We love stories. We can read a book or have one read to us. Perhaps a story is online or viewable on the multiplicity of media available. Ultimately, the result of the creation of an authentic story is a treat for us all. Besides entertaining, a story can be informative. In addition, it can promote a business or a product. Whatever the purpose, the process is basically the same. In this post, the focus is on the process.
The Creation of a Story
The process of creating an authentic story requires intensive research and lots of writing. I’ve created several stories containing the required elements. In all four authentic story situations, there was access to primary sources and extensive research. Sometimes having access to primary sources is impossible. So when it does happen, it can be very special for both the writer and the reader.
Four Authentic Stories
The authentic stories here touch upon four different non-fiction topics:
• business-a multi-million dollar corporation that started in a janitor’s closet
• social issues-The Middle Class Poor Crisis, a serious situation that exists today
• creativity-a creative-organizational process called Knolling
• music-some very special musicians
Each of these stories is set up as a series of blog posts. To read each of them, click on their link. That will be the first post of the story. You will be able to read the additional posts from there.
The Story of A Corporation That Started In A Janitor’s Closet
This blog post is based upon my studies of architecture, my observations and understanding of a Cliff May House. Although his Mid Century Modern Rancho style homes were birthed in Southern California, this type of house sprouted up in the Denver, Colorado area as well. The following is my reaction essentially to his original Southern California work.
A CLIFF MAY HOUSE
“Once in a blue moon a designer comes along whose work literally manifests the voice of it landscape, its environment and its personality. The homes of Cliff May are exactly what I imagine a Southern California home should look and feel like. They are grand and glorious in their exuberance, capturing the magnificent, warm and sunny weather they share. Yet they are not pretentious or pompous. They do not attempt to mimic anything that came before them. They are exactly as they should be, to me, and are as indigenous as homes in the Los Angeles area could be. BRAVO Clifford May and thank you.”
NEUTRA, SCHINDLER AND FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
THE ARTS & CRAFTS MOVEMENT
Many other prestigious architects made their imprint on the sunny terrain of Hollywoodland and environs. Most of them did not speak ‘Southern California’ as their primary design vernacular. The work of Richard Neutra and Adolph Schindler, emigres from Austria, had an International Style accent. A Frank Lloyd Wright home was always a give away due to its repetitive pattern or modular blocks that sought to create modular building block homes more than focus on its surroundings. As magnificent as the work of the mid-West transplant Greene Brothers was, their Gamble House masterpiece spoke Arts & Crafts movement with a slightly Japanese accent.
CHARLES AND RAY EAMES
Charles and Ray Eames created furniture that spoke the same design language as May’s homes. In fact, their work can be seen in pictures of his houses. But the Eames Style of architecture was stiff and geometric devoid of a vivacious cheer or embrace to the Southern California sun. There are plenty of Spanish, adobe style, grand and simple homes. But they paid tribute to their ancestors. They were not original.
Other than May, there is one other architect that comes to mind, Harry Seidler, another European emigre. He had a transformational impact on the architecture of his time and place. He spent a brief time teaching and imprinting his mark on the United States. But he ultimately settled in Australia changing Sydney’s landscape forever. I suspect he found a receptive environment that was as compatible with his authentic style as May’s was with Southern California.
Architectural design can be a magnificent obsession. The voice of an architect can change over the years. In fact, it is believed that most architects do not even ‘hit their stride’ until their later years. This is what made Zava Hadid so unique . Zava had a volume of outstanding work to her name before her untimely death recently at 65. Although there may be exceptions to the general conclusions of this blog post, I stand firm in my conclusion that Cliff May sought to bring joy and comfort to the living accommodations of the ‘hoi polloi’ rather than the elite as many other architects tend to do. It could be said that May did, with greater aesthetics, for Southern California and Denver, Colorado what Levitt did for Long Island, New York.
SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Documentation of information and photographs are available upon request.
The Musical Boys From Brooklyn
The Brooklyn music boys were the eight young men who comprised The Three Chuckles and Cirino & The Bowties. Some of them had been friends since childhood playing sandlot baseball. Some met in local bowling alleys, a venue of their day for playing live music dates. It wasn’t until Alan Freed, a Cleveland, Ohio based Disc Jockey turned music promoter, came to New York City that a concert style venue became available for these up-and-coming music groups he described as singing, ‘Rock’n’Roll’. 
