Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Harptones

I hate Wal-Mart. That’s not just because they are union busters, though that’s reason enough. I hate Wal-Mart, because it is crass, because there are too many people shopping there whenever you go, because they don’t have what you need notwithstanding their claims to the contrary, because it is too big without a the corresponding benefit of versatility.

Where Wal-Mart stood until a few years ago, there used to be a store called Woolco. Woolco wasn’t so bad. It was a bit smaller, and lot more civilized. It was never The Bay or anything, but it was manageable.

I bought a tie at Woolco, the one I got married in.

There wasn’t much of a record department there. But every so often they’d get some kind of a clearance going on. And so I remember, it was in the early 80s I guess, I was with a friend and we discovered boxes of LPs selling for $1.25 each. And we were looking for lost treasures. We were looking, we said, for “another Mood Jga Jga album,” referring to an album by a one time Winnipeg group that we regarded very highly, but whom nobody would have heard of anywhere else. Most of what I picked up was fairly junky, but I did get Ramsay Lewis, and The Five Keys (keep reading), and The Harptones.

And so it was that The Harptones never had a hit, not on the pop charts, not on the R& B charts, but among aficionados they are considered to have been very influential. Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t. But here they are, on a collection called Harlem Hit Parade.

And my friend? He got married in 1981, and he became a doctor, and he moved to Toronto with his family, and he is still there, and we are not so much in touch, although we called him when we were in TO in 2006…

The Harptones:

Forever Mine
What Is Your Decision
Loving A Girl Like You
Since I Fell For You – This became a hit for Lenny Welch in 1960.
Sunday Kind Of Love – a hit for The Del Vikings, after “Come Go With Me,” and Jan & Dean had a crack at it.
It Was Just For Laughs
I Depend On You
My Memories Of You
I’ll Never Tell
Mambo Boogie – keep track, mambo was big for a few months at the end of ’54 and beginning of ’55.

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