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Doo Wop 50 ( Volumes 1 & 2 ) - DVD

As Seen Recently On The PBS TV Specials

Double Length DVD (Full Screen

Run Time - Over 2 hours (140 minutes) -  38 songs

! BRAND New  in the Shrink Wrap !

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This DVD was recorded May 11, and May 12, 1999 at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania showcasing some of the great Original Vocal groups from the 1950s and early 1960s as they sang their hits from the sensational Doo Wop Era !

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First Some Important Background :

This footage was originally aired nationwide on PBS and commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of doo wop. From The Platters to the Cleftones to the Flamingos, DOO WOP 50 brings back the greatest artists to perform their most memorable hits once more. Filmed live at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, this celebratory two-evening gala was hosted by singer Jerry Butler.

Celebrate vocal magic as the greatest doo-wop performers of all time reunite for a concert 50 years in the making. Nothing beats the Platters (Only You), the Penguins (Earth Angel), the Marcels (Blue Moon), the Flamingos (I Only Have Eyes for You), and the Capris (There's a Moon Out Tonight), to name just a few of the headliners. Relive the top hits of the Fifties and Sixties in this unforgettable trip down Memory Lane!

 

Live Concert Synopsis :

  In this televised concert, vocal groups who popularized the 'doo-wop' style sing their greatest hits. Many of the groups, and many of their members, are the originals from the 1950s and 1960s. Featured artists and groups include: the Platters, the Del Vikings, the Skyliners, the Penguins, Gene Chandler (the "Duke of Earl"), Johnny Maestro and Brooklyn Bridge, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, the Cleftones, the Capris, the Marcels (all original members), Eugene Pitt and the Jive Five, Speedo and the Cadillacs, Earl Lewis and the Channels, Arlene Smith and the Chantels, the Moonglows, the Harptones, the Flamingos, and more.

 

VOLUME 1 ******************************
  • Only You  - THE PLATTERS
  • Great Pretender - THE PLATTERS
  • Come Go With Me - DEL-VIKINGS
  • Since I Don't Have You - JIMMY BEAUMONT AND THE SKYLINERS
  • This I Swear - JIMMY BEAUMONT AND THE SKYLINERS
  • Earth Angels - THE PENGUINS
  • Duke Of Earl - GENE CHANDLER AND PURE GOLD
  • 16 Candles - JOHNNY MAESTRO and THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
  • Worst That Coule Happen - JOHNNY MAESTRO and The BROOKLYN BRIDGE
  • Long Lonely Nights - LEE ANDREWS AND THE HEARTS
  • Little Girl of Mine - THE CLEFTONES
  • Heart and Soul -  THE CLEFTONES
  • There's A Moon Out Tonigt - THE CAPRIS
  • What Time Is It - JIVE FIVE
  • Just To Be With You - THE LEGENDS OF DOO WOP
  • Oh Rosemarie - THE LEGENDS OF DOO WOP
  • Guardian Angel - THE LEGEND OF DOO WOP
  •   That's My Desire - EARL LEWIS AND THE CHANNELS
  • The Closer You Are - EARL LEWIS AND THE CHANNELS

  VOLUME 2 ******************************

  • Speedo - THE CADILLACS
  • Zoom - THE CADILLACS
  • Gloria - THE CADILLACS
  • Unchained Melody - GOLDEN GROUP MEMORIES
  • Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) - GOLDEN GROUP MEMORIES
  • Look In My Eyes - THE CHANTELS
  • Maybe - ARLENE SMITH with THE CHANTELS
  • Sincerely - HARVEY AND THE MOONGLOWS
  • Ten Commandments Of Love  - HARVEY AND THE MOONGLOWS
  • For Your Precious Love - JERRY BUTLER AND THE PURE GOLD
  • Sunday Kind Of Love - THE HARPTONES
  • Life Is But A Dream - THE HARPTONES
  • I Only Have Eyes For You - THE FLAMINGOS
  • Lovers Never Say Goodbye - THE FLAMINGOS
  • Stormy Weather - THE SPANIELS
  • Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight - THE SPANIELS and all performers
  • Gloria Medley - THE CADILLACS, THE LEGENDS OF DOO WOP featuring JIMMY GALLAGHER, GOLDEN GROUP MEMORIES AND featuring VITO BALSAMO, EARL LEWIS AND THE CHANNELS

Editorial and Audience Reviews

Taped during a 1999 tribute in Pittsburgh, this straightforward, live review honors rock 'n' roll's '50s and early '60s legacy of vocal groups. For oldies fans hoping to bask in nostalgia, the caliber of the hits and the inclusion of most of the groups originally associated with the recorded hits make Doo Wop at 50 a satisfying stroll down memory lane. In light of the focal importance of the songs, rather than the singers, for the majority of listeners the program's choice of material will be sufficient reason to watch, as underscored by the success of PBS's broadcast of the complete concert.

Veteran soul stylist Jerry Butler, who hosts the show, is himself a legitimate bridge between the street corner symphonies of the '50s and the more sophisticated urban pop and soul that succeeded them. Butler shepherds a lineup including current editions of the Platters, the Del-Vikings, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, the Penguins, the Cadillacs, the Moonglows, the Flamingos, and other fondly remembered groups. A competent if not exactly inspired revue band accompanies all the acts, taped performing on a set decorated with oversized portraits of '50s icons like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, with a few vintage hot rods parked alongside to hammer home the nostalgic thrust of the night.

