MUSIC Doo-wop's The Edsels get new name
The Reynolds siblings also are gospel artists with a CD in the works.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
YOUNGSTOWN -- Forget which song made the local doo-wop group The Edsels a household name in 1956? Not anymore.
The new name is Jimmy Reynolds & amp; his "Rama Lama Ding Dong" Edsels. It reflects that Reynolds is the only original member still performing with the group, and it's a constant reminder of the biggest hit of the group's career.
Reynolds, who still lives here, doesn't look old enough to have been singing doo-wop songs for half a century. Actually, it's been 55 years, he says in his often-raspy speaking voice.
Time has been catching up with the other Edsels. Another original member, Harry Green, gave his final performance last New Year's Eve, when The Edsels appeared at First Night Youngstown.
Marshall Sewell lives in greater Cleveland and is focused on that market, Reynolds said. He added that Larry Green, who is Harry Green's brother, has been ill and unable to perform. George Jones Jr. was the original lead singer and writer of "Rama Lama Ding Dong."
The new lineup
The group now consists of Reynolds and five of his sons -- Carlisle, Baron, Jeffrey, Patrick and Christopher. All five play instruments as well as sing.
The Reynolds siblings have been performing together for years as a gospel music act and have been recording a CD. This is the first time that the family will present itself as The Edsels.
"My sons grew up around this music," Reynolds said. "They're going to hit it on the gospel side and try to help Dad out."
"Rama Lama Ding Dong" continues to reap benefits for The Edsels, who performed on a PBS television special on doo-wop music in 2000 and in England in 2002.
This version of The Edsels will perform this month in the Florida cities Tampa, Clearwater, Dunedin, St. Augustine, Panama City and Pensacola. Offers to perform in Flint, Mich. and New York are pending, Reynolds said.
Reynolds is hoping for another engagement at First Night Youngstown so that hometown folks can hear for themselves how good his sons are as musicians, he said.
Reynolds also hopes that the original Edsels will be remembered by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the next time inductees are chosen. Asked what influence The Edsels had on popular music, he said, "We influenced the whole wide world."