Information on these pages is provided for the purpose of promoting greater understanding and appreciation for vocal group harmony. Copyright 1998-2012. All Rights Reserved. Property of Nikki Gustafson & Jim Dunn. Not to be duplicated, reproduced or otherwise used without permission.
updated - 6/21/2012
The Bronx was a major hub for rhythm and blues vocal group harmony music that is near and dear to us. As such, it gave birth to many fine vocal groups. This section will feature some of these groups from the Bronx, and will center around our interaction with some of their members who are still singing today .
To Listen to songs by the groups in Real Audio click "Bronx" Special
Bill Lindsay, Arthur Crier, Freddie Barksdale, and Waldo Champen are 4 wonderful gentlemen who have a wide array of talent and recordings. We will present some of the groups these fellows lent their talents to and highlight some of their recordings. Lets start with:
Arthur devoted his time and talents to many groups. His recording career began in 1953 with the Chimes ,aka the 5 Chimes, on Royal Roost and Betta. He is heard on "Dearest Darling" b/w "A Fool Was I" and "Rosemarie" b/w "Never Love Another". Members included Arthur, Gary Morrison, John Murray, and Gene Redd. Both of these records were originally released on 78's only, but were later reproduced as 45's.
By 1956, we find Arthur joining Lillian Leach & the Mellows on their Celeste recording of Im Yours b/w Sweet Lorraine and My Darling b/w Lucky Guy". 1957 saw a move to the Candlelight label for the group and their release of Moon of Silver b/w Youve Gone. (Note it shows Lillian Lee on the label) Farewell, Farewell, Farewell and No More Loneliness was also recorded for Celeste with the Mellows backing Carl Spencer
( l-r Eugene Tompkins-Sammy Fain, Lillian Leach, Arthur Crier circa 1986)
As the 50's gave way to the 60's, Arthur continued to perform, providing uncredited backup to various artists such as Curtis Lee on "Pretty Little Angel Eyes". He also recorded with several of his own groups on a variety of labels.
In 1960 , Arthur was part of Little Guy And The Giants who recorded Its You b/w "So Young" on the Lawn label .
(scan is of a later repro of the original Lawn disc; thus the Halos reference on the label)
1960 also saw him recording the novelty number "Alley Oop" as part of the Prehistorics on Edsel 779.
In 1961 Arthur, was part of the Halos who gave us the great novelty number Nag b/w Copy Cat on 7 Arts 709, the first of two by the group. Using the name Craftys, they recorded "L-O-V-E" b/w "Heartbreaking World" also on 7 Arts 708.
In 1962 on 7 Arts 720, the Halos released "Come On" b/w "What'd I Say".That same year the Halos were also on Trans-Atlas for one record, covering Nathaniel Mayer's Village of Love b/w Mean Old World. And in 1962 , on the Elmor label, once again as the Craftys they released I Went to A Party b/w Zoom Zoom Zoom. (The Halos on Congress are not connected to Arthur's group.)
Until his passing in July 2004, Arthur performed as a member of the Morrisania Revue (see below). He had also been on Public Access TV in the Bronx as the co-host of "Doo-Wop Is Alive". For more on Arthur Crier, please see our "In Memoriam" page.
Next we have Freddie Barksdale, who was best known for his wonderful bass work with the Solitaires. Replacing Pat Gaston, the original bass for the Solitaires, Freddie's deep bass voice figured prominently on many of the groups later recordings, including : "Embraceable You", "Nothing Like A Little Love", "Please Kiss this Letter", "Give Me One More Chance", "Light A Candle in the Chapel", "Thrill of Love", "Round Goes My Heart", "How Long", "Come Back My Love", and their #1 hit "Walking Along".
He also can be heard on the second version of Please Remember My Heart b/w "Big Mary's House", which was issued on Old Town in 1958, and featured Milton Love on lead.
Before the Solitaires, Freddie first recorded with the New Yorkers 5 on Danice for their 1955 release of Gloria My Darling b/w Cha Cha Baby. Freddie also did bass on Never Give Up Hope and Are you Looking for a Sweetheart in 1955 with the Crickets (see Bill Lindsay groups) on the Jay Dee label.
6/23/93 UGHA Show
(l-r Freddie Barksdale, George Magnezid, Robbie Mansfield, Milton Love)
Freddie later recorded with the Ray Brewster' Cadillacs group in 1964 for the Arctic label on Fool b/w The Right Kind of Love. Freddie is now performing once again with the Solitaires along with Milton Love, George Magnezid (Wrens) and Robbie Mansfield. If you are interested in booking the Solitaires you can send Freddie an e-mail by clicking Solitaires@prodigy.com
Waldo Champen is a man of many names and many groups! He is sometimes known as Waldo and sometimes as Champ Rallow. But regardless of which name he is being called, Waldo is a great talent who lent his singing and songwriting abilities to a number of Bronx aggregations. He can be heard as part of the Bachelors on Earl, a group which evolved out of Dean Barlow's Crickets ( see photo above). He fronted the group on the 1955 recording of the latin flavored "Dolores", a song which he co-wrote with Bill Lindsay. By 1957, the Bachelors were no more, but in their place had sprung up the Montereys including Waldo, Bill Lindsay, Dean Barlow and Ed "Sonny" Jordan. A new label also figured in the picture, with the group releasing "Dearest One" b/w "Through The Years". "Angel" b/w "Tell Me Why" were also recorded for Onyx but stayed in the can until the 70's.
1957 must have been a busy year for Waldo, because during that year he also performed and recorded as a member of the 2nd Cadillacs group. The original group had splintered in two, with J.R.Bailey leaving to form his own unit. This Cadillacs group consisted of Waldo, J.R. Bailey, Bill Lindsay and Bobby Spencer and released one single "My Girlfriend" b/w "Broken Heart". Waldo, normally a tenor, can be heard showing his versatility doing bass on "My Girlfriend". And to quote Arthur Crier, "It wasn't just some jive bass". Unfortunately this particular group of Cadillacs was short lived, but was around long enough to have their picture appear on the cover of "The Crazy Cadillacs" LP, an album which contained all tracks by the earlier group. Interestingly, and also no doubt quite confusing to the public, during 1957 you had two different Cadillacs groups both recording on Josie.
(front l-r Waldo Champen, Bill Lindsay, Bobby Spencer, Top- J.R. Bailey)
Hardly missing a beat, 1958 saw Waldo with another group from the Bronx, the 5 Delights .The group members were Waldo, Ed "Sonny" Jordan, Danny Levy, Eddie Stokes and Ray Figueroa.
(l-r Danny Levy, Eddie Stokes, Ray Figueroa, Waldo Champen, Sonny Jordan-1959 )
picture courtesy of Lowell Lavin
The group had two great releases, the first in 1958 "There'll Be No Goodbye" b/w "Okey Dokey Mama" on Newport . 1959 saw the release of "The Thought Of Losing You" b/w "That Love Affair" on Abel. With a name change to the Moodmakers they released " Dream A Dream " b/w their version of "Dolores" on Bambi in 1961. On all these recordings the group displayed smooth and intricate harmonies.
Recently, a CD "Best Of The Bronx Acapella" was released that contained acapella rehearsal material taken from a May 1960 practice session tape. It gives ample testimony to the high level of talent in this group.
Waldo still loves to sing and uses his talents today as a member of the
For more Bronx group information,
Go To: Bronx Groups - continued
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