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The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop

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Jerry Rasmussen 24 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM
Steve-o 24 Apr 06 - 05:52 PM
jimmyt 24 Apr 06 - 09:17 PM
jimmyt 24 Apr 06 - 09:18 PM
Ron Davies 24 Apr 06 - 09:29 PM
Bob the Postman 24 Apr 06 - 09:57 PM
Bob the Postman 24 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM
Amos 24 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,paddymac, accidently without my cookie. 24 Apr 06 - 11:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Apr 06 - 11:17 PM
Roberto 25 Apr 06 - 09:45 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Apr 06 - 11:07 AM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 11:49 AM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 12:04 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Apr 06 - 12:37 PM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,thurg 25 Apr 06 - 02:11 PM
Amos 25 Apr 06 - 02:14 PM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 02:34 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Apr 06 - 03:01 PM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 03:08 PM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 03:37 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Apr 06 - 04:10 PM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 04:35 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Apr 06 - 04:53 PM
The Villan 25 Apr 06 - 04:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 06 - 05:39 PM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 25 Apr 06 - 07:35 PM
Barbara Shaw 25 Apr 06 - 09:42 PM
Barbara Shaw 25 Apr 06 - 09:44 PM
Dave'sWife 25 Apr 06 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 25 Apr 06 - 10:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 06 - 10:55 PM
M.Ted 25 Apr 06 - 11:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Apr 06 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 26 Apr 06 - 10:21 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Apr 06 - 10:32 AM
M.Ted 26 Apr 06 - 02:18 PM
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Subject: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM

Alright you Doo Wop lovers. Have you ever thought about where the music came from? The most obvious roots are in black churches. Many of the black rhythm and blues groups came out of churches. But, were Dion and The Belmonts, or Vito and the Salutations drawing upon that culture? Not directly, for sure. Did they sit around listening to the Delta Rhythm Boys and the Ravens as kids. Probably not. How much influence in white doo wop came from the Italian culture? I wonder if groups like the Gaylords and the Four Aces.

Any thoughts?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Steve-o
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:52 PM

I'm no expert, but the Italian music from my childhood ("pop" music from Italy) certainly didn't relate to Doo Wop. I think it's a New York thing, and there just happened to be plenty of Italian kids in New York to grab it and develop it on the streets. And yes, I also think that it grew out of listening to groups like the Four Aces, etc. and putting their own spin on that stuff. Just my guess..


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: jimmyt
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 09:17 PM

I have always somehow thought it came out of Philly for some reason. I am not sure why I even think this. BUt at any rate, The whole concept of SOrt of improvisation in a street scene is at least pretty romantic I think.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: jimmyt
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 09:18 PM

I still think Johnny Maestro is DA MAN!!!


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 09:29 PM

I suppose it depends on your definition of doo-wop. Does it include songs like Runaround Sue and Wanderer, where it's a soloist and accompaniment--Dion sure is Italian-American--- or is it mainly the songs where there are several independent voices which together make up the sound? I would think the soloist tradition would be more Italian than the street-corner harmony approach--but I sure don't claim to be an authority.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 09:57 PM

Canadian doo-woppers The Four Lads met as student choristers at St. Michael's Cathedral Choir School in Toronto. Their names are Toorish, Busseri,


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM

As I was about to say before I so rudely interrupted myself, their surnames are Toorish, Busseri, Arnold, and Codarini. Is there an Irish Catholic influence in doo-wop? Wonderful folk for your tenor voice, the Irish.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM

There is a huge Italian popular music tradition full of great crooners, of whom Caruso is the paradigm, and the softer side of doo-wop is definitely in the croonertradition plowed by him, Perry Como and scores of others of Italian descent. That's the romantic side of the doo-wop house. The other side, which bleeds on down into Motown, is a mixture of black shuffling, Baptist hallelujah and broken-hearted Creole love songs. With, perhaps, a tiny twist of Germanic oompah thrown in just to confuse things!

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it, if I can find it again...


A


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: GUEST,paddymac, accidently without my cookie.
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 11:06 PM

I recall a Perry Como "Christmas in Dublin" show a few years ago (well, that's when I saw it, dont' know when it was taped)in which he wowed the audience by proudly announcing that his mother was Irish. None of us can really know with great certainty who or whom was sleeping with who or whom up in the old family tree.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 11:17 PM

Developing on the posts by Amos and Bob the Postman, Doo Wop seems to be totally American- roots all mixed up.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Roberto
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 09:45 AM

Amos, Caruso was an opera tenor. A crooner is quite the opposite. R


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:07 AM

Cara Mia mine by Jay and The Americans (Or was it Italian-Americans) is very much in the dramatic, romantic tradition. Mario Lanza meets the Penguins.

