When Jimmy Falwell and Gilbert Farrall first started up the Velons at McKinley High School in 1959, they were inspired by and sang the music of the day -- the great vocal tradition of such groups as the Five Keys, the Coasters, Heartbeats and Drifters and individuals like Jackie Wilson. Twenty-three years later, they're still singing the same old songs, but as someone said about their debut album, "there's no need to scrape the mold from this gold."
"The music of that time was fuller," says Farrall. "You had less instrumentation, so you had to sing more to replace the band. The music today isn't bad, but like anything else, when you have myriad brand new things to put in, pretty soon some of the basic things tend to disappear: there's only so much space."
The Velons' rich melodic harmony will be heard at Constitution Hall Saturday when they perform with some well known oldies acts, including Ben E. King, Mary Wells, Eugene Pitts and the Jive Five and the Shirelles. The quintet's current line up -- which includes Bobby Horn, Carrie Mingo and James "Buddy" Owens -- has been intact since 1976. Owens had started out about the same time as the original Velons in a brother group called the Versatiles.
"So much of today's music is a lot of electrical sound," says Mingo. "We refuse to do certain things; we just like the original, beautiful melodies and the romantic-type things."