It was another fantastic show in the ballroom of the Long Beach Petroleum Club as the Doo-Wop Society hosted an evening starring two veteran out-of-town groups, The Counts and The Dubs. Roughly 350 fans filled the tables. After DWS veep Ray Baxter welcomed everyone to the show, the DWS house band, The Boomers, got the evening off to a rousing start with Lee Allen's "Walkin' With Mr. Lee" (featuring Dave Cadison on tenor sax) and a vocal medley of Muddy Waters' "I'm Ready" and Robert & Johnny's "We Belong Together." As vocalists and instrumentalists, these guys keep getting better with each show.
The Famous Counts The Original Counts
The Counts: James Lee, Robert Pennick,
Chester Brown and Robert Wesley.
Emcee Ray Baxter
starts the show.
The Counts, an Indianapolis quintet, has been singing together since 1953, when they got together in high school as The 5 Diamonds. In fact all five original members would have been at Show #38 if baritone Bobby Young hadn't died earlier in the year, in July. As it was, the surviving four--lead singer Chester Brown, first tenor Robert "Chico" Penick, second tenor Robert Wesley and bass James Lee--carried on in fine form when they showed up in Long Beach. Getting back to history for a moment, the group changed its name to The Counts in 1954, then recorded eight singles for Dot Records over the next two years. The quartet performed many songs off those singles for the DWS crowd, beginning with "Wailin' Little Mama" (their fifth single, in 1955), then moving on to "I Need You Always" (the B-side of their first single), "To Our Love" (their final single, in 1956) and "Let Me Go, Lover" (a much bigger hit for four different female artists in 1955 than it was for The Counts on their fifth single). The Counts ended their first set with "My Dear, My Darling," their third single, from 1954).
The Dubs backstage with The Boomers. Front row: Bernard
Jones, John Truesdale & Lesley Anderson. Back row: David
Morales, Jimi Seville, Louie Martinez, Cleveland Stills,
Dave Cadison (hat) & drummer Robert "Beto" Zapata.
The Dubs hang backstage with Manuel and
Carmen Jimenez and son Manny.
Next up were The Dubs, the legendary Harlem group, led by Cleveland Still, who had originally been the lead singer of a group called The Scale-Tones that recorded for Jay-Dee in late 1955. When the Scale-Tones melded with another group led by Richard Blandon called The 5 Wings in early 1956, they called themselves The Marvels and recorded a single for ABC Paramount. A year later they dubbed themselves The Dubs, and the rest is history. Cleveland Still has been singing as part of a Dubs group almost continuously ever since. He formed the present group with bass singer Bernard Jones (from Dock Green's Drifters), John "Spider" Truesdale (from the 1970s incarnation of The Charts) and lead vocalist Leslie Anderson in the 1980s. (Richard Blandon died in 1991.)
The Dubs hit the stage with their first record, "Don't Ask Me to Be Lonely" (released in 1957 on the Johnson label, then picked up by George Goldner for Gone Records, which became the group's label for the next two years). After moving on to "No One" (their first of three singles on ABC, in late '59), The Dubs returned to their Gone years with "Is There a Love For Me," then sang both sides of a 1960 single from the Mark-X label, "Song in My Heart" (featuring Cleveland Still on vocal) and "Be Sure My Love." Next the group gave a nod to their Los Angeles sojourn at the end of the 1980s, with the Dave Antrell song, "Wherever You Are" (from Classic Artists Records), then tossed in a couple of golden oldies, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and The Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man." At this time the audience got a nice surprise when Spider Truesdale, who sang with The Charts in the 1970s, stepped forward to lead the group on a fantastic, just-like-the-record version of "Desiree." Finally The Dubs ended their first set with their most famous recording, "Could This Be Magic," which went to #23 on the pop charts in 1957.
After a 20-minute intermission, The Boomers returned to the stage, but without their keyboardist, Jimi Seville, who had to be taken to the hospital. (It turned out he had a kidney stone; everything was okay a couple of days later, and we're happy to report that Jimi's fine.) Once again matching a vocal performance with an R&B instrumental, they performed The Treniers' "Rock That Boogie" and Gene & Eunice's "This Is My Story."
The Counts get ready to raid the snack table.
The Counts began their second set with "Baby Don't You Know" (their second single) and "From This Day On" (the B-side of their sixth single) before getting to their popular uptempo number, "Hot Tamales" (the B-side of "Baby Don't You Know"). Then came their #6 R&B hit, "Darling Dear," from 1954, which was also their debut single. They ended their set with a doo-wop medley of several songs called "Precious Memories" (originally put together by Freddie Parris for his later Satins group).
Like The Counts, The Dubs performed a completely different song list on their second set. They began with "Such Love" (the B-side of "Could This Be Magic"), then sang a 1962 song called "You're Free to Go" that sounded suspiciously like Don & Juan's "What's Your Name." Next up they thrilled the crowd with one of their most beloved numbers (again from their Gone era), "Chapel of Dreams," which has always been a big East L.A. favorite. Then another Gone A-side, "Beside My Love," followed by "Darling" (the B-side of "Don't Ask Me to Be Lonely"), "Your Very First Love" (their 1963 Wilshire single), Bobby Day's "Little Bitty Pretty One," a song called "This Time," "This to Me Is Love" (their 1962 End single) and, as a finale, the Isley Brothers' "Shout."
DWS Prez Phyllis Bardone greets The Dubs. Ray Regalado and daughter Estrella enjoy the show.
No doubt about it, this was a great show. Since both of these groups have been singing together for many years, their harmonies were impeccable. The Dubs in particular went for elaborate, difficult harmonies that really sent the crowd screaming. Everybody went home satisfied at the end of the night, and many fans stopped on their way out to pay in advance for the next show on March 23, which will be our annual Los Angeles show. See you there.
|Eddie Davis with his stable of hotties.|
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