CAPE COD TIMES
Doo-Wop: of high school dances and teen romances
By Sue Mellen | July 21, 2019
Some of the performers for the doo-wop smorgasbord had strutted their stuff on “American Bandstand” way back when a “huge” TV screen meant 12 inches.
HYANNIS – It’s the height of cliché to say the 1950s and early ’60s were a simpler time, but it’s true. You’d walk into the school gym on a Friday night and your biggest concern was whether the gallon of spray on your hair would keep it from frizzing. And the popular songs were simple odes to teen love with an occasional “rama-rama-ding-dong” thrown in for good measure, not rage-filled expressions of existential angst.
On Saturday night the anything-but-young audience for the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame concert, the second in this summer’s series being offered by Bill Hanney’s Cape Live Shows, took a (sea) cruise back to those days of Brylcreem and poodle skirts.
Some of the performers for the doo-wop smorgasbord had strutted their stuff on “American Bandstand” way back when a “huge” TV screen meant 12 inches and a clothes-hanger antenna was high tech. There was Marlboro resident Tony Funches of Herb Reed’s Platters; Shirley Reeves, original lead singer of The Shirelles; and the Marcels (of “Blue Moon” fame). And Bobby Brooks Wilson channeled his famous dad, Jackie, through oldies like “Twisting the Night Away” and “Lonely Teardrops”.
While most of the performers – like the songs they performed – were definitely oldies, they really were “goodies.” Their voices were still strong as they reached for the notes in songs like “Only You” and “Twilight Time,” and they moved across the stage with surprising dexterity. OK, there were a few moments when muscles and memories failed slightly, but audience members hardly noticed. They were lost in their own reveries filled with Archie-and-Veronica moments of days gone by. In fact, it was touching to watch white-haired couples snuggle a bit closer as favorite songs were performed. And a few brave souls got up and twisted the night away.
The biggest takeaway from an evening of doo-wop music was that it won’t be long before no one remembers walking into the high school gym as “Blue Moon” played. And that will be a sad day.
The next Cape Live show will be the Rat Pack Show tribute on Saturday, with “An Evening with the Celebrity Housewives” on Aug. 10. Reservations: www.capeliveshows.com or 855-577-5483.