I don't claim to know anything about this. It's why I'm asking. I've talked a little with a new-found friend who has been singing Doo Wop since the 60's, and he doesn't see any Italian connection. He grew up in Queens, New York, but his influences were the first generation groups like the Five Satins, the Harptones, the Clefs and all the rest.

In more recent times, I've seen many blank "fashion" and music trends come out of the black community to be imitated by whites. The earliest groups you could call Doo Wop.. the Ravens, The Delta Rhythm Boys and the Orioles were all black. It may just be that as it grew in popularity and got more airplay, white kids picked it up.
If I had known any other kids in my little farm town in Wisconsin who wanted to sing rhythm and blues, I would have formed a group in no time flat.

The very first song I ever wrote was Foam Rubber Dice... with a nice bass lead in, Jimmy..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:49 AM

Harmony singing, particularly part singing,often with a high counterpoint and a moving bass part, have always been important in Italian communities---In the Alan Lomax recordings of Italian folk music, there are several great examples of harmony singing--and the wonderful male harmony singing that can be found in Dalmatia and Montenegro was brought there by the Italians--

Anyway, in Italian/American communities, there tended to be a lot of classical and jazz musicians who teach the kids how to sing--and usually, performances were associated with social events informally connected to the church(my wife's uncle organized a chorus in Hoboken that did four part arrangements of pop tunes back in the 40's and 50's)--

Frankie Valli lived with a family we know when he was growing up. Al(who wrote one of the Four Seasons' smaller hits) says that they started out singing Four Freshman type harmonies, and moved over to the doo wop style because that was what everyone wanted to hear. He tells me that there was never "street corner" singing at all--

As far as it goes, Quartets have been a staple of American pop music since the recording industry began--even though, if you look at the recording credits, a lot of those old time Quartets had seven or eight people in them--Doo Wop(a name which I dislike) is a very different thing, though--and even though I love a lot of those old white groups--their sound is a bit different than the black r&b groups--


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:04 PM

Here's an interesting link thought you might like to share

Doo Wop


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:37 PM

THis is getting interesting. I've had a frustratingly brief interchange of e-mails with the guy I just met, and I'm fascinated. He has a a capella group and he started talking about the differences in style between black and white Doo Wop (a term I also dislike.) This guy... goes by the name of Ken has already expressed an interest in sharing a workshop with the Gospel Messengers at NOMAD this fall. Man! No one will enjoy that as much as me..

Jerry

And as always, Villan, U R Da Man!


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 01:35 PM

I am very fond of all kinds of R&B music--as a musician, I am more interested in how it works and how to play it than anything else, and I find that musicians tend to be very open with those who are sincerely interested in what they do--however, music fans/record collectors are another kettle of fish entirely--they can be arrogant and vicious--

Philly (where I lived for many years) has a very active doo wop community--and at times, it seemed to be an armed camp, divided by barbed wire and minefields. In the beginning, about 50 years ago, listeners divided their allegiances between two DJ's, Hy Lit and Jerry Blavat--Hyskie fans were into the mainstream, to 40 stuff, and Blavat(The Geator) fans like the obscure stuff.
And they still hate each other.

One story makes the point--

There was a well known used/reissue record store about ten feet outside the Philly city limits that was named for it's proprietor, who has a "reputation" among oldies collectors--you don't browse, you go in with a list, which the proprietor takes from you while he is talking on the phone, while a couple guys run around getting what you want-

One day, about fifteen years ago I was looking for The Four Deuces version of "WPLJ"(just to show how well it sticks in my mind)--the guy in front of me hands the proprietor his list. The proprietor, on the phone, as always, looks at the list and shouts, "This is crap. This is BULLSHIT!! Get the F*** Out of Here!!!"

