I Remember Dear : The Tune Weavers©2004JCMarion


The Tune Weavers were a vocal group that originally did not sing R & B tunes, or even rock & roll tunes, or were even called The Tune Weavers. They began as a jazz-pop duo consisting of brother and sister Gilbert and Margo Lopez who favored tunes by Mel Torme, Jackie and Roy, and of course Frank Sinatra. In 1956 the duo added two more voices - Margo's husband John Sylvia and her cousin Charlotte Davis. The newly formed quartet were called The Tone Weavers and now did versions of songs in the style of The Four Freshmen and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. By now the four members had started to add some R & B tunes to their performances. They soon came to the attention of a local record man named Frank Paul who owned a small local label called Casa Grande Records. He agreed to hear the group and was not too impressed until he heard them vocalize on an original tune written by Margo called "Happy Happy Birthday Baby". She had penned the tune a few years before and nothing had become of this song until now. A recording session was set up and in March of 1957 "Happy Happy Birthday Baby" was recorded along with the Broadway show tune standard "Ol Man River" and soon released on Casa Grande # 4037.

The record was a dud and went nowhere. This was the problem with so many records put out by small independent labels due to the lack of distribution added to inexperience in promotion. Three months went by as the group went back into the small clubs in the Boston area and thought about the failure of their first effort on record. Seemingly from out of nowhere, two Philadelphia jocks - Joe Niagara and Hy Lit on WIBG, started playing "Birthday", the record that had lain dormant all this time. Listeners ears perked up as the unique song was a grabber, and soon that titan of pop in that city, Dick Clark, was also all ears. He was ready to lead his local teenage dance television show "American Bandstand", onto the national scene and here was a record that was about to break wide open. In mid August Chess Records from Chicago bought the distribution rights to the record from Casa Grande and released it on Checker # 872, and gave it the national "push" that was needed. The record was well received by a varied cross section of listeners hooked by the melancholy lyrics and Margo's delivery with a resemblance to Patti Page. (There was one difference in the Casa Grande and Checker versions of the song. The original has a four note coda [ending] played by the tenor sax, but the Checker version cuts this off after the last note of the vocal). By September the record was a national smash heading up to the top of the pop music charts. The group appears at Alan Freed's labor Day show at the Brooklyn Paramount headlined by Little Richard. The next month The Tune Weavers go out on their first national tour as part of a package show featuring Roy Hamilton, The Clovers, Doc Bagby, Little Joe, and others. They will tour the Southern states in a series of one nighters.

In November Al Silver, head of Herald Records in New York, announces that his label has bought the rights to Casa Grande masters by the group from Frank Paul. The exclusive distribution deal will be done by Silver's Ember label. Later that month "I Remember Dear" and "Pamela Jean" are released on Casa Grande # 4038, making that label in effect, a subsidiary of Herald-Ember. The Tune Weavers are part of the bill for George "Hound Dog" Lorenz Eighth Anniversary Show of Stars which broke all box office records for the State Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. In December as the group remains a top attraction, they sign on for a tour of major cities in January along with The Everly Brothers, The Rays, Paul Anka, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Danny & The Juniors, Eddie Cochrane, The Mello-Kings, and others. "I Remember Dear" sells initially but soon falters and dies not dent the national pop charts. In January of 1958 "There Stands My Love" and "I'm Cold" are released on Casa Grande # 4040 but goes nowhere. In March "Look Down That Lonesome Road" and "Little Boy" are issued by Casa Grande on # 101, but this too is a failure in both sales and airplay. At this time Charlotte Davis left the group and was replaced by Bill Morris Jr. Credits on all the Casa Grande releases are given to the Frank Paul band and to Preston Sandiford as musical arranger and director.

There were two other record releases for the group in the early nineteen sixties. "My Congratulations Baby" was another attempt to mine the same ground as "Birthday" and was paired with "This Can't Be Love" on Casa Grande # 3038 in 1960, and again with "Congratulations On Your Wedding" and "Your Skies of Blue" on Checker # 1007 in 1962. Twenty Five years later Margo Sylvia recorded for Classic Artists under the name The Tune Weavers, with multi-tracked efforts in which she sang all the harmony parts as well as the lead vocal. Margo Sylvia passed away in 1991 and Gil Lopez passed away in 1998. In March of 2003 original members John Sylvia and Charlotte Davis with two new members, Alice Fernandes and Dr. Burt Pina, performed at The Doo Wop Hall of Fame Awards Show at Symphony Hall in Boston where they were inducted. They also did some tunes at the Cape Cod Music Tent Doo Wop Show.

Although they will always be known as a one hit wonder group, they did record other well crafted songs during their all too brief career. There is one CD that contains just about all of their nineteen fifties efforts. It is called "The Tune Weavers Meet The Blends" on Official # 6015, and contains fourteen tracks by The Tune Weavers (The Blends are an early sixties group). The fourteen tunes are a good representation of the talent of the group and the great lead singing of Margo Sylvia. We remember The Tune Weavers.

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