Yet many of their recordings are oldies standards today. Cita, and the street singer remembered only as Skillum-hit their harmonies on th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Early in Dicey Galloway went uptown to find a piano player who could work with the Harps and ran into the th Street Skylarks. In the midst of the Skylarks was Raoul Cita, a piano player, songwriter, arranger, baritone, and exactly the man the Harps needed.
Then in late came the big test. They felt ready for that equalizer of men and boys, the Apollo amateur night contest. The Skylarks had tried it Down To The Waterline - Dire Straits - Live In The 80s and had been booed off the stage.
Willie remembered: he Bunny Paul With The Harptones - Ill Never Tell been in the audience at the time. But this night would be different. If not for a twist of fate, many of the great Harptones recordings might have wound up on MGM. They were to reconvene with him later in a hallway away from the Apollo crowd, but while singing in the hall they met Leo Rogers of Bruce Records. He took them to his partners, Morty Craft and Monte Bruce, who loved their sound.
In December the song they had sung at the Apollo became their first single. In January the first of the Cita-penned masterpieces came out. Only three musicians, Don Gardner guitarJimmy Smith organand Al Cass saxwere on the session M.I.A. - The Charlie Daniels Band - Me And The Boys Bruce tried to cut 10 sides one after the other to avoid a midnight January 1,musicians strike, and the other players had walked out.
The 22 tries were not for the song itself but for the whistling intro and exit done over a modified boogie-woogie piano. It gathered enough momentum to make the pop charts on September 18,reaching number The Harptones did a number of backup sessions over the years.
In September they played another historic gig of their many one-nighters and package shows. It lost momentum due to a Georgia Gibbs song with lyric similarities. Winfield wails again and the group is with him all the way.
This one should spin and spin. Their tight harmony on the verses with part of the Raoul Cita chorus on the top actually the Joytones and Lyrics were the chorus, in this case Joytones Lynn Middleton Daniel and Vickie Burgess made this a jazz harmony jubilee.
The ending had unison voices weaving upward until they broke into a full blown harmony finale. Watching their acrobatics in their cream colored suits one wondered how they could sing at all. The full tenor harmonies descending like Bunny Paul With The Harptones - Ill Never Tell cascading waterfall were truly memorable. He died soon after, and the group never could replace him. Side could easily take off.
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