The Three Chuckles originally consisted of Tommy Romano, Russ Gilberto and Phil Benti. When the group started to travel to perform, accordion and keyboard player, Benti dropped out. He preferred to stay home with his wife and children. The very young Teddy Randazzo, a talented accordion player who was 15 at the time, replaced him. Within a year, his singing talent elevated him to lead singer of the group. He was more than 10 years younger than the other members of The Chuckles.
Their first hit, Runaround, happened to be written by Cirino Colacrai. Cirino was Teddy’s childhood friend. Sometimes known as Sereno or Serino, he had such a good voice that he was encouraged to form a group of his own. He created Cirino and The Bowties. The group included Cirino Colacrai (aka Del Serino)(Lead), John Granada, Jimmy Piro and Vince “Diddy” Cipoldo.
Biography of a Hit Song and a Movie Appearance
In their repertoire when touring, The Three Chuckles, sang “Runaround”, the song that Del Serino’s had written. “Runaround” became a huge hit and was eventually purchased by RCA from Serino. RCA then signed Serino as a staff writer for their regent label; here he wrote “Foolishly”. Because Serino sang and performed his demo so well, he was asked to form his own group to sing some of his tunes. Both groups appeared in the Alan Freed movie ‘Rock, Rock, Rock’ in 1956. 
The Bowties were eventually heard by Jack Hook and Teddy Reig of Royal Roost Records, who signed them and changed Serino’s name to “Cirino” and had him record “Rosemarie”. They recorded four singles in 1955-56 for Royal Roost Records. The Bowties had some other successes besides the movie both groups appeared in.They were on the Ed Sullivan and Jack Paar Shows. “In the late 1950s, the Bowties seemed to slowly break up, as they lost their contract to Roost, and Cirino followed other, more songwriting-type, projects. Cirino’s songs were featured in the movies “Jamboree” and “Country Music Holiday” during the late-’50s, such as “Toreador,” “I Don’t Like You No More,” and “Goodbye My Darlin’.” During the 1960s, Cirino continued to write more pop songs, some of them moderate hits”. Cirino also bought a luncheonette in Redhook, Brooklyn which became a local attraction. Cirino’s musical buddies would often stop by to the delight of the neighborhood kids.
In a similar manner, Teddy Randazzo moved on, leaving The Three Chuckles. He went out on his own. Over the years, he became extremely successful. He starred in several other teen idol movies, sang, wrote over 650 songs, and produced as well as arranged his music for other singers who had huge hits from his music. All of this elevated him to a level of professional accomplishment that few people ever experience. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007. 
Totally by happenstance, or was it, on the evening on April 25, 2016 when this blog post was completed, the main Turner Classic Movies entertainment of the evening was the 1956 movie, Rock, Rock, Rock! Write it and they will come . . . .
Posted on Twitter by Pharrell Williams @Pharrell 
Zaha Hadid, the first woman architect to win the coveted Pritzker Prize, has died. In a career cut short by a heart attack at age 65, she had come to be known as the ‘Queen of the Curve', architecture’s “badass”, the creator of starchitecture and a leading luminary. Primarily an world renowned Iraqi-born British architect, she applied her curvaceous sense of design to other design disciplines such as jewelry, creating magnificent pieces for Georg Jensen’s Baselworld.
“Zaha Hadid’s new collection for Danish design house Georg Jensen, launched this week at Baselworld, bucks the trend somewhat. Her architectural forms are, of course, inherently sensuous, and so it is with the sweeps and curves of her jewels. But the real difference here is that she has devised a collection from a jeweller’s standpoint, considering, first and foremost, how the pieces might be worn.” 
“Dame Zaha Hadid, the Baghdad-born British designer has sadly passed away at the premature age of 65. The first female Pritzker Prize-winner architect was commissioned around the world to create masterpieces including the London Olympic aquatic centre, and Messner Mountain Museum Corones. Being a woman and Muslim she didn’t have it easy but it was her strength and lack of fucks to give that made her a true legend. We remember Hadid’s five traits that turned her into a star architect for all the right reasons.”