And he wasn't the only one like that.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 02:11 PM

Someone mentioned the Four Lads - apparently, as teenagers they were big fans of the Golden Gate Quartet, and had the teenage moxie to present themselves to the Quartet backstage, in Toronto, and sing one of the Quartet's hits to them. The Quartet were/was so impressed that they arranged an introduction that led the Four Lads' into serious show biz. Incidentally, on a British tour, a young Paul McCartney hit them up for autographs after a show. The point, I suppose, is that influences spread all over the place, in all directions.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 02:14 PM

Sorry, quite right. I must have been thinking about Mario Lanza. For that matter, Sinatra was Italian.

A


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 02:34 PM

Jerry
Have you looked at this website?

http://www.palmsradio.com/doowop.html


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 03:01 PM

YOu are a veritable fount of knowledge, Villan.. no I hadn't seen that one either, although I haven't really explored the internet for doo wop.

Thanks for the background information on the Four Lads. They did a wonderful gospel extended play record with Frankie Lane.. a perfect mix. I've been editing a CD from my 45's from the 50's (another thread) and one of my treasured records is The Mockingbird, released on the OKeh label. Columbia re-recorded it and released it after the Four Lads were more popular, and that's the version you get on their "Greatest Hits" Cds... they added reverb, twangy guitar and an early stereo ping-pong effect to it that almost spoiled the song for me. I'll take the minor surface noise on my 45.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 03:08 PM

there is an awful lot on that website = see you in a week          lol :-)


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 03:37 PM

What about this review from a 19 year old about this box set called
Doo Wop Box [BOX SET]
Various Artists - Rock - Vintage Rock & Roll
Audio CD (May 17, 1994)
Original Release Date: May 17, 1994
Number of Discs: 4
Format: Box set
Label: Rhino / Wea
Catalog Number: 71463
ASIN: B00000333M

Disc: 1      
1. It's Too Soon To Know - Orioles
2. Count Every Star - Ravens
3. The Glory Of Love - Five Keys
4. Gee - Crows
5. Crying In The Chapel - Orioles
6. Money Honey - Cyde McPhatter & Drifters
7. Golden Teardrops - Flamingos
8. A Sunday Kind Of Love - Harp-Tones
9. I - Velvets
10. Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite - Spaniels
11. Sh-Boom - Chords
12. Gloria - CADILLACS
13. Hearts Of Stone - Jewels
14. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) - Penguin
15. Sincerely - Moonglows
16. Mary Lee - Rainbows
17. Close Your Eyes - Five Keys
18. (Will You) Come Back My Love - Wrens
19. Story Untold - Nutmegs
20. Only You (And You Alone) - PLATTERS
21. Why Don't You Write Me? - Jacks
22. When You Dance - Turbans
23. At My Front Door - El Dorados
24. The Great Pretender - PLATTERS
25. Lily Maebelle - Valentines
Disc: 2      
1. Speedoo - CADILLACS
2. Why Do Fools Fall in Love - Frankie Lymon & Teenagers
3. I'll Be Home - Flamingos
4. Devil Or Angel - Clovers
5. Church Bells May Ring - Willows
6. Little Girl Of Mine - Cleftones/Jimmy Wright & His Orchestra
7. I Want You To Be My Girl - Frankie Lymon & Teenagers
8. In the Still Of The Night - Five Satins
9. The Closer You Are - Channels
10. Oh What a Night - Dells
11. A Thousand Miles Away - HEARTBEATS
12. Please Say You Want Me - Schoolboys/Leroy Kirkland Orchestra
13. Come Go With Me - Dell Vikings
14. I'm So Happy (Tra-La-La-La-La-La) - Lewis Lymon & Teenchords
15. Walking Along - Solitaires
16. Little Darlin' - Gladiolas
17. Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely - Dubs
18. Florence - Paragons
19. Deserie - Charts
20. Whispering Bells - Dell-Vikings
21. Tonite, Tonite - Mello-Kings
22. Long Lonely Nights - Lee Andrew & Hearts
23. Baby Oh Baby - Shells
24. Tell Me Why - Norman Fox & Rob-Roys
25. Buzz-Buzz-Buzz - Hollywood Flames
26. Tear Drops - Lee Andrew & Hearts
Disc: 3      
1. Been So Long - Pastels
2. Get A Job - Silhouettes
3. Book Of Love - Monotones
4. Maybe - Chantels
5. I Wonder Why - Dion & Belmonts
6. One Summer Night - Danleers
7. For Your Precious Love - Jerry Butler & Impressions
8. You Cheated - Shields
9. I'm So Young - Students
10. Everyday Of The Week - Students
11. Little Star - Elegants
12. Tear On My Pillow - Imperials
13. Trickle, Trickle - Videos
14. Ten Commandments Of Love - Harvey & Moonglows
15. Candles - Crests
16. So Fine - Fiestas
17. Lovers Never Say Goodbye - Flamingos
18. Since I Don't Have You - Skyliners/Lenny Martin & Orchestra
19. Pizza Pie - Norman Fox & Rob Roys/Sid Bass & His Orchestra
20. Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) - Impals/Leroy Holmes Orchestra
21. A Teenager In Love - Belmonts
22. Who's That Knocking - Genies
23. I Only Have Eyes For You - Flamingos
24. Hushabye - Mystics
25. Rockin' In The Jungle - Externals
Disc: 4      
1. Mope-Itty Mope - Boss-Tones
2. Oh Rose Marie - Fascinators/Jesse Stone Orchestra
3. Just To Be With You - Passions
4. Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop - Little Anthony & Imperials
5. The Wind - Jesters
6. Stay - Maurice Williams & Zodiacs
7. There's A Moon Out Tonight - Capris
8. Blue Moon - Marcels
9. Tonight I Fell In Love - Tokens/Fields-Madera Orchestra
10. Daddy's Home - Shep & Limelights
11. Barbara-Ann - Regents
12. Rama Lama Ding Dong - Edsels
13. Tonight (Could Be The Night) - Velvets
14. My True Story - Jive Five/Joe Rene & Orchestra
15. Nag - Halos
16. Lookin' For My Baby - Earls
17. Imagination - Quotations
18. Coney Island Baby - Excellents
19. Remember Then - Earls
20. Never Let You Go - Five Discs
21. Denise - Randy & Rainbows
22. Unchained Melody - Vito & Salutations
23. I Do - Marvelows
24. Morse Code Of Love - Capris
25. My Juanita (Live) - Johnny Meastro & Brooklyn Bridge

