This weekend and next, there are a couple of wonderful music events that you really don’t want to miss — and that will benefit two local organizations.
Tomorrow, the Sweet Adelines International Chorus Champions will bring their harmonizing voices to the Payson High School auditorium, with proceeds from this performance benefiting Payson’s Humane Society. (I still have a hard time bringing myself to refer to this caring not-for-profit group as the “Humane Society of Central Arizona.”)
Then, next Saturday, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Uptown Espresso, Ray Baxter, Pine resident and local rock ’n’ roll enthusiast and historian, will present “The Birth of Rock & Roll,” which traces the beginning of this musical phenomenon from the early 1950s up to about 1959.
Ray’s presentation will include a video documentary, a trivia contest, and lots of terrific ’50s music. The focus will be on the influences of hillbilly, gospel, doo-wop and R&B, and how each helped form for the first time in music history a genre specifically for teenagers by teenagers.
Ray told me, “I intend to show some clips from my video collection of the day, highlighting the teen idols, rockabilly stars, and my personal favorite — the vocal groups.”
And to top off this fun afternoon strolling down memory lane, Uptown Espresso will provide a ’50s “malt shop” meal — hamburger or Coney Island hot dog, chips and an old-fashioned malt or iced tea.
Tickets for Ray’s presentation are only $15, but are limited due to space for about 60. Tickets can be purchased at Rim Country Literacy, the Roundup, Uptown Espresso, and the chamber of commerce. All money collected will be donated to Rim Country Literacy.
This week’s music trivia question is: Can you name the artist of Ray Baxter’s favorite doo-wop hit, “I Wonder Why,” which was the group’s debut hit on Billboard’s pop chart in May of 1958?
This Italian-descended quintet was formed in the Bronx (where Ray also grew up at the time), shortly before the release of “I Wonder Why” and was the first doo-wop “white group” to have a major hit, which peaked at No. 22 on the chart.
The group was an instant success, charting eight more hits, including the top-five singles, “A Teenager in Love” and “Where or When,” before splitting up in 1960.
The group’s lead vocalist then went on to have a brilliant solo career in the 1960s, scoring 29 charted hits — including “Ruby Baby” and his 1961 No. 1 smash hit, “Runaround Sue.”
The other four members of the original group continued on their own and did quite well with their hits “Tell Me Why” and “Come On Little Angel.”
Is Ray Baxter’s favorite doo-wop group A) Little Anthony and the Imperials, B) Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, C) Dion and the Belmonts, or D) Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen?
If you’re caller number six this week and have the right answer, you’ll win two free tickets to next Saturday’s “The Birth of Rock & Roll” at Uptown Espresso. (Ann and I really wish we could join you, but we have a wedding to play for that afternoon.)
Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: Which country music star recorded the 1996 hit “Phones Are Ringing All Over Town?” This singer/songwriter was a four-time country music female vocalist of the year and has five No. 1 hits to her credit, including “Wild Angels” (1996), “A Broken Wing” (1998) and her biggest hit “I Love You” (1999).
Is this country star: A) Reba McEntire, B) Miranda Lambert, C) Martina McBride, or D) C.W. McCall?
The correct answer was Martina McBride.
Congratulations to last week’s music trivia winner, Mari Janecek, who won a $25 Verizon Wireless gift certificate from Rim Country Wireless, located in the Safeway Shopping Plaza, courtesy of Adam Jonus, store manager.
Oddly, Mari was a first-time music trivia winner just a couple of weeks ago. She told me that her gift certificate to Rim Country Wireless could not have come at a better time, as she doesn’t own a cell phone, but has lately been considering purchasing one.
Lastly, new pictures that I’ve added to my Web site are from last weekend’s Winter Carnival, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kudos to the good folks at the Mormon church, who provided not only a great time for children, but also collected 1,000 pounds of food and $400 cash for the food bank in Payson!
DJ Craig — Phone: 468-1482
Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com