 From Sleek Magazine, read the five traits at the Resource link.
‘Larger-than-life producer, rapper, fashion designer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams’ interest in everything from art and music to architecture and space travel is revealed in these pop images. Showcasing moments at home in Miami and Virginia, highlights from tours to Tokyo and Hong Kong, and collaborations with artists like Takashi Murakami and brands such as Louis Vuitton, these photographs are featured in Pharrell: Places and Spaces I’ve Been, a new book created by the modern polymath and published by Rizzoli.
Recently spotted in the studio with Jay-Z and Frank Ocean, the 39-year-old’s first foray into editing checks in with old friends like NIGO® and Chad and Shae from N.E.R.D., and spotlights Karl Lagerfeld modeling Billionaire Boys Club as well as shots of Pharrell posing with the likes of Karolina Kurkova and Catherine Deneuve in shoots for Vogue, Citizen K and GQ. Other names like NASA and Terry Richardson pepper the credits of this illustrated autobiography that testifies to Pharrell’s penchant for mixing things up. “I have never believed in boundaries,” he explains. “If I was forced to work within them I would already be in a mad house. It’s really not in my DNA.” In this select excerpt, the man of the hour sits down with Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid to talk radical design and future collaborations.’
Read the interview by clicking on the resource link.
TOO SOON TO SAY GOODBYE
The New Yorker Magazine: Zaha Hadid Was Just Getting Started
I would have liked to see what Zaha was on the precipice of beginning, what ideas she would have conceived of next to fill ‘spaces’ and mould matter with her extraordinary energy. Some, I am sure, would have wished to spend more time with her. I would love to be able to add her to the list of other world famous architects I have met. But none of this will be.
It was Zaha Hadid’s time to go and it’s our time to say goodbye. She’s not going to be remembered or judged by the beginning of new heights of even more daring and extraordinary accomplishments. As the rest of us will be, she was taken in God’s time rather than in a plan of our own making. In spite of this, she became an award winning architect, a designer, a painter, even a “badass” and lived the kind of life I would have liked to have. For her, it was a life filled with a truly brilliant career.
SOURCES, RESOURCES and ADDITIONAL READING MATERIAL
Expressions of Creative Passion: Part Two
HEART & SOUL AS EXEMPLIFIED BY CLARENCE COLLINS AND
The reason I have put these two artists in one post is because they embody something very special. Together, they art ‘Heart and Soul’.
Clarence Collins is the heart of any musical project he is involved in. That is his nature. He was both the founder and the heart of ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials. Many people do not even know that it was he and not Jerome “Little Anthony” Gourdine who was their founder. When it came time for him to end his years of touring with the group, he settled down in Las Vegas. This is where his path crossed the serendipitous path of Keith Galliher, Jr. and how Keith came to know about Teddy Randazzo’s prolific songwriting genius.
I have written about Clarence at greater length in several of my earlier posts. Suffice to say, Clarence shared his love of Teddy’s songs with Keith. They are all a musical match made in heaven. Today Clarence and Keith are co-owners of Imperials Plus Records. As they say, the rest is history.
Aretha Franklin’s singing is like a fine wine that matures and tastes better with age. It was always superior. But now it is sublime. That is the comparison that must be made to Aretha Franklin who ‘brought down the house’ at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on December 29, 2015. The President was moved to tears and the audience jumped to their feet cheering. Compare this with an earlier performance of the same song, both below. There is no comparison. But then, I think that Aretha has never done a song badly.
WHAT IS CREATIVE PASSION? How can one define or describe it? I am writing my fourth blog post attempting to answer these questions. This clearly indicates two things. The first is my fascination with the topic CREATIVE PASSION and the second is the proliferation of information aka creative passion in American Music History between the 1920’s and the 1970’s.
EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVE PASSION: PART FOUR
SERENDIPITY OR FOLLOWING A SERENDIPITOUS PATH
AS EXEMPLIFIED BY KEITH GALLIHER JR. MUSIC
Keith Galliher Jr. has been a Las Vegas based litigation attorney for over forty years. About five years ago, he decided to record an Eric Clapton song, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ as a gift for his lovely wife Linda. He surprised her with it. She was moved to tears when she found out that he was singing it. That is the second element of serendipity in this post. The first serendipitous piece to this path began some years ago when Clarence Collins, founder and former member of Little Anthony & The Imperials became a client of The Galliher Law Firm. So when Keith starting singing, Clarence was the logical person to seek out to help him on his new path.
Clarence brought several crucial elements to their musical union. The first was Clarence’s own immense talent and musical history. The second was the relationships and connection he had in the music industry. Important questions had to be asked and answered.
What kind of music would suit Keith’s voice best? What songwriters did he feel passionate about singing? What ideas did Clarence have? The answer to these questions led to the next step on the serendipitous path, making a connection with the right music.
In the midst of this, Keith created a two-part radio show, Two Paths. One week featured some aspect of the legal profession. Alternate weeks featured his music. The show is one of many on the streaming audio network, America Matters Media. One of the owners is Eddie Floyd. He is also a host on Two Paths which can be heard on Fridays at 10am PST. As a correspondent on another show, A.M. News, I heard about Two Paths and started listening to it. I was fascinated by both features. I called in several times and soon became a familiar voice on it as well. I introduced myself to Clarence. As they got to know me, they realized I had a keen eye for research. I became their #AceDetective, commissioned with two Music Mystery Challenges. The second one had to do with the Randazzo family. In solving the mystery, I got to know Teddy Randazzo, Jr. rather well.
Although Teddy, Sr. had died several years before Keith started singing, Teddy Randazzo was someone Clarence knew well. He was intimately familiar with his music. Teddy had written some of the songs that were ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials’ biggest hits as well as hits for other artists. For example, Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop, Tears on My Pillow, Hurts So Bad, It’s Gonna’ Take a Miracle, I’m on The Outside Looking In, Song Without An End. Keith was a natural for these types of songs and so Imperials Plus Records was born.
By 2015, Keith had completed two full CDs of songs featuring various artists, ‘Love Songs For Linda’ and ‘Two Paths’. Some of them were written by Teddy. Some were not. Anyone who hears Teddy’s music falls in love with it. He wrote over 650 songs, was a singer in his own right and a teen movie idol as well.
Keith Galliher Jr. wanted to work with the music of this brilliantly talented man. He had started adapting some of Teddy’s music to his style. He has created an entire CD of only Teddy’s music calling it, ‘Teddy’s Songs’. That CD has just been released by Imperials Plus Records, the company belonging to Keith and Clarence. The final song, ‘Destiny’ was recorded with special technology to include Teddy’s voice. The name says it all. It has been and is the destiny of everyone accompanying Keith on this journey to experience the magic, the passion and the ‘evergreen’ or timeless quality that Teddy’s music has. It is truly due to Keith’s passion to follow a serendipitous path.
As mentioned in CREATIVE PASSION: PART ONE, there are many motivating factors that drive the creative passion within an artist. It is a challenge and an honor to have the opportunity to study, discover and identify them. It involves listening a great deal to the work of an artist, in this case, a singer, songwriter, producer and teen idol movie star. It also involves learning as much as possible about the artist from written research. If one is fortunate enough, there are primary research sources, as well. All of these elements exist in the case of our third example.
EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVE PASSION: PART THREE
TIMELESSNESS EXEMPLIFIED BY TEDDY RANDAZZO
Teddy was an extraordinarily talented young man who started as a teen idol. He starred in four movies including two Alan Freed Rock ‘n Roll movies. Throughout his life, and at various times, he was either primarily a singer, songwriter and/or music producer.
