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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sway All Day and Bop Till You Drop at Shady's Gym Dandy Doo-Wop Sock Hop!

 Presenting a super secret 

 surprise post: Volume 8 of 

 Dueling Doo-Wops! 

Dell Rat Ron had no clue I was putting this
post together. Neither did Dell Rat Jerre.
It's an extension of our series featuring
great but seldom heard doo-wop recordings
of the 50s and early 60s. This time I'm the
lone spinner and, as always, every platter's
a winner. Ready to explore the obscure? 
Scroll down, pick, click, play and drift away!


In the summer of 1961 a Bronx doo-wop group 
called the Halos cracked the top 30 on the 
Billboard Pop Singles chart with the up tempo 
novelty number (You're a) "Nag," a song with a
theme similar to "Get a Job" by the Silhouettes 
and "Mother-in-Law" by Ernie K-Doe. 

 "Nag" - The Halos 
 August 1961, highest chart position #25) 


As it turned out the Halos would become more
successful chart performers as backup vocalists
for other recording acts. The Halos can be heard
on "Let the Good Times Roll' by Shirley and Lee,
"Pretty Little Angel Eyes" by Curtis Lee, "Who Put
the Bomp" by Barry Mann and this great song
Gene Pitney recorded early in his career.

 "Every Breath I Take" - Gene Pitney 
 (September 1961, highest chart position #42) 


In the 50s and 60s there were several R&B groups called
the Larks. Personnel came and went and keeping track of
all those Larks is a ball of confusion. One thing's for certain.
The short lived group called Irma and the Larks gave us one
of the most exciting doo-wop ballads ever recorded. The lead
vocalist is Irma Jackson and the recording is "Don't Cry," a
song inspired by "I Only Have Eyes for You," the 1959 doo-
wop hit by the Flamingos.  Released as a single in 1963 on 
the Priority label and reissued on Fairmount Records, a 
subsidiary of Cameo-Parkway, this dreamy recording
went to waste and never made the chart.

 "Don't Cry" - Irma and the Larks 
 (1963, uncharted) 


The Charts started out in 1956 as the Thrilltones,
a group of Harlem teenagers led by Joe Grier. When 
they got themselves a manager he changed their name 
to the Charts. That manager was Les Cooper who, in 
1962, had a hit record of his own with "Wiggle Wobble,"  
an instrumental that featured the sax virtuosity of  
Charts leader Joe Grier. In 1957 the Charts blended  
their voices and made their first record, "Deserie." 

 "Deserie" - The Charts 
 (July 1957, highest chart position #88) 

Although a fine recording, "Deserie" became only a 
local hit, languishing for a month near the bottom of
the pop chart and, dig this, failing to register at all on
the black chart! Seriously? They were from Harlem, 
for cryin' out loud! I'm beginning to wonder what it
took for an act to make the R&B Singles chart. 


 White singer Peggy Lee made the black chart!

 White singer Frankie Avalon made the black chart 
 with no fewer than half a dozen of his records. 
 Frankie freakin' Avalon, peeps! 

 White singer Pat Boone made the black chart! 

 Oh really?

 White singer Dinah Shore made the black chart. 


 The list goes on and on. Need I say more?


Our next record is a fabulous teen sound doo-wop
45 by the Students. It was released twice on three
different labels. The record was originally released
in 1958 but went nowhere. When it was issued again
in the spring of 1961 it missed the pop chart but made
the top 30 on the R&B chart. Clearly under the influence
of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, here are the
Students of Youngstown, Ohio, with "I'm So Young."

 "I'm So Young" - The Students 
 (June 1961, highest chart position #26 R&B) 


Early in 1956, Betty and Rosie Collins, black sisters
with the stage name the Teen Queens, released
a single called "Eddie My Love," one of the
greatest girl pop ballads of the decade.

The record by the siblings of color went to #14
on the pop chart. It might have gone all the way to
#1 had it not been for the inevitable competition
from copycat white acts. Less than one week after
the Teen Queens' record landed on the chart, cover
versions of "Eddie My Love" by the Fontane Sisters
and the Chordettes were rush released to provide
white middle class record buyers with their own
interpretation. The whitewashed versions of
"Eddie" rode high on the chart, diverting radio
play and record sales from the Teen Queens.

Here it is, the original version...
the real deal... the Teen Queens!

 "Eddie My Love" - The Teen Queens 
 (March 1956, highest chart position 
 #14 Hot 100/#2 R&B


Who says doo-wop has to be old? For more than
30 years a group of transplanted vocalists from
The Big Apple now living in South Florida has been
performing authentic New York style doo-wop and
delighting even the most discriminating fans of
the genre. Representing the five boroughs of
New York City, here are... (I forgot their name).
OH YEAH - The Five Boroughs!

 "Apart" - The Five Boroughs (1990) 

As you're listening to these three fine recordings by
The Five Boroughs, keep in mind that they were made
around 1990, not 1960 as the sound would lead you to
believe. These sumptuous recordings were produced by
Ken Held, host of Ken Held's Doo-Wop Shop, the long
running radio show devoted to vocal group harmony
of the 50s and early 60s.

 "Heaven and Cindy" - The Five Boroughs (1990) 

Now, here is Siobhan Daly, a classically trained
South Florida vocalist, fronting the Five Boroughs
with another dreamy modern/retro doo-wop ballad,
this one entitled "One Too Many Lies."

 "One Too Many Lies" - The Five Boroughs (1990) 

 To wrap up today's 

 doo-wop till you drop 

 record hop here's some 

 jumpin' jitterbug jive. 


Years before the rock 'n' roll revolution swept Western
civilization in the mid 1950s, R&B acts were already laying
the foundation, puttin' down a wailin' pound of sound with
up tempo dance records that targeted the teenage market.
In 1951 the Dominoes scored a big hit on the pop chart with
"Sixty Minute Man." King Records reacted by signing an act
called the Checkers which drew members from the Dominoes.
The first five singles released on King by the Checkers are
rare and command high prices among collectors. Here's their
fifth, a jumpin' little record I want my jockey to play.

 "You Never Had It So Good" - The Checkers 
 (November 1953) 

 The Rev-els Quartette 

 (The Rev-els aka The Revels) 

Finally, here's another rockin' rhythm record that sounds
a lot like the Dominoes of the early 50s. It's "Love My
Baby," an up tempo killer by a North Philadelphia
group called The Re-Vels Quartette. They're the
same guys who recorded "Dead Man's Stroll" aka 
"Midnight Stroll," one of the Deadly Ditties that  
Ron introduced a couple of years ago. This is one 
of their earliest recordings, made when they were 
billed as The Rev-els Quartette. Man, does this 
number rock!  Released in 1954 with the fine ballad 
"My Lost Love" on the B side, "Love My Baby" 
knocked me out the first time I heard it. Listen for 
the wailin' sax solo in the middle. This, my friends,
is early Philly doo-woppin' roll at it's best!

 "Love My Baby" - The Re-Vels Quartette 
 aka The Re-vels aka The Revels 
 (1954, uncharted) 

 And there you have it... 

 eight full volumes of 

 doo-wop gold... 

 more than 100 great 

 recordings in all! 

 I hope you enjoyed this 

 top secret bonus post. 

 Pssssst. I've got another secret! 

There's yet another bonus edition of Dueling Doo-Wops 
on the way! It's the grand finale of the series (for realsies
and I guarantee it'll be the biggest and best of all!

 Don't miss Volume 9 coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Hope your Saturday is going well over there Shadykins. Now this is MY sort of music from the 60's. Love, love, love Gene Pitney. Such in individual voice. He's up there with Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and the ilk. So good to hear that one again and, in fact, I loved all the songs today, even though there were many that I hadn't heard of. That's the beauty of your blog dear Tom, you bring all this wonderful music which, quite often,we haven't heard before. Yes, thisisme was bopping around the kitchen this morning alright!! Love all those Doo Wop sounds, and shoo be doo's and sha laa laa's! More please Mr Shady. Take care my friend. Gosh, I'm the first one to the party today. That makes a change!

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! Yessum, you're the first guest to arrive to the record hop and I'm very happy to see your smiling face. I know you well and figured you'd mention Gene Pitney right off the bat. His was indeed one of the most distinctive and listenable voices of the classic rock 'n' roll years, wasn't it? It's very sad he passed away at a relatively young age.

      Keep in mind that most of these 11 songs were also new to me before I did my research for this post. I'm guessing that Jerre and Ron will know more of them than I did.

      I hope you're feeling tip top and all ready to welcome the kids over for a stay. I hope you will get your fair share of warm and sunny days to enjoy there in Devon before summer officially ends.

      Thank you very much for your visit and kind comments, dear friend Thisisme. Smooches to you and blessings to your whole family!

  2. Great songs today, some I knew and some I did not, but all winners. I have to wonder how I missed so much of this music from the '60s. Thanks for letting me come to your sock hop.

    1. Hi, Jeanie! I hereby crown you and Thisisme Co-Queens of the Hop for being the first two arrivals to the party.

      It's true. There are thousands of great recordings that most of us missed the first time around. Thanks to Joel Whitburn's Record Research books, the All Music Guide, YouTube and other sources, many of these lost gems are being unearthed for the first time in decades. It's exciting to discover new/old classics. I'm happy to know you appreciated some of these old school tunes and I thank you very much for coming by. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, dear friend Jeanie!

  3. I made it to the rockin' party! I hope I'm not too late! It took me a bit to get my computer to play the videos. Had to reinstall adobe..but got it and enjoyed all the songs...unfortunately I knew none of the artists except Gene Pitney! But I enjoyed all the tunes anyway and I did laugh a tad at the Students song about being too young to marry...these days they wouldn't even worry about marriage, just living together would be fine! So thanks Tom for the education tonight and the fine music to "doo-wop" too! Thanks for all your kind comments on my blog too..Eddy the Boxer sends his love!

    1. Hello, YaYa! You're certainly not too late, dear friend. This party's just getting started and won't end until Friday.

      Whenever I post volumes of this series I realize that most readers will only recognize one or two of the songs. What's important to me, whether I'm introducing heavy metal, doo-wop or any other style of music, is that people try it and hopefully like it and have fun learning about the artists.

      I agree that the Students' recording is a product of the age of innocence and today comes across as an ancient relic. You won't find many doo-wop songs that talk about shacking up or even playing the field while dating. In the romanticized and idealized culture of doo-wop, boys and girls typically went steady and got married.

      Dear Kathleen, (I love it when you call me Tom), you are simply the greatest friend and I sincerely thank you. You know how much I love your Eddy. Now that I've lost my dog it helps fill the void when I think about Eddy and the dogs of other friends. This goes without saying but I will say (write) it anyway. Please remember to give thanks for every day that you have Eddy. Even when he gets into mischief or makes a mess, give thanks. I'd give anything for the opportunity to clean up one of Toto's messes right now. Take one extra minute every day to hug Eddy, pet him, scratch him, look him in the eye and speak softly to him. There is no greater feeling than that which comes from loving an innocent animal, gaining its trust and receiving its affection and lifelong loyalty in return.

      Thank you very much for your visit and thoughtful comments, dear friend. Good night to you and have a wonderful Sunday!

  4. Sorry I am late here- out of town and having to work with my phone. I loved all of these, although I didn't know many of them. All this great music makes me wish this music had been in vogue when I was a teenager. Thank you, friend!

    1. Hi, Shelly! I suspected you were out of town again this weekend. How did I know? Because an entire minute passed after I published the post this morning and you still hadn't left a comment! (LOL) Seriously, I admire and appreciate your dedication. When it comes to leaving comments, you are "Old Faithful" ("Young Faithful" sounds better). I always appreciate the effort you put forth to get over here and comment no matter where on earth you happen to be.

      This music was already old school when I was a teenager and that was light years before you hit your teens and New Wave, Punk, and Arena Rock (think Frampton Comes Alive!) were "in." I'm delighted knowing you loved a few of these platters.

      Thank you very much for finding time to visit, dear friend Shelly, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  5. Hi Shady...just letting you know I'll be back a little later. Have read most of your fantastic post, and I'm especially interested in hearing the teen queens. We've got Scootie on board and he has to go home in a few hours. See you later. happy Sunday! And, love Gene Pitney! ♫

    1. AOK, Suzanne! Say hello to Scootie for me and enjoy the rest of his visit with you. This post runs until Friday so you have plenty of time. I appreciate you letting me know. Here, let me stamp the back of your hand so you can get back in for free. :) See ya later!

  6. Hi Tom, hope you had a lovely weekend! Thanks for the birthday wishes earlier this week. I had a lovely birthday dinner with Donnacha and then a great party with my friends last night! I haven't stayed up til 6am in a long time! I'll hopefully be blogging about it later this week.

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! 6am??? I haven't done the all-nighter thing since my college days! I'm excited to know you had a wonderful birthday celebration, dear friend, and I do look forward to your posting about it this week. I deeply appreciate you coming over to say hello. That's the sign of a great blogger and a great friend. Have a fine week and I'll see you soon over at your blogspot!

  7. Kathleen Mae SchneiderAugust 18, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Since I'm just learning about doo-wop and so many other kinds of music I missed in the 60's, I did a little research. I was really surprised at the origins of doo-wop I found!

    I didn't realize the nonsense words and sounds backing the solo started on street corners and subways with a cappella groups that had few or no musical instruments - so they used their voices to mimic them. The bass was "bom-bom-bom", guitar was "shang-a-lang", and brass riffs became "doooo-wop-wop". Do you agree, Professor, or is this a myth?

    It's interesting to read that the four-part harmony of doo-wop can be found in earlier forms too, such as in barbershop quartets. (My father sang bass with the York chapter of SPEBSQSA for many years!) I never realized the doo-wop connection in early Beach Boys songs either. I always loved "Surfer Girl".

    On this post, I really identified with "Nag" (I try to not be one!) and liked "Love My Baby" (the piano in the beginning + the sax) and "One Too Many Lies" for their musical ideas that keep repeating in my head. The Teen Queens have wonderful mature voices I think that give a mellow, relaxed effect to the songs played here.

    I'm glad The Five Boroughs bring back the classic sounds of this rich era. They fooled Bob just now when I played the last song for him! I think out of all, that one is my favorite.

    One more question, and maybe this is a stupid one, but just who is responsible for charting songs? The choices sound pretty frivolous to me.

    Thanks for a great lineup this week, Tom! I never heard any of these songs before but it's never too late to be a "lifelong learner"!

    1. Hi, Kathleen! Your research into origins of doo-wop yielded an explanation that seems plausible. There are many myths and legends in the history of popular music but I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of your findings.

      "Nag" is one of the records that prompted me to join the rock 'n' roll revival in the late 60s. The song was brand new to me when I heard it played on an oldies radio station. I "dug it to the max" and started backtracking to the music of the 50s and discovering all the gems I had missed during childhood.

      I'm delighted that you enjoyed the Re-Vels Quartette, an obscure group and a rare recording that I stumbled upon while doing my research for this series on YouTube. It makes me swoon! I also applaud you for naming "One Too Many Lies" as a favorite. Siobhan Daly performs authentic doo-wop and reminds me of Cathy Jean Giordano and her group the Roommates of "Please Love Me Forever" fame. I admire artists, groups and bands that remain true to the original sound without embellishment. That's what The Five Boroughs have accomplished with their music.

      I assume you're in a state of shock over artists like Frankie Avalon, Pat Boone and Dinah Shore landing their records on the "black" chart. I don't understand how that could have happened while black groups from Harlem that recorded what are now recognized as doo-wop classics were completely ignored by the same survey. I think it all boils down to economics. The major record companies and their rosters of white artists had a distinct advantage over the small independent labels. They had higher budgets for production and promotion, better distribution deals and the ability to schmooze disc jockeys to play their records. Chart rankings were supposedly based on nationwide radio play, jukebox play and record sales and in that game Goliath beat David nearly every time.

      Thank you very much for doing your homework and leaving another outstanding comment, dear friend Kathleen. Good night to you and have a terrific week ahead!

  8. Hello Shady! I really enjoyed hearing these new songs today. I did know Gene Pitney's and "Nag" sounded very familiar. It sure made me laugh. When I was a teen, the radio stations would sometimes select a year from the past and play the top hits from that year. They also interspersed old songs with the new, so I grew up hearing a lot of oldies.

    My favorites here are 'I'm So Young' and 'Love my Baby.' The Five Boroughs do have a smooth sound I enjoyed. It is too bad other groups copied the Teen Queen's single and stole their thunder, not to mention money. That is so unfair. Thanks for the fun morning!

    1. Hello, dear Belle! It's day three of my week long "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" dance marathon and I'm willing to ignore the rules and look the other way if you'd like to get out on the floor and join the competition. (I'm pretty sure Red Buttons needs a partner.)

