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow" and "The Bird's the Word." 

"Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (the Bird)," the sequel to the top 50 hit "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" didn't perform nearly as well on the chart, bubbling under for one week at #106. However, the dance ditty carried a superb doo-wop ballad on its back, a killer bee called "Waiting." I'm thinking the Rivingtons might be the best kept secret in the doo-wop category!

 "Waiting" - The Rivingtons (January 1963, uncharted 

 B side of "Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow {the Bird}") 

The Rivingtons nail it to the wall and just plain destroy with an impassioned ballad called "Cherry," the bombastic B side of "Little Sally Walker."

 "Cherry" - The Rivingtons (August 1963, B side of 

 "Little Sally Walker," both sides uncharted) 

 And so ends our colossal 7 part 

 Dueling Doo-Wops series. 

 Ron, it's been a blast spinning 

 old gold stacks-o-wax  with you. 

 Thanks, good buddy, for all your 

 help in putting the series together! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. The Shells are the stuff of my doo wop dreams and listening to their tracks makes me wanna go out and get a chocolate malt this very instant. Unfortunately is 7:40am so I think I might just have to stick with my coffee. I am short on time today friend but I had to stop by and offer my support to you and your pup. I cant imagine how much of a wreck I would be if something like that was happening to one of my doggies. You are both in my prayers.

    1. Thank you so very much, dear friend! Toto needs to wear one of those awful clear plastic Velcro cone collars around her neck 24-7 to prevent her from chewing a large, sore, nasty looking growth on her paw. Results of a biopsy are pending but the vet suspects it is a cancerous tumor. If it is cancer and it has spread we will need to say goodbye to Toto before Christmas. If it's a bad infection she will need to have major surgery to remove a toe and at her age she could die on the operating table. So you see, our options are very few at this point. You are such a dear friend for offering words of comfort to me this early in the morning. Thank you, Amber. I will always remember this kind gesture!

  2. Sorry to hear about Toto, Harley had to wear one of those awful cones when she had her leg broken she kept chewing her cast off. Harley and I will be thinking of Toto. This has been a bad year for us old Dell Rats, the blog has been one of the few bright spots to help us thur by takeing us back to better days. Lets all hope that the comeing year brings some hope and peace to our world. A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. I'm with you, Greg. Every new year brings a fresh start, a clean slate and renewed hope for peace around the world. As John Lennon told us in song, "Love is the answer." Thank you very much for wishing my Toto well. She's hanging on day by day, but at age 13 and in her condition, there's not much anybody can do for her at this point. I'm glad to know that Harley bounced back from her recent close call. I agree that 2012 was a very rough year for those of us who loved the Dell, but if we all stick together we will preserve the memories of the people, the place and the time for future generations. Thank you very much for being here today, Greg. I greatly appreciate your visit and comments, good buddy!

  3. I really enjoyed all these today, Shady and Ron, and I'm absolutely enjoying learning so much about DooWop and the history as well as the important players.

    Who recorded the first DooWop? I was thinking about rap, and the origin in the US can somewhat be traced, and I was wondering the same thing about DooWop. It took some great musical minds to come up with that genre.

    Hope your Thanksgiving day was wonderful for you both~

  4. Hi, Shelly! As is often the case you asked me a challenging question. While I'm no expert on doo-wop or anything else I will try to answer. Doo-wop was born in urban ghettos and evolved during the post WWII years. It was a blend of gospel and secular with romantic love and social activities as common themes. I agree with articles that suggest the first true doo-wop records were made during 1948 to 1951 by black R&B groups like the Orioles ("It's Too Soon to Know") and the Dominoes ("Sixty Minute Man.") Those two titles reveal that doo-wop can be deathly slow paced as was that Orioles ballad or it can be fast paced like that Dominoes hit. Doo-wop did not remain exclusively a property of the black community. Excellent white doo-wop groups soon emerged in New York and other cities. Characteristic elements of doo-wop include vocal group harmony with many parts, nonsense syllables and simple, light lyrics and arrangements. I'll never be the teacher you are, Shelly, but I hope that answered your question and stopped short of TMI. Have a great Black Friday and a wonderful weekend, dear friend!

  5. Hallo Tom! 9 p.m. as I type out my comment to your latest post. I really enjoyed listening to all the doo-wop songs today, so thank you for that. Unfortunately, I hadn't heard of any of the groups (apart from Herman's Hermits!!), but it didn't spoil my enjoyment in listening to your choices. Poor little Toto. I do hope that she's not in any pain. I will pray for her, as I realize what a worry this must be for you. Take care dear friend, and enjoy your weekend.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisime, and thank you for coming to Ron and Shady's doo-wop sock hop. Our goal with this series was to go digging, not for "gold" (hit records), but rather for long lost gems like these - quality recordings that few of us ever heard before. I'm glad you found some of these to your liking. Toto has been eating Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and filling and spent a restful day. We are keeping her sedated with pain pills and she is on antibiotics. Where there's life there's hope and we will continue to hope for the best for our lady who is close to 90 years old in "dog years." Thank you very much for commenting and for caring, dear friend Thisisme. I hope you are in good health and good spirits and that you have a safe and happy weekend!