He began his singing career as backup in a group that combined comedy and song. He quickly moved up to lead singer of ‘The Three Chuckles’. He was electric and romantic at a microphone or in front of a camera. Despite both of those skills, he withdrew into the background focusing on songwriting and producing. He worked with some of the most popular groups in the 1950’s and 1960’s and beyond. He wrote some of the great hits for groups like ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials’. Among them was ‘Hurt So Bad’ that had great success sung by not only Little Anthony but also Linda Ronstadt. His songwriting hits included, ‘It’s Gonna Take A Miracle, ‘Tears on My Pillow’, “Goin’ Out of My Head”, and “Pretty Blue Eyes” in the 1960s. His songs were also sung by great crooners like Frank Sinatra, Steve Lawrence and many other big names in the music industry. He was driven to express his creative passion. Sharing his art with the world was more important to him than, who shared it, who sang it or who became famous because of it. It was not a short lived proposition. It was a labor of love that had timelessness sewn into its very fabric.
“Teddy Randazzo was never quite as visible as other New York-spawned rock ‘n’ roll talent of the 1950’s — to name a few, Dion was more of a star and for a lot longer, and the various members of Jay & The Americans enjoyed hits right to the outset of the 1970’s. But Randazzo had his day in the sun as a singer, and he also wrote hundreds of songs, and saw many dozens of recordings of the best of his work.”
The above quote from the YouTube comment about Teddy is shortsighted. In my opinion, he was extraordinarily talented as a singer. The fact that he did not experience the short lived singing fame that Dion or Jay and The Americans does not reflect a superior talent on their parts. In fact, I believe Teddy had more talent than all of his contemporaries. His focusing on writing rather than singing was to everyone’s benefit. Who remembers either Dion or Jay and The Americans now? Did they write hundreds of songs that other singers recorded, had and are still having success with singing today? Teddy Randazzo’s songs were sung by some of the greatest pop singers over decades and are sought after today. In fact, the tribute CD sung by Keith Galliher, Jr. has just being released.
“Born in New York City in 1935, he was lucky enough to grow up in a musical family, and by 15 was a good enough accordion player to turn professional, as a member of the group the Three Chuckles, who were in the market for a new keyboardman and singer — the singing took a little time to develop, with help from his decade-older fellow group members Tommy Romano and Russ Gilberto, but when the group started recording, it was the sides that Randazzo sang on that initially hit, and by 1955, at 17, he was the frontman for the group. They had a number one hit with “And The Angels Sing”, which had a rocking beat and brought them to the attention of deejay Alan Freed, who put the group into his first jukebox movie, Rock, Rock, Rock (shot in New York, in the Bronx, actually), but also gave Randazzo a solo spot.
When Teddy finished the movie, Randazzo had decided to go solo. “He continued recording for Vik Records, a unit of RCA Victor, and enjoyed a minor success in 1958 with “Little Serenade”, and made an appearance in Freed’s next movie, Mister Rock And Roll, as well as in the 20th Century-Fox CinemaScope color production The Girl Can’t Help It, among other movies. By 1960, he’d moved to ABC-Paramount, where he had another minor hit with “The Way Of A Clown”, and in 1963 he had another small hit with “Big Wide World” on the Colpix label.”
“But it was mostly as a songwriter and producer that Randazzo busied himself and made his real success in the music business; he wrote some 650 songs over the ensuing decades, and saw them recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick. “Pretty Blue Eyes”, authored with Bob Weinstein, was a number one hit for Steve Lawrence. But it was with Little Anthony & The Imperials that he had his longest success — in addition to producing the group, he authored “Going Out Of My Head”, “I’m On The Outside Looking In”, and “Hurt So Bad” (later covered by Linda Ronstadt), among other hits.
“Randazzo became less visible as the 1960’s wore on, and in the 1970’s was largely forgotten by all except oldies fans. He remained active as a songwriter and behind-the-scenes, and did the occasional live performance to keep his hand in, but by then he was earning a good income from his annual royalties. He busied himself in local production in both Florida and Hawaii, especially the latter, and reportedly enjoyed a very happy second marriage — his son from his first marriage, Teddy Randazzo Jr., has also had a successful music career. Randazzo died in his sleep in 2003.”
As I listen to the following song written by Teddy and sung by Frank Sinatra, I can’t help but feel that this is his good-bye song.The photos include those he worked with and those he was close to. I feel such sadness and such pain. But he will always be remembered, remembered for his songs. Anytime you hear one, it could have just been written. His songs are evergreen.