WOW! Well, after reading the reviews written here for this set, I went out yesterday and bought it, pretty much on a whim! But this was one of those rare occasions where my whim has actually paid off in spades! First of all, I should say that I'm 19 years old (okay, I'll be twenty in eleven days, but I'm still a teenager at heart!) so, needless to say, I never had the opportunity to sit at a Bronx apartment stoop, harmonizing with four other guys about lost love and moonlit nights. But sometimes, when I listen to this music, I feel like I could very well have been there in a past life! And as far as this set goes, well, it's pure magic! From the first note 'til the last, this box takes a thorough and enjoyable look at the entire doo-wop genre. I learned more about doo-wop's history from the amazing companion booklet than I ever have from any other source. I always used to think that all doo-wop was pretty much the same no matter what year it was released in. Not so! In fact, as it turns out, the doo-wop sound changed so rapidly that you can hear subtle changes in the musical approach from YEAR to YEAR! And in fact, doo-wop falls into three distinct sub-eras; the initial R&B movement of the late forties when groups like The Ravens splintered off from more traditional black vocal groups of earlier years, the acceptance of the music by white America in the mid-fifties and its fusion with rock & roll, and the early 60's doo-wop revival, due in large amount to Italian groups like Dion & the Belmonts, and conscientious record collectors who brought doormant singles to deejays, who made hits out of them YEARS after they were recorded! That means that doo-wop, in some form or another, existed actively in three decades! That's a lot of great music, and this set tackles all of it with outstanding gusto! As a bit of an early-rock historian myself (at least in my own mind ;-), I do have a small bone to pick with the head compiler of this set, who asserts that while groups like the Ink Spots were catering to a mostly white pop audience in the 30's and 40's, the Orioles recorded the first "real" doo-wop tune "It's Too Soon to Know" in 1948. As popular as that theory is and as widely-held as it is among doo-wop aficianados, I'm afraid I just don't see it. The Orioles don't sound any more "doo-wop" than the Ink Spots themselves did! In fact, in my mind, the Ink Spots have just as much doo-wop street cred as the Orioles do, and they started all the way back in 1939 with their countrified, harmonically-satisfying ballad "If I Didn't Care". The Orioles didn't really have any quality to distinguish them from the Ink Spots, so I'd have to say that the first "real" full-fledged doo wop tune was the SECOND song on this set "Count Every Star" by the Ravens, from all the way back in 1950! A beautiful song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, especially when I hear that soaring falsetto doing vocal loop-de-loops at the beginning! While this whole set is pure gold, I'd have to say that the first disc is my favorite because it encompasses the spirit of pure black streetcorner music, before it became commercialized and before it was fodder for novelty tunes. My favorites of this set are the really obscure old gems from the days when this was the stuff you REALLY didn't want your parents to hear, some of these that I had never even heard before, like "Gee" by The Crows, "Why Don't You Write Me?" by The Jacks (I wish to Heaven that I could find out who that lead vocalist is, he's fantastic!), "Mary Lee" by The Rainbows, "Come Back My Love" by the Wrens, "I" by The Velvets, "Hearts of Stone" by the Jewels, "Sh-Boom" by the Chords, "A Sunday Kind of Love" by the Harp-Tones, "Story Untold" by the Nutmegs, and OF COURSE "Count Every Star" by the Ravens! The later days of doo-wop are just as great to listen to and maybe even more developed stylistically, but never again was it at its purest, most emotionally tormented form. The later discs in this set are fabulous also, with all the feverish and fun doo-wop rockers that were to come along in the rock era and some truly classic and well-known tunes by the Skyliners, the Cadillacs, the Dell Vikings, the Capris, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers etc. as well as some of the great white and Italian streetcorner groups that picked up and carried the torch of doo-wop in the revival period, but I think the last two discs are brought down just a TAD by one or two not-so-great novelty tunes that wouldn't have been missed if they had stayed in the doo-wop vaults (did we REALLY need "Pizza Pie" by Norman Fox & the Rob-Roys?! Uggh!). All criticisms aside, this is still THE set to buy! And even though it's a bit pricey, the informative and lovingly rendered booklet alone is worth half of the price tag just for what you'll learn from reading it, and you get some really rare songs here (from all three eras) that you WON'T find in other collections and, probably, many that you've never heard before and that you'll be glad you met! If you lived through this period, you'll relive some priceless memories, and if you're like me and you didn't see this music's heyday, now is the perfect chance to get it and create some priceless memories of your own!