  6. Well Shady and Ron...I would say you're the Doo Wop kings from this post. I didn't know 'Hey You' by the Imaginations, but did like the song you played. I do remember well for 'There's a Moon Out Tonight' and 'Once in A While' by the Chimes. Very popular with the slow dancers. Ah...'Silhouettes'! What a wonderful, sad, song. I have to confess I prefer the original by 'The Rays', although Herman's Hermits did bring a new vibe to the song. Thank you for playing the REAL version! Haha-'The Bird' was a fun song, and I didn't even know the name of the group, 'The Rivingtons'.

    You guys really put out a bunch this time. I liked 'Charlene' by the Sevilles, even tho I don't remember it. And, 'Since I fell for you', I remember the Lenny Welch version, which I love...but The Harptones did a great job. I am really glad to hear some of the songs for the first time. There was so much out there-so much competition, and they were all good artists! We've seen some of them on KERA, the public TV station, and it's so enjoyable.

    Hope you two guys have had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for my favorite 'Silhouettes' song...haven't heard it in so long.

    Shady, I hope your Toto is staying comfortable. I know what that is like, it's so hard to give them up. The sweet little animals are family, and, the decisions that have to be made can be so painful for us. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Have a good weekend.♫

    1. Thank you for wishing my Toto well, dear friend Susan! She seems to be running a fever this evening but her appetite is still good. I deeply appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I'm glad you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane with the best of the doo-wop groups, both black and white. Keep in mind that most of these were brand new to me before I did my research. The only songs in today's post that I already knew were "Silhouettes" by the Rays (one of my favorites as a child), "Baby Oh Baby" by the Shells, "Once in a While" by the Chimes and the A side novelty hits I listed by the Rivingtons. Thank you again, dear Susan, for your wonderful friendship. I am most thankful for it!

  7. Great job Ron and Shady. Imaginations one of my favorite groups. They have a CD out called Imaginations Then and Now that contains the songs in this post plus some others worth a listen. I also liked a B side from the Rivingtons called Deep Water. Your group history lessons are great.

    1. Hi, Jerre! I knew a lot of this stuff would appeal to you, good buddy. I was shocked to find such a wealth of great doo-wop material available on YouTube which also has more than its share of junk. Doo-wop and old gold soul are alive and well thanks to people like you, Ron, Davie Bupp and the many YouTubers and Northern Soul enthusiasts around the globe who are keeping the faith. Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Jerre, and have a terrific weekend!

  8. Wow, you've both introduced me to lots of new artists here! It's so funny to here sampling going on with The Rays and Magic Moon when you consider how frequently it's done nowadays! This was a great series and thank you Ron and Tom of course for all the time spent on it!

    I hope you're weekend has not been as rainy as mine Tom!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, dear Emma! Rainy? We can only WISH for a rainy day because we haven't been getting any lately! Florida is almost always thirsty for moisture and the last couple months it's been dry as a bone. Please send me some, dear friend! I'm glad you enjoyed our doo-wop series. I love to roll out the very old gold during the holiday season and there is plenty more 50s music coming before the end of the year. Thank you very much for spreading cheer, dear friend Emma, and have a wonderful week!

  9. I'm so sorry to be incredibly late to the party this week! And can you believe I have never heard ANY of this music before? So it was a fantastic education for me - thoroughly enjoyed it! What fun you all must have had way back when at the Dell, and it's lovely that you'll always have those memories.
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and wishing you a wonderful holiday season as it begins.

    1. karen - The party never officially begins until you arrive, dear friend, and it gives me great pleasure to welcome you back. As I told my Irish friend Emma above, there's something about the holiday season that whets my appetite for the fifties and I have a few more posts devoted to the tunes of those ancient times coming up between now and the new year. I am deeply grateful to know that you and I will be ringing in 2013 as unsinkable friends. Your friendship means a great deal to me, karen. Meanwhile, have a safe trip to Austin. I'll be eager to read all about it when you return!

  10. Oh Shady thank you for your continuous kind words, I don't know what I'd do without you. Fantastic post as always, hadn't heard any of these before but doo-wop is just so fun. I know I can always come to your blog to cheer myself up.

    1. Yes you can, dear friend Alabee. You know that you are special to me and that I care a great deal about you. I love to visit your blog and experiencing the enchantment and challenge of your abstruse and thoroughly engrossing creations. Thank you very much for stopping by, dear Alabee. Be well and please come back again soon!


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