More impassioned doo-wop fans and rock historians, however, will be a tougher sell. If the groups indeed carry the names associated with the hits, many feature reconstituted lineups with few of the members actually heard on the original singles, a practice that can be traced back to the '60s (as with the Platters). Alternatively, more authentic lineups, like The Marcels (heard performing their galloping version of "Blue Moon" for the first time in decades), reflect their advancing years in rough vocal edges or arrangements transposed to lower keys. Given the show's inspiration (Rhino's exemplary Doo Wop Box anthologies, which unearthed both big hits and forgotten gems and placed the music and performers in a rich historical context), it would have been intriguing to provide some documentary context. --Sam Sutherland

Listen With Your Heart, April 21, 2002

Reviewer: Lawrence Curcio (West View, Pennsylvania United States)    
Some background on this tape, made in Pittsburgh, by a resident: It seems that some time back, the local PBS station had a Doo Wop show for its fund drive. The most return anyone had hoped for was on the order of $10,000, but Doo Wop pulled in 11 times that. The producer of the show, a remarkably young fellow named T. J. Lubinsky, must have received the green light to produce more Doo Wop stuff, and to distribute it nationally to PBS stations wishing to broaden their contributing demographic. Lubinsky did an admirable job. Whereas the first attempt had consisted of some (variably engineered) in-studio stuff, and some borrowed video, subsequent shows were staged in a grand theater (The Benedum Center), which was required to house a good portion of Pittsburgh's ample aging, Doo Wop-loving population.

Some of the voices on the tape have, of course, faded. More remarkable are the ones that have not. On this score, Johnny Maestro stands out. He delivers an impressive - nay amazing performance. Jerry Butler also delivered - but mostly as a master of ceremonies. His singing was on-key, but let's face it, he could never keep the beat very well. The Del Vikings sound just like they always did, even though they are not all there anymore. The Cleftones were wonderfully entertaining, and seemed to be having a good deal of fun. The Moonglows were excellent, even though the televised arrangements both had Harvey Fuqua as lead singer. Harvey is great as a songwriter and as a manager, but he is far from the group's strongest voice. Fuqua came through, though, and the group's signature blow harmony was intact.

There are some special moments, like a gracious speech given by Herbie Cox, the lead singer of the Cleftones, thanking the producers and expressing respect for the groups with which the Cleftones appeared. The reunion of the Chantels with their former lead singer, Arlene Smith, was moving (if perhaps a trifle overdone). This was also one of the very last appearances for the Flamingos before Jake Carey passed on, and even though they only hinted at their former celestial harmonies, the hint was the more precious as a last glimpse.

Speedo of the Cadillacs doing his steps and strut was also memorable - particularly for yours truly. Ya see, I came to Pittsburgh in 1989 to go to graduate school. My choice of cities was made, in part, because of the city's Doo Wop tradition. Years later, I watched this tape, and there, as Speedo strutted through the audience, was my old adviser - who was standing up, grinning from ear to ear, and clapping in time to the music. It's a side of him I never saw before, and now I have it on tape! (He'll never live it down!)

Less memorable were Lee Andrews, and also The Capris. Jimmy Gallagher, who really can still sing, was painfully off-key that particular night. Earl Lewis and the Channels could easily have been a high point, but Lewis was evidently more interested in showing off than he was in contributing to the collective effort. The tape transcends these things, though, and the lower points have the ironic effect of making the good stuff seem even better.

To anyone who remembers the racial tension of the 50's/60's, and the controversy about black music and white covers, it is gratifying to see black and white performers on the same stage and even in the same groups. The Del Vikings, a group out of the Air Force, were always this way. (Johnny Maestro's original group, The Crests, were too.) One of the new reorganized groups consisted of members from Vito and the Salutations, The Impalas, and The Teenagers. The equally mixed audience, now allowed to listen to music simultaneously in the same theater, approved. Everybody is finally on good terms. There! That wasn't so hard, was it?

One last note: A number of reviewers, here and elsewhere, commented on the quality of the unnamed group who backed up Jerry Butler and Gene Chandler. They are fine indeed. Some of their members were also playing in the orchestra, and if they are credited anywhere, I haven't been able to find the place. Even Jerry Butler didn't know their name, and he was on stage with them. They are from a larger local Pittsburgh group named, PURE GOLD, and if you are ever out this way, they will probably be playing somewhere. They put on quite a show. Wish I could name the graying Sax player in the tux. He looked like he should be playing classical music, but his rock 'n roll wailing was... perfect.

Taken for what it is, the tape is also perfect. Mostly it's a bunch of old guys (and some old ladies) trying to sing. If you listen to them with your ears, you will find points to criticize. If you have a heart for this music, though, you will listen with that. It's the very best way to appreciate this tape. I give it all the stars.

A must-have for music lovers , December 2, 2003
Reviewer: A viewer
Watching Doo Wop 50 is like sitting down and eating an old fashioned banana split or hot fudge sundae... You remember what it was like, but you'd forgotten how good it really is!!

Not only is the music still pure and simple, but the class and sophistication used to tell the tales of love lost and found makes hearing it just that much better.

Many of the groups featured on this DVD actually sound more mature and better than when they originally recorded. On the other hand, it brings a tear to your heart to hear Jimmy Beaumont struggle to pour his soul into "Since I Don't Have You."

I'm not a DVD fanatic--far from it, but I bought this one simply to hear and see many of my favorite groups perform one last time. Many of these groups will never be seen again, and it's too bad that they weren't given the forum to perform extended sets. Still, where else will you see (and hear) the Spaniels sing "Stormy Weather", the Jive Five with Earl Pitts sing "What Time Is It?", or the Marcels sing "Blue Moon"?

You don't need the DVD to hear the music--God knows you can drop into any discount store and find a compliation of most of this music; but it's worth the few extra bucks to see the creased pants, the shining shoes, the hand gestures, and the appreciation these groups have for people that love their music.

It's not grunge---it's not hip hop or country rock. It was a period of time that many can only appreciate because they've been there. Sit back and take bite out of that sundae and savor how good it is...one more time.

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