Just shows, what goes around, comes around


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 04:10 PM

Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, wow! You know, Villan, I recently put together a 5 CD set of my own, following rhythm and blues vocal groups starting with When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano and ending with a song from Paul Simon's flop broadway musical about the same era... Capeman. I did it Chronologically, and probably a third of the music (at least) is stuff that never made the top 40.

That review was brilliant, and right to the point. My new-found friend is recruiting singers to start a new a capella group. What a kick that would be. I've got a street corner right in fron of our house..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM

After dissing The Orioles like that, that kid wouldn't have lasted for two minutes in Philly--

"Cara Mia" was made incredibly popular not by Mario Lanza, but by David Whitfield, acompanied by Mantovani(who wrote the song) and his orchestra. If I remember, this song is used as the background for a whacking in a barbershop in "Goodfellas"--Far from being an Italian Tenor, David Whitfield was born in Mudcat's UK nexus, Hull!


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 04:35 PM

He probably wouldn't last two minutes in Hull M.Ted :-)


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 04:53 PM

I'm with you MTed... the Orioles are one of my favorite groups... But, the kid's point isn't far off... the Orioles weren't a radical departure from the Ink Spots. The Ravens probably had more of the classic rhythm and blues sound... with a bass lead on many songs, and falsetto on others. Still like the Orioles far better than the Ravens..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 04:58 PM

Bear in mind he is only 19 and we are talking about music 50 years ago. Don't knock the lad.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 05:39 PM

I wonder who first applied the term 'doo wop,' and when.
It is applied to 50's music but the term seems to have appeared in print for the music category much later.
In "Jargon," D. E. Miller, 1981, Doo-wop is defined as "Type of fifties rock or R and B in which the back-up vocals involved the repetition of such phrases as "doo-wop,", "Sh-bop," "Sh-boom," "doo-lang" and the like."
Lighter, J. E., "Historical Dictionary of American Slang," vol. 1, says "a style of rhythm and blues in which a lead vocalist sings over a rhythmically chanted background of nonsense syllables; a style popular esp. in the 1950's. Now S. E."

These definitions are the equivalent of saying a book is composed of nouns, verbs, adverbs, dialectical slang, etc. There should be a definition out there that captures something of the spirit of the music.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 05:44 PM

No--I am really happy that this music still speaks to young people--There is some great contemporary music out there, but it lacks the innocence of this old stuff. Very good to see that kids still respond to it--


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 07:35 PM

Well folks, I'm old enought and I still love the stuff. I heard an interview last year of Dion(one of my early heros)on NPR and in it, as I recall, he stated that the main influences for doo wop - at least his version of it - was big band and rhythm & blues. He went on to state that the guys hanging around didn't have all the instruments to play so their voices became the instruments and they sang the parts rather than playing them. Makes sense to me, but then, what do I know?

Oh, by the way, I heard up in Detroit years ago that "doo wop" got it's name from an incident in the Bronx one night back in the fifties when some New York gang jumped four Italian guys because they were from Philly and treadin' their turf. The gang was gonna cut 'em up if they didn't give over their bucks and stuff. In the process one of the gang members told the leader to go easy on them cause he had heard them sing a few days ago and they were pretty good. Well, the gang leader told the Italian lads they had sing and if he thinks that they're any good he'll let them go. Well, as the story goes, being scared they just stood there like deer in the headlights and did nothing until another gang member jumped up with a switchblade gleaming in his hand, put it to the chest of one of the Italians and said, "Do as he said - do Wop." Well, they sang; and they walked - the rest is history. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 09:42 PM

We used to go down to the Bronx when I was very young, to visit my Italian relatives. My cousins lived a few blocks away from Dion, who lived on Belmont Avenue, which is where they got the name. I don't know about the Italian roots of Doo Wop, but there were lots of kids --young teenagers-- hanging around on doorsteps singing what later was called Doo Wop.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 09:44 PM

...and I forgot to add, it was certainly an Italian neighborhood.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 09:57 PM

I could be wrong but I believe it's been mentioned in discussions of Doo Wop that Traditional Stornelli ballads were an influence


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 10:05 PM

The earliest quotation in the OED is from 1969.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truths. :||


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 10:55 PM

Webster's Collegiate also gives the date 1969.
Some sources credit a DJ, Gus Gossert, with coining the term in the 1970's.
The syllables first appeared on wax in 1954; a group called Carlyle Dundee and the Dundees (see www.electricearl.com/dws/origin.html). Other record citations are given at this website.

Joe Fineman, would you please reproduce the quote from the OED? My 1985 supplement doesn't have it or I can't find it. Webster's just gives the date 1969 but not the quote.


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 11:30 PM

I would be very interested to know if anyone has found awareness stornelli ballads amongst the "Doo wop" generation--my grandmother and her sisters, born in an Italian immigrant family that included musicians, at the turn of the century, were not familiar with them--


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 07:40 AM

I'd be very interested too, M.Ted. Have to ask some of my older Italian friends.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 10:21 AM

I'll buy your theory, Jerry. Our US history is full of parallels where one ethnic group's musical style merges with another. Doesn't our stage musical tradition comes from a blending of German orchestral music and Anglo-Irish lyricism? And Gershwin wouldn't have happened without his Russian musical roots slamming into New York blues and Tin Pan Alley at an early age. Something unique was the result.

Compared to other pop and rock music, you can see in doo-wop where 'bel canto' singing, falsetto, and over-the-top sentimentalism are very much featured, yet overlayered on the American quartet traditions (bbshop and gospel both).

And jimmyt, Johnny Maestro is indeed Da Man!


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 10:32 AM

The reason I have this question is because I can't right off hand think of a lot of German-American Doo Wop groups... or Danish-American Doo Wop Groups (unless I had started one) or even Irish-American groups. And yet there were a ton of Italian-American doo wop groups. Musta been a reason, even if I don't know it...

Just think of that... an Oom Pah Doo Wop group! Or it could have been a Swedish-American Doo Wop group with yodeling and leiderhosen.

The possibilities are endless..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Italian Roots Of Doo Wop
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 02:18 PM

>>Doesn't our stage musical tradition comes from a blending of German orchestral music and Anglo-Irish lyricism?

Short answer is, "No, it doesn't"--the most immediate reason being that neither of those are theatrical traditions--Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, and Franz Lehar were big names in the relatively early stages of American Musical Theatre, two were born in Austria-Hungary, one in Dublin, but all learned their craft in Vienna, and, though the father of American Musical Theatre is considered to be George M. Cohan, who was nothing, if not a Yankee Doodle Dandy--

The point being that musical theatre and doo wop were products of a place and time and had more to do with that than any remote roots--


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