|The Solitaires onstage: Milton Love, Don Cruz, Waldo Campen and Fred Barksdale|
Saturday, August 18, was another warm, beautiful night in Southern California as The Solitaires came to the Petroleum Club with Bobby Mansfield, lead singer of The Wrens. Too bad there weren't more than 199 paying customers there to see the show, because it was solid from beginning to end.
The show began around eight o'clock as emcee Ray Baxter, the DWS treasurer, introduced a young black & white acappella quintet called The Visions, who warmed up the audience with "Little Bitty Pretty One," "What's Your Name" and "In the Still of the Night."
Then the DWS house band, The Boomers, came out and played a couple of numbers to set the stage for The Solitaires, a quartet that features two original members--lead singer Milton Love and bass singer Fred Barksdale--plus Waldo Champen from The Crickets and Rivileers, and Don Cruz. Their harmonies were dead on as they passed around the lead vocals on "What Did He Say," "The Angels Sang," "Blue Valentine," "At Night," "Later For You Baby," the always popular "Please Remember My Heart" (which inspired a couple of women near the stage to become part of the act, with Barksdale's prompting), "The Wedding," the always stirring "Ghost of a Chance," "Pound Goes My Heart," "I Wonder Why" and finally their most popular recording, "Walking Along." Whew! Eleven songs, quite a set, and the group kept the audience in the palms of their hands.
Bobby Mansfield and "The Wrens":
Don Cruz, Waldo Campen and
The Solitaires exited, but before long they returned...as The Wrens, although Milton Love stayed behind the curtain with his own microphone so that it wouldn't be too obvious that The Wrens and The Solitaires were almost one and the same. Of course the difference was that the man in front was Bobby Mansfield, the original lead singer of The Wrens, and he was in great voice this night as he crooned his way through "Love's Something Made For Two," "Eleven Roses," the popular "C'Est La Vie," "Hey Girl," "I'm Just the Kind of Guy" and the closest thing to a Wrens hit, "Come Back My Love."
The Solitaires: Waldo Campen, Fred
Barksdale, Don Cruz and Milton Love
After an intermission, The Visions returned with three more acappella songs: "Whispering Bells," "You Belong to Me" and "Only You." Then Solitaires fans enjoyed a feast as the group came back out and sang another set of eleven songs, only one of which ("Walking Along") was a repeat from the first set. The other songs were "Thrill of Love," "Please Kiss This Letter," "The Honeymoon" (a nice follow-up to "The Wedding" from the first set), "The Time Is Here," "Big Mary's House," "Light a Candle in the Chapel," "Embraceable You," "Nothing Like a Little Love," "South of the Border" and The Crickets' "You're Mine." Wow, that's a total of 21 songs in one evening, plus singing backup for Bobby Mansfield on his songs.
Arthur Lee Maye (hat) visits with
Bobby, Waldo and Milton backstage
Speaking of Mansfield, he closed the show with an almost identical set from the first one, except that he added a seventh song, "Wreckless."
Who knows if or when these singers will ever return to the West Coast. If you missed them, don't blame the DWS.
Next up: The Dubs and The Counts come to town on November 3.
Bobby Mansfield greets . . .
Louis Woolridge and Eddie Davis
(of The Blossoms)
and Veronica Julian
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