THE MARCELS & THE FLORIDA LEGENDS
at the PETROLEUM CLUB
The Doo-Wop Society's 10th Anniversary concert at the Petroleum Club in Long Beach on Saturday night, May 22, turned out to be one of its best ever. It also had one of the worst turn-outs in the past several years, thanks to several conflicting events. Though these DWS concerts generally draw in the neighborhood of 425 people, there were only about 300 on hand. But man, did they get a show!
The Florida Legends are an East Coast supergroup consisting of Jimmy Gallagher of The Passions ("Just to Be With You"), Tony Passalacqua of The Fascinators ("Who Do You Think You Are"), Frank Mancuso of The Imaginations ("Goodbye Baby") and Steve Horn of The Sharks ("Stormy Weather"). Granted, these are not "big name" groups, but to aficionados of '50s and '60s group harmony they are truly classic aggregations. The quartet did not disappoint.
FLORIDA LEGENDS (L-R):
Steve Horn, Frank Mancuso, Jimmy Gallagher, Eddie Davis (DWS Board), Tony Passalacqua
PHOTO: Ray Regalado
All four vocalists were in excellent voice, and all provided stunning backup harmonies. Passalacqua sang The Fascinators' "Who Do You Think You Are," as well as "Oh Rosemarie," "I Wonder Who" and "Dear Lord." The distinctive Jimmy Gallagher lit up the ballroom with his "Just to Be With You," which is the closest thing to a hit from this supergroup, "This Is My Love" and the doo-wop standard "Gloria," which he and The Passions recorded in 1960. The Imaginations' leader Frank Mancuso delivered their "Guardian Angel" and "Mystery of You." The quartet in all sang 18 songs, broken into two separate sets.
The Marcels from Pittsburgh, famous for their 1961 number-one hit version of "Blue Moon," were equally impressive, which isn't surprising considering that most of the original group, including bass man ("bomp-bompa-bomp, danga dang dang") Fred Johnson and lead vocalist Cornelius Harp, is still intact. Like The Florida Legends, The Marcels sang in strong, perfect harmony, but delivered a more soulful show (after all, they are a black group) buttressed by Dave Cadison on tenor saxophone.
The MARCELS and ROSIE HAMLIN (L-R):
Freddy Johnson (bass), Ron "Bingo" Munday (1st tenor), Cornelius Harp [front row] (lead),
Rosie Hamlin, Dick Knauss (baritone), Gene Bricker (2nd tenor)
PHOTO: Ray Regalado
They performed their two hits, "Blue Moon" and "Heartaches," in both sets, but otherwise they gave two separate shows--20 more songs in all--including their own "Goodbye to Love" (the flipside of "Blue Moon"), "My Love For You" (the flipside of "Heartaches"), and a number of doo-wop standards such as "Most of All," "Here I Stand," "So Young," and "Over the Rainbow."
Both groups had the audience on its feet all night long. For doo-wop lovers stranded on the West Coast, this was an opportunity to hear full-time working vocal groups, steeped in classic harmonies and practiced to precision, working at the top of their game.
As a break in the first show, Rosie Hamlin came onstage and sang her two hits, "Angel Baby" and "Lonely, Blue Nights," sounding very much like she did nearly forty years ago.
Though this was one of the DWS's most under-promoted and understated shows in a long time, it was easily one of the best ever. Several people in the audience, longtime DWS members, declared it easily as good or better than the Johnny Maestro shows. Those who missed it will have to settle for the Show #30 video.
Order Show #30 now by sending a check for
$25 (members) or $30 (non-members) plus $3.50 S&H to
3553 Atlantic Avenue #251
Long Beach, CA 90807
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