WHAT IS CREATIVE PASSION? How can one define or describe it? I am writing this blog post, and others to come, in an attempt to answer these questions. There are many types of expression of creative passion. For the sake of manageability, I am focusing on the art of music in this series. In addition to this discipline, I am narrowing my exploration to American Music History from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.
You are welcome to visit the above page, American Music History from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. There are obviously many other great periods and countries where creative passion lived within the soul of an artist and blossomed. But this is meant to be an introductory blog post to whet a reader’s appetite. Maybe one day there will be a book composed of chapters of these kinds of artists. But for now, we have a small feast of five. Let’s go to:
Expressions of Creative Passion: Part One
AS EXEMPLIFIED BY SISTER ROSETTA THARPE
A great example is one of my favorite singers who spanned many of the decades of this study. Her name was Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Click on her name for the link to Wikipedia about her. She is considered the ‘Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll. But if I were to ask most Rock ‘n Roll enthusiasts who she was, they would have no clue.
The above video is of Sister Rosetta singing, ‘Didn’t It Rain’ in her UK appearance as part of the American Folk Blues Festival that took place between 1963-1966. Click on the link for more information about this event. Suffice to say, a collection of the greatest living American musicians came to Europe to tour and introduce European audiences to American music. The European response was the British Invasion which to a great extend ‘copied’ the American music they had been introduced to.
Sister Tharpe is credited with inventing the guitar picking style of Elvis Presley and the music styles of many other musicians. But one can see how obscurely she is mentioned on the poster promoting this several year tour event.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s name is barely legible in the bottom right hand corner of the poster
“Born in Arkansas in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe began performing as a child with her mother. One of the first gospel artists to perform in both churches and secular clubs, she is credited with bringing gospel music into the mainstream in the 1930s and 1940s. She toured until her death in 1973.” Quoted from biography.com. She was recognized by the USPS, with a stamp that was issued in 1988 as part of the ‘Gospel’ series.
It is posted on the facebook page of Sister Rosetta & the Rosettes at the beginning of this post. The page exists primarily in memory to both Sister and the Rosettes. It is maintained by Jacquelyn (Jacki) Harris, the niece of one of the Rosettes, Erma Fitzgerald (later Patterson) who was a very talented singer, igniting the church going community with her passion. I would love to see it get many more ‘LIKES’
Essentially, Rosetta had faded away into obscurity. But the American Masters:PBS Special about her helped to revive interest and awareness. One wonders if she will ever get full, public credit for being the ‘Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll? I don’t think she has ever been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Was there a glass ceiling in the musical world when she was at her best? In any event, to those who know her music, she is unforgettable and undeniable as a creative genius. Thanks to author and biographer of Sister Rosetta, Gayle Ward, we know as much as we do about the ‘Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll.
Unfortunately, she died in poverty without the money for a gravestone. A memorial concert was held to raise the money for this beautiful stone she now has. January 11th has also been declared Rosetta Tharpe Day. That’s okay with me. I will listen to her music and watch her documentaries all day. Creative genius is no guarantee of eternal worldly riches or even a gravestone. But the love and respect for the creative geniuses can.
INTRODUCTION Degrees of Separation is a play on the words of the famous Broadway show that was made into a movie, Six Degrees of Separation. The playwright, John Guare illustrated how it is by six degrees of separation that everyone on the planet is connected. I am not sure that I agree. This blog post will explain why.
FIRST DEGREE: KEVIN
It all started with Kevin. I met Kevin J. Gillard on the Internet. He had developed a comprehensive marketing system using facebook pages and groups to enhance people’s ability to network and improve their businesses. It took me years to master his system. In the meantime, we became good friends. Besides inventing his own system, Kevin was quite good at discovering what other people were doing with social media.
He had found an online, streaming radio station, AmericaMatter.us that broadcast live around the world. He mentioned a particular show to me, A.M. News, unique in that it was correspondent driven. I jumped at the chance to sign on as a local correspondent. That was on February 10, 2015. I have listened to the three-hour, weekday morning show and been on the air almost every show since.
