As oldies shows go, the one Saturday night at the Warner Theatre was like an old record--despite a few skips and scratches, the good sounds came through. The show got off to an unexpectedly arousing beginning when the Jewels, a female trio from D.C., shook and shimmied their way through an exciting and all-too-brief set of soul and rhythm & blues standards.
Arlene Smith of the Chantels still possesses the inspirational, shouting vocal style that made the Chantels one of the most successful female groups of the '50s. Smith treated the crowd to her classic ballads such as "He's Gone" and "Maybe," and her powerful voice seemed to echo back to 1957. The evening's major disappointment was New York City's Channels. The band that provided backup for all the groups seemed ignorant of the Channels' arrangements and the group itself strained for harmonies; the Channels were four vocal parts in search of a whole song.
The show was stolen from the headlining Spaniels by Jeanette (Baby) Washington, who melted hearts with her understated vocals on "The Bells" and "The Time." Led by Pookey Hudson's dreamy tenor and Gerald Gregory's bubbling bass, the Spaniels sang impeccable and fragile harmonies, culminating in its classic "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight."