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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Last week I posted on music just before my college days, and linked it to America's Got Talent and American Idol.  Last night, MY MUSIC:  ROCK, POP AND DO WOP, two  hours of PBS nostalgia of my after college days.  Wasn't said, but I think this is a repeat of a March version of this program, filmed in 2010.  But got to give kudos to TJ Lubinsky, above right (he created the My Music series for PBS when he was in his mid-twenties more than a dozen years ago out of Pittsburg), shown here with Jon "Bowser" Bauman of the Shanana, who served as MC.

The program?

• "Yakety-Yak"/"Charlie Brown" - Carl Gardner's Coasters
• "Can't We Be Sweethearts" - The Cleftones
• "Silhouettes" - The Rays
• "I Love You So"/ "Maybe" - The Chantels
• "Blue Moon" - The Marcels
• "Step By Step" - Johnny Maestro & The Crests
• "Rhythm of the Rain" - John Gummoe (of The Cascades)
• "Book Of Love" - The Monotones
• "A Little Bit Of Soap" - The Jarmels
• "A Thousand Stars In The Sky" - Kathy Young
• "Lovers Concerto" - Barbara Harris & The Toys
• Platters' Greatest Hits - Sonny Turner (medley: "Only You," "Great Pretender," "Twilight Time," "Harbor Lights," "Magic Touch," "My Prayer," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes")
• "1-2-3" - Len Barry
• "Wah-Watusi" - The Orlons
• "Venus in Blue Jeans" - Jimmy Clanton
• "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" - Shirley Alston Reeves (original lead singer of The Shirelles)
• "Cara Mia" - Jay Black (originally with Jay & The Americans)
• "Baby I Love You" - Ronnie Spector
• "Be My Baby" - Ronnie Spector
• "Da Doo Ron Ron" - La La Brooks (originally with The Crystals)
• "Then He Kissed Me" - La La Brooks (originally with The Crystals)
• "Get A Job" - The Silhouettes
• "Looking For an Echo" - Kenny Vance & The Planotones

I need to cite a statement from Jay Black (left, half a century ago, and right, today, close to 73) of Jay and the Americans, who remarked that he appreciated people coming up to him and telling him that his voice remains great.  However, he really, really feels it when, and I'm exaggerating perhaps a bit because I didn't take any notes, but to paraphrase, remembrance of his singing is especially meaningful to people who are close to dying from an incurable ailment saying they are glad they are still alive to relive the memories of his Cara Mia or a soldier in a foxhole listening to his song to keep them alive during and between battles.

Several performers blew my mind.  First, Cathy Young.  Frankly, I thought she was black, but she is, as you can see, not, and appeared as a svelte and, sort of beautiful 65, singing A Thousand Stars (originally in 1960 when she was 15 and tonight).

Remember the Platters (left)?  Well, they formed as early as 1953 and had a series of hits, but in the late 50's found themselves in drug and prostitution problems.  Sonny Turner (right) in 1959 (remember, we are talking about half a century ago) replaced Tony Williams who himself had taken the place of Cornel Gunter.  There are various Platters groups, but Sonny Turner appeared and looks incredible for 71.

Ah, the Orlons of Wah Watusi fame:  1962 and today.  First, I thought they were all girls.  No, one is a boy, and they sound the same after all these years.  A few pounds and some white hair, but, after half a century, amazing.

Ronnie Spector is not Phil Spector, although she was once married to him, and there will be a horror movie someday depicting their life together.  When she wears dark glasses, you think, maybe they are the same person, but, no, she actually looks great in person today.  Okay, she looked better when young, to the right.  This was her first appearance in 40 years and she sounds the same.  Wow, what a performance of Be My Baby (here with Bowzer himself a bout a third of century ago) and Baby I Love You (today).

The Shirelles, favorites of mine, was the first girl group to have a #1 hit on the Billboard 100.  Like the Ronettes named after Ronnie Spector, the Shirelles were influenced by Shirley Owens, now known as Shirley Alston Reeves.  We are the same age.  The group is 53 years old.  Shirley was great with Will You Love Me Tomorrow.

Got to mention Dolores LaLa Brooks, lead singer of the Crystals (I think she is at the bottom on the left).  She actually looks better after half a century.  She sang Da Doo Ron Ron (original) and Then He Kissed Me (today).  Her voice, at 64, is the same.  Well, maybe more mature, but okay.

Let me close with The Shields, You Cheated


the Skyliners, Since I Don't Have You.

This is Sunday, so return for my reviews of Another Earth (72%), One Day (75%), Sarah's Key (83%) and the latest Planet of the Apes (89%):  Rotten Tomatoes audience response.  Yes, I will be seeing all four films.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm will become a hurricane and roll over Haiti, again.


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