      I think most top 40 stations had play lists that mixed the old with the new. I bought the entire series of Cruisin' albums and every volume contained at least one "oldie" that had been popular a few years earlier.

      It's exciting to me that you liked the record by the Students of Youngstown, Ohio and that you and Kathleen Mae both named "Love My Baby" by the Re-Vels as a favorite. Once that song gets rolling it rocks!

      Yessum, it has been a pet peeve of mine for years that white artists and their lame covers often eclipsed the original recordings of black artists. However, in all fairness, we need to remember that many of the white artists involved in that practice had no choice in the matter. In many cases, the record company they worked for chose material for them and they had little or no say in it.

      So glad to see you today, dear friend Belle. I hope you are in good health and in good spirits and that you will enjoy the week ahead!

  9. Back from my travels, but not too late to comment! I didn't know many of these, except for Gene Pitney (one of my faves) but as always, the Shady Do Wop Sock Hop was great fun, with the chance to hear some new-to-me tunes spun!

    1. Hi, karen! No, ma'am. You're not too late by any means. This platter party's still in full swing, and if this music doesn't do it for you:

      Well, then, why don't we go dancing?
      I know a little road-house, down the coast. They got a Cuban band that's the berries. Why don't we go there, blindfold the orchestra and tango till dawn?

      Triva question: Which movie did that quote come from and which character uttered those words?

      Hint: ZOWIE!!!

      Hey, seriously, dear friend, thank you very much for coming over and sampling this batch of tunes. Gene Pitney was one of my favorite singers and I'm still sad about his early demise seven years ago. Have a great week, karen!

  10. Hi Shady, I came down to the end of the line! I remember the Teen Queens, and truly like their "Eddie My Love" the best. I didn't know the Boroughs, but listened to your records, and really like the sound. It takes me back when I do remember songs of that type in the late 1950's, and watching Bandstand. They played that type of music. And, it was very danceable! And, you could find this type of song on jukeboxes too!

    I adored Gene Pitney, but don't remember the song, "Every Breath I take". He had so many good hits...'Town Without A Pity'-What a unique voice, unforgettable!

    Haha! Like your fact section, and you've got a point or 7! Pat Boone? really?

    And, oh yeah, The Halos-great! The song did sound like 'Get a Job'. I enjoyed 'Nag'!

    Well, Shady, for flying solo, you did a fabulous job! Hope you and Mrs. Shady are doing well. Hopefully, the summer is about to wind down...NAH! Take care, see you soon!♫

    1. Hi, dear Suzanne! I hope the bouncer let you back in the dance hall w/o any problem. Did you remember to show him your stamped hand? :)

      Released early in 1956, "Eddie My Love" was arguably the most beautiful teen ballad of the decade. It's no wonder white girl groups rushed to get their versions recorded and released within a week after the original by the black sisters, the Teen Queens, started up the chart. I've listened to the cover by the Fontane Sisters and, in all honesty, it's very good. The version by the Chordettes is the one I can do without because it strikes me as little more than elevator music.

      I'm glad you found other selections that you liked in this post, including the modern retro sound of the Five Boroughs who live and perform over here in Florida. As I noted in another reply, I have great respect for artists, groups and bands that handle old material with due respect and perform it authentically. I don't like it one bit when they poke fun at the music of the period or try to give it an updated hip-hop arrangement to make it more palatable for modern audiences.

      It's still blazing hot over here, dear Suzanne, low to mid 90s most days, and it's been the wettest year I can remember since coming to Florida in 1984. I hope Scootie enjoyed his stay and that you and Karo are both doing well. Thank you very much for coming back over to listen to more tunes. I appreciate it very much, dear friend!

  11. Wow, so many great songs and most of them I hadn't heard of before! I just love doo-wop and really enjoyed this post, I hope you are having a great week Shady!

    1. Hello, dear Sarah! It's so nice of you to stop by, dear friend! What a pleasant surprise it is to find out you love doo-wop. I never would have guessed. As I've told other readers, putting together this 9-part doo-wop series was a learning experience for me as well because many of the 100+ recordings were brand new to me.

      I was having a good week before your visit, Sarah. Now I'm having a great week. It was very sweet of you to come and I sincerely appreciate your friendship and support. Good night to you in the UK, dear friend. I'll be seeing you soon over on your fine blog!


You talkin' to me?