THE CHANTELS - THE CALVANES
|Ami Ortiz||Sonia Goring Wilson||Lois Harris Powell||Renée Minus White|
The Chantels, the all-girl New York doo-wop group whose "Maybe" and "Look in My Eyes" are rock 'n' roll classics, and Los Angeles' own Calvanes performed at the Southern California Doo-Wop Society's Show #34 at the Petroleum Club on Saturday night, October 28, and the show was a winner on all counts.
On hand in the current Chantels quartet were three of the original five members--top soprano Lois Harris Powell, lower alto and bass Renée Minus White, and second soprano Sonia Goring Wilson--plus 25-year-old lead singer Ami Ortiz. (Second alto Jackie Landry died in 1997 and former lead singer Arlene Smith is now singing only diva gospel music.)
Displaying the amazingly intricate, soaring harmonies that made them a favorite more than forty years ago, The Chantels brought the crowd to a standstill with one near-perfect performance after another. Unlike most acts from the '50s, they performed only those songs they originally recorded: "He's Gone," "The Plea," "Whoever You Are," "Prayee," "How Could You Call It Off," "I'm Confessin'," "I Love You So," "Goodbye to Love," "Eternally" and others. They saved "Look in My Eyes" for their second set and ended both sets, of course, with their million-selling classic, "Maybe." Though the three older members of the group sometimes seemed stand-offish in dealing personally with their fans, their onstage warmth was palpable all the way to the bar section in the rear of the club. Though Ami Ortiz isn't a carbon copy of Arlene Smith, her pure, strong voice managed to capture the feel of The Chantels' 1950s records.
The Chantels get ready to sign autographs. Left to right: Ami Ortiz,
Sonia Goring Wilson, Lois Harris Powell and Renée Minus White.
Chantels Ami and Sonia greet fan Estrella Regalado.
The opening act on both sets was The Calvanes--Herman Pruitt, Freddie Willis, Jimmy Corbitt and Medallions singer Billy Foster, who was standing in for the absent Bobby Adams. The Calvanes are regulars at our shows and always turn in great performances, whether they're singing their own songs like "Have You No Heart," "Crazy Over You," "They Call Me Fool," "One More Kiss" and "Don't Take Your Love From Me," or popular standards like The Youngsters' "Dreamy Eyes," The Chords' "Sh-Boom" and The Coasters' "Charlie Brown" (complete with theatrics). These guys know how to put on a lively show the way it was done 45 years ago, and nobody seemed to mind the occasional harmony glitch that was perhaps a result of Foster's newness in the usually seamless lineup. Herman Pruitt, the
Calvanes' lead singer.
The Calvanes from right to left: Freddie
Willis, Bill Foster, Jimmy Corbitt and
Herman Pruitt. At far left is saxophonist
KRTH disc jockey Johnny Hayes not only emceed the show, but shared his own feelings about and experiences with doo-wop music. He seemed to enjoy hearing the music and meeting the performers as much as everyone else in the crowd. All in all, it was an exciting evening that most attendees will keep with them for many years to come.
THE PENGUINS will join us on February 10, 2001, at the Petroleum Club, singing their old Dootone, Mercury and Original Sound sides. This will be the first time in 40 years that Cleve Duncan and his group will actually perform the old repertoire, from "Ookey Ook" and "Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild" to "Devil That I See" and "Kiss a Fool Goodbye." Also on hand will be a couple of popular acts to be announced over the next couple of months.
Order Reserved Seats now because tables are already going fast. Reserved seats are $30 for DWS members and $40 for non-members. WillCall seats are no longer being sold because of a general lack of interest. Send payment to the DWS, 3553 Atlantic Avenue, Box 251, Long Beach, CA 90807.
The Petroleum Club is located at 3636 Linden Avenue, between Atlantic Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, just four blocks north of the 405. For more information, call our Doo-Wop Society 24-hour hotline at (562) 493-9058.
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