SECOND DEGREE: A.M. NEWS AND AMERICAMATTERS.US
Over time, I started listening to other shows on AmericaMatter.us. One show in particular caught my attention. It starred and is about, Keith Galliher, Jr., a Las Vegas attorney who realized after many years of practicing law that he also had a beautiful singing voice. Dedicated to pursuing both professions, he named his radio show, alternatively featuring law and music segments, Two Paths.
THIRD DEGREE: KEITH AND TWO PATHS
I started listening to Two Paths as often as possible. I got to know a bit about Keith and his unusual story. I also noticed, after a while, that whenever the show was about music, Keith would mention a man named Clarence. Clarence always seemed to be within earshot on the music shows. I became curious about him. Some of his story emerged on Two Paths. He was the founder and part of the very popular, Little Anthony & The Imperials group from the 1950’s and 60’s. But I did not know how he and Keith met. My curiosity was aroused. I could not imagine the catalytic connection.
FOURTH DEGREE: CLARENCE COLLINS
It turned out that Clarence has settled in Las Vegas. Keith’s law practice is in Las Vegas. Clarence Collins needed to consult with an attorney on a musical matter. He sought out the legal services of Keith Galliher. When the time came for Keith to take his step into the music world, who did he turn to for guidance, musical arrangement and production? He sought out none other than the ‘man of music’ himself, Clarence Collins.
Once I found out this connecting detail, I wanted to know more. I got permission to speak with Clarence on the phone and had a delightful conversation that lasted about an hour. During that time, I found out many things we had in common. There were the coincidences of both having lived in Brooklyn. He briefly worked for a butcher. My great-great grandfather was a butcher. That was enough connections for one day. But it was only the first of many connecting conversations to come.
FIFTH DEGREE: THE TWO BROTHERS
One Friday afternoon when my husband and I were listening to Keith’s music show, something was mentioned about ‘two brothers’. I only vaguely caught the gist of the conversation until I heard these words. I am paraphrasing. ‘We really have to find these brothers and we just know that Alison Gilbert can do it’. My husband and I turned to each other with our mouths dropped open. Before we could even recover to speak, the challenge was repeated. ‘We have been looking for these brothers for over a year and we just have to find them. We know that Alison Gilbert, our ‘Ace Detective’ can do it if anyone can’.
Somewhat in shock, I picked up the phone to call the radio station. But the show had just ended and they were no longer on the line. Since Keith calls in from his office in Las Vegas to do the show with Clarence, I realized I could call there directly. Keith was on a business call but Clarence was still there and available. So I was able to speak with him. I asked him what kind of challenge I had just been given? I needed a bit more information to live up to my reputation as an ‘Ace Detective’. Somehow that is what they decided I was or would be when I found these missing, mysterious brothers.
My questions ranged from were these ‘birth brothers’ or ‘brothers from the hood’? How did he know about them and what was the reason they needed to be found? The story goes something like this. Clarence knew their father, a man also in the music business. But Clarence could not remember his name or find the demo of the brothers’ songs that their dad had given Clarence. Clarence and Keith has searched high and low throughout music industry organizations including Halls of Fame, etc. But all they had were the names of two songs. ‘Good Times, Good Times’ was one of them. No one was able to direct them to resource archives or provide a clue.
So given the ‘father and two brothers’ challenge, I commenced to my sleuthing. By coincidence, in talking with my musical sister, I learned that the Library of Congress was a great resource for musical archives. So my next step was to call there. I was connected with the Music Dept. and after a few steps that required additional information from Clarence, I was able to locate a page in the Library of Congress musical archive with the name of the song, ‘Good Times, Good Times’. There were several gospel versions that I knew were not what the brothers had composed. But there was one that was copyrighted around the year that fit the brothers’ profile and could be their style of music.
So the next thing I did was click on the year link provided on the records. It brought me to a page. Without having final confirmation yet, I knew I had found all of them, Clarence’s contact, John Paul Fetta, their dad and his twin sons, JP (Jon Paul) and Rich, the two brothers.
I was also able to find a page for one of the brothers on facebook. JP lives in New York, north of NYC. I live in New York south of NYC. His phone number was on his page so I was able to call him, asked him a few questions and quickly confirmed that the year old mystery was indeed solved. I asked JP for his dad’s phone number in Las Vegas and excitedly called Clarence’s number to give him the good news. I left him a message. While I waited for him to call back, I had an initial interview with Jon Paul while he was driving to a business appointment.
