By Sally Deering
Acappella groups – four or five guys singing harmonies with no back-up band – bridged the gap between 1950s Doo-Wop and 1960s rock and roll, but until now, little has been written about that time in music history when teenagers harmonized on street corners, inside subways and underneath train trestles searching for the echo that gave them their sound.
Abraham Santiago grew up in Jersey City and remembers the days he sang tenor in The Concepts, a street corner acappella group of fellow students from Ferris High School in Jersey City. Santiago, who now resides in Chicago, took his memories of those days and collaborated on a book and documentary about the acappella era with Steve Dunham, an acappella enthusiast and music producer in Las Vegas with a mammoth acappella record collection and a passion for singing street harmonies.
“Acappella Street Corner Vocal Groups: A Brief History and Discography of 1960s Singing Groups,” (Mellow Sound Press, Chicago,167 pgs;) chronicles every street corner acappella group ever recorded from that time like Joanne and the Heartaches, the Royal Counts and the Persuasions; and the record companies that produced their songs, like Snowflake, Relic and Catamount. The documentary, “Street Corner Harmony: The Missing Link in Rock and Roll History,” narrated by record producer Wayne Stierle delves deeper into the singers’ lives and the genre of acappella music. Both the book and the documentary are touchstones to a bygone era, the time between the 1950s and 1960s, when musical tastes shifted to British rockers like The Beatles and short-haired teens singing acappella became as old-hat as the Hi-Fi record players that spun their songs. Continue reading Searching for the Echo-Book and Film Shine Light on 1960s Street Corner Acappella Groups