The History of the Street Corner Acappella Groups
Blow Some Notes
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Started 8-15-22, Updated 05-19-23
Hope to be completed sometime in late 2023
It is now 2023 and Street Corner Acappella Groups have been in my ear, and part of my life, for over 58 years. So I will put my view of the History of the Street Corner Acappella Groups online. So here I am sharing my knowledge and research from seven decades. I know there are many out there that know just as much and even more than I do. I hope you also share your knowledge and history. I will provide links to as many topics I refer to.
Remember: If you would like to contribute your knowledge / experience to this history you can always send me an email to - firstname.lastname@example.org
My IntroDanny Stiles, Bobby Jay, Hank Spann and Hal Jackson. For some reason I remember hearing "Teardrops", by Lee Andrews and the Hearts that first open my ears to vocal group harmony.
Being from New Jersey, Jersey City Heights, I started collecting records in 1961 at a couple of record shops on Central Ave. I had a paper route, the Jersey Journal, on Bleecker St. and had spending money to support my vinyl disease. In 1962 I starting working part-time at Meyer's Youth Center, Central Ave and Charles St. in the Heights, for some more vinyl cash.
In 1965, now almost 16 yrs old, an on a quest for Motown 45s, I made the bus trip to Journal Square, JCNJ, to Stan's Square Records. Stan R. Krause was the owner. His shop was right next to the State Theater. While fanning through the record bins, I heard this group in the back room rehearsing. They were singing a Motown hit, but with no instruments. The group was The Royal Counts and they were working with their Music Director, Skip Jackson. This was my first "live" introduction to Street Corner Acappella Groups.
Chapter 1 - "The Mentor"
Along with Donn Fileti (more on Donn later), Wayne discovered unreleased master recordings that were to be purchased on behalf of three people, that included Donn, Wayne, and industry vet Leo Rogers. When Leo backed out of the deal, it was taken to "Slim" at Times Records, who made the purchase. Donn left the area, and Wayne continued on, eventually owning a few of the masters from the huge tape and demo findings.
These tapes included practice tapes by the great Connecticut group, The Nutmegs. Like many practice tapes, these recordings were done without paying a band, as simple showcases for either the song, or for an arranger to listen to and thereby write an arrangement for a band or small combo. These recordings were done without music, and not planned for release whatsoever.
Prompted by Wayne, "Slim" decided to release The Nutmegs recordings, although he had offered to give them to Wayne in return for his various work with Times Records. ("Slim" was not very impressed with The Nutmegs, and Wayne taught him the historical value of the group that had been so important in 1955 with "Story Untold"). "Slim" felt the recordings that had no musical background needed to be highlighted as such, in part to make sure they weren't returned by customers, and in part to show the difference they represented compared to "normal" vocal group recordings.
This was the beginning of "Acapella", and the start of this word meaning "rock n' roll or r&b vocal groups". (As Wayne likes to point out, the first releases were put in the Italian section of many record stores, who assumed they were foreign records.). ".....we started something that we didn't intend to start....and I still think the name is wrong........but it's way too late to do anything about it..........".
Wayne produced a tremendous amount of acapella material, and by the end of the 60's, he had produced over 80% of all the acapella released by that time. This included recordings by The Quotations, The Chessmen, Nicky and The Knacks, and so many more. Wayne wrote many acapella songs, including "It Was Acapella Music", which was the first song ever written about acapella. (1965).
Chapter 2 - "The Money"
Chapter 3 - "The Students"
Donn Fileti - Eddie Gries
Chapter 4 - "The Promoter / Manager"
Stan R. Krause
Chapter 5 - The Kings Forever
Chapter 6 - The New Guy
Ronnie I - UGHA
Chapter 7 - The TV Stars
Fourteen Karat Soul
I am including Fourteen Karat Soul is this history because of SNL and Japan / world.travel ...more...to...come
Chapter 8 - The Last Producer
Starlight Records / Bob K
Working on this section
Chapter 9 - The Last of the Best
Quiet Storm, from Philadelphia, began in the spring of 2007. Started by Kamau "Smitty" Akiba, Quiet Storm's intention was to bring back music that speaks about love situations from the heart. Initially, the group started rehearsing in members homes, on porches, subways, and shopping malls, until settling down at Columbia Rehearsal Studios. Over the first six to nine months, the membership fluctuated with personnel changes for a variety of reasons. However, in the winter of 2007 the perfect mix of members emerged!
June 5, 2009
Live on WVLT Vineland NJ
* Ted Ziffer was with the original Chessmen in the beginning
2017 - If I Remember To Forget
Draft - Draft - Draft - Draft
also the original beaudaddy page
1974 back in NM. Hot Lix KUNM, Ghetto KUNM,
1976 - 2008 UGHA Ronnie I.
2010 - TNT R&R Party
1985 Caddies to UGHA
Rich Z - Tommy G
Why this online book.