The Grand Central Echoes join the next-generation heirs to the Del Vikings and others for a Saturday night streetcorner serenade at Middletown Arts Center. (Photo courtesy Classic Urban Harmony)
For fans of that purebred strain of vocal soul known as Doo Wop, it’s become almost as much of a cause for discussion as keeping track of group personnel changes, recording dates, and other true-fan trivia. We’re talking here about the situation in which two or more competing groups each lay claim to the name of some classic hitmaking act — whether through the presence of a onetime member or by virtue of rights held by an outside party or promoter. It’s a sticking point that’s too often played out around courtrooms and conference tables, rather than on a battle-of-the-bands stage, where such matters might be more effectively resolved.
When the virtuoso voices transform Middletown Arts Center into an old-neighborhood hangout this Saturday night, the promoters (Coll Productions, teaming with Street Corner Sounds Society) will be spinning this record-hop in a way designed to put aside any “imposter band” acrimony — as A Tribute to Our Doo Wop Legends, in which a collection of veteran regional acts each pay harmonious homage to an earlier golden-age group who inspired them.
Toplining the 7 p.m. show is an act that can trace a genuine pedigree back to one of the pioneer groups of rock and roll’s formative years. As the offspring of lead singer Norman Wright — whose Del Vikings helped define the whole genre with their smash hit “Come Go With Me” — Anthony and Norman Wright Jr. have kept the family business swinging, performing officially as the Del Vikings, and on this occasion as Come Go With Me: A Tribute to the Sound of the Del Vikings.
They’ll be joined on the MAC bandstand by Blue Velvet, a group that’s made a specialty of saluting the smooth sounds of the Moonglows (“Sincerely,” “Ten Commandments of Love”) — as well as Sky’s the Limit, here delivering a tribute to “You Belong to Me” and other signature songs by the Duprees (themselves frequent visitors to venues in and around the Greater Red Bank Green).
A favorite on the region’s rejuvenated a cappella circuit, Re-member Then performs a special “without a net” set devoted to the Bronx-bred originals the Earls — while fellow a cappella aces Grand Central Echoes honor the two New York City bands whose legendary street-corner singing battles inspired one of the best-regarded doo wop albums of all time, The Paragons Meet The Jesters.
“Sally G” of the Street Corner Sounds Society emcees the concert, preceded at 5:30 by a special pre-show reception featuring a buffet Italian dinner. Reserve tickets ($37.95 for reception and show) by calling (732) 706-4100.