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Like oldies? Here's a goody

The voice behind Crying in the Chapel will lead a concert and dance with '50s and '60s tunes.

By LOGAN NEILL
Published January 26, 2007


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SPRING HILL - Four Tampa Bay area entertainers will combine their talents Sunday for a night that pays homage to original rock 'n' roll.

Hernando County resident and former teen singing star Mary Swan (Crying in the Chapel, My Heart Belongs to You) will headline the "Fabulous '50s & Nifty '60s" show at the Knights of Columbus hall on Spring Hill Drive, which will include performances by doo-wop stalwarts Richie Merritt (the Marcels, the Clovers) and Ken Brady (the Casinos) and country stylist Marti Carroll.

The concert and dance, organized by Swan and her daughter, Marti Carroll, is sure to conjure up memories for Hernando residents who saw them perform at popular "sock hops" once held at the Spring Hill Lions Club. Merritt said Swan has been establishing a network of showcases in the bay area for oldies artists like him who live in the region.

"We've done several shows in the past year, and it's been a lot of fun," Merritt said. "I'd like to do more because it beats having to travel all the time to perform."

Merritt's five decades in the music business date back to his high school days in Pittsburgh as lead singer with a local doo-wop group. Later, he helped form the Electrons, which recorded a minor R&B hit, It Ain't No Big Thing, in the mid 1960s.

Merritt left the group in the 1970s to become a journeyman nightclub singer in the Northeast. In 1993 he returned to his doo-wop roots by taking over the lead vocal roll in the Clovers, where he remained for 11 years.

These days, Merritt divides his time between occasional appearances with the Marcels and solo music revues with his own group, which specializes in classic soul and R&B songs.

"I try to pack as much as I can into a show," he said. "I'll do songs by Little Anthony and Jackie Wilson, some doo-wop, maybe even one or two of my own, whatever I think the audience wants to hear.

If you go

Fabulous '50s and Nifty '60s Show

The concert and dance are from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Knights of Columbus hall, 10470 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill. Admission is $17. For tickets and information, call Mary at 688-8808 or Marti at 684-9616.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 22:57:00]


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