They’re most often categorized as “oldies” – making them all too often the purview of know-it-all collectors, aging man-cave troglodytes, or that guy in the track suit who wouldn’t cut you a break on that scratched-up single by the Jive Five.
But look past all that and you’ll discover that the slow-dance masterpieces of the doo-wop years – sublime slices of streetcorner soul, in an era of barely restrained passions – can still do the job, some 60 summers after they first blared out of AM radios in the neighborhood candy store or someone’s Dad’s borrowed Desoto.
On Friday night, several of the form’s foremost practitioners assemble on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a pop-idol package presented as “Stars of Rock and Roll.”
Scheduled for 7:30 p.m., the concert boasts the Basie return of perennial Garden State favorites with a multi-generational fanbase: Jersey City’s own Duprees, whose catalog spotlights the harmonious “My Own True Love,” “Have You Heard” and their finest three minutes on record, that travelogue pledge of undying love “You Belong to Me.”
Also topping the bill are Jimmy Beaumont & the Skyliners, the co-ed combo of smooth singers (still fronted by their original lead vocalist) whose history is highlighted by the mini-epic “Since I Don’t Have You” – a mini-epic that’s been covered by everyone from Frankie Valli to Guns N’ Roses.
There’s more in store, including Charlie Thomas’s version of the immortal Drifters, the Chiffons (“He’s So Fine”), LaLa Brooks (who originally fronted Phil Spector’s Crystals for hits like “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me”) and next-gen acappella by Classic Sounds.
As the event producers point out, the lineup is subject to change (the previously announced Kid Kyle has been rescheduled to a December date), so call the venue box office for day-of-show updates – and take it here for tickets ($45 – $60).