SIXTH DEGREE: JOHN PAUL MOLFETTA, SR. AKA JOHN PAUL FETTA
I had secured the father’s phone number for Clarence. They both resided in Las Vegas. When Clarence called back, we were cheering with excitement. It has take me, their ‘Ace Detective’ about two hours to solve the mystery that they had not be able solve in a year. Clarence and the twins’ dad connected. The next thing I knew, two weeks later, Keith Galliher’s music show was dedicated to me and featured the two brothers. We all spoke on air and it was very exciting.
Rich and JP Molfetta have written and sung some extraordinary songs over the years. They had recording contracts with major music labels. But as family became a priority, they both went into the more financially stable business world. They still write and sing. In addition, Keith Galliher and Clarence Collins will be carrying on the Molfetta music legacy.
THE JOURNEY COMES FULL CIRCLE
Clarence Collins became famous at the tender age of 16 with the song, Tears on My Pillow. He had a long history as part of Little Anthony & the Imperials. When it was time to stop, he became part of Imperials Plus, Keith’s recording company. A journey of about 50 years brought Clarence full circle, writing music, recording music, arranging music and discovering talent for more music. Jerome Anthony Gourdine and the Imperials, Keith Galliher Jr. Music and Molfetta Music Productions are all contributors and beneficiaries of their serendipitous journey.
Is this journey six degrees of separation or layers of connections? Either way, it doesn’t matter. What is important is that it has happened. But personally, I prefer to think that we are not separated by degrees of a linear path but connected by layers of spontaneous bonds. And if you are on the same layer as someone, you will connect with them. Neither time, space nor circumstances can impede a process that is meant to be. You know it when it happens because you can feel it. That is why I am so strongly in favor of the concept of layers of connection.
Doo Wop music was popular when I was a young teenager
So the revival of Doo Wop is really special and precious to me. In case you did not know there is a revival of Doo Wop music or even know what Doo Wop music is, this blog post will educate, enlighten and entertain. I promise.
Without going into great depth, this Doo Wop post will focus on three pivotal people and one musical group involved in this revival. To focus on more would become encyclopedic. The four focal points will start with, Little Anthony & The Imperials.
Next is Clarence Collins who has the distinct honor of being not only the founder of this musical group but had a history with another group. When Anthony (nicknamed ‘Little Anthony’) came into the picture, the Imperials were born. Here’s Clarence’s own words about his story as only he can tell it.
Keith Galliher Jr. Singer and King of the Doo Wop Revival Keith Galliher Jr. is, in my opinion, the king of the revival of Doo Wop Music. His radio show, Two Paths, on America Matters Media reintroduced me to Doo Wop and resulted in my falling in love with Doo Wop all over again. He is also responsible for tying all of the above together. Without going into too much detail here, let me just say that Keith is an attorney. At some point in his career, he realized he could sing. He decided to take his talent seriously. He chose one of the most famous Little Anthony and the Imperials songs to record, Shimmy Shimmy Koko Bop.
As an attorney, Keith Galliher had met Clarence Collins, singer and founder of Little Anthony & The Imperials. The rest is history. Clarence became Keith’s music producer. They make music magic together. The videos on this blog show samples of original tunes as well as an example of something Keith has recorded with Clarence’s guidance. Many more can be found through a Google search.
Below is a video interview made by Doo Wop historian, Tom Meros. Clarence Collins, founder and member of Little Anthony & The Imperials is interviewed about the history of Little Anthony & The Imperials as well as Clarence’s own, very entertaining story starting off in Brooklyn, NY as a butcher!
Doo Wop After Note
I had the honor of speaking with Keith Galliher Jr. who informed me that Clarence Collins is not partial to the term ‘Doo Wop’ to describe their music. So in deference to him, I am adding the fact that Clarence prefers the description R&B or rhythm and blues. That sounds good to me.
I hope he will forgive my calling this blog post ‘The Doo Wop Revival’ rather than ‘The R&B Revival’. Therefore, I will end this blog post with a website which will most likely be the topic of a future blog post, The Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.