Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Harmony Boys: 5

Charlie as Nashville recording artist, 1968

1996: Charlie works at the office of the Sangamon County Circuit Clerk, managing the phone center and handling calls on legal cases. Over the years he plays with various groups, including the Tom Blasko Trio Plus 2 and 2nd Tyme Around.

1998: He organizes a revival concert of Springfield bands, a 5-hour music marathon captured on video. In 1999 he faces severe liver damage from hepatitis but his general good health permits a successful transplant operation.

2006: Charlie retires to Ashland, but he still makes guest appearances and retains a deep knowledge of rock history—as we learned in the trivia contest at our 45th reunion.

Where are the Harmony Boys today? Ben Harmony has a upholstery business in Springfield and provides music at his church. Ray Dippel works at Bunn-O-Matic and has been slowed by health problems.

Gordon Jones spent his career in insurance and risk management. In the early 1980s he was Arizona State Director of Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA), handling over 20,000 investigations. Now retired, he still owns the drum set he got for Christmas in 1946.

Perhaps we can persuade the Harmony Boys to play at our 50th reunion?

Tom Blasko Trio Plus 2, 1969

Thanks to Charlie Harmony and Gordon Jones for their pictures and memories.


Anonymous said...

Hi Will and All,

What a great story you have just told regarding "one of our own" successes!! I enjoyed reading every chapter and am grateful to you and the Harmonys for providing the information and pictures.

I really hope the committee can persuade some of them to play at our 50th - - wouldn't that be a kick????

Betsy Yamasaki

Anonymous said...

This is all new to me,I guess because I wasn't at SHS my last two years of high school. I did know Charlie of course and I'm happy to hear about the success of his group.

Since I haven't seen most of our classmates since the 1950's, I still tend to think of everyone as they were then, so this is also kind of weird to me. Anyway, thanks for letting us all know about The Harmony Boys.

Barbara Mitchell

Anonymous said...

Benny & Charlie are my great-uncles! I used to listen to their 45's on my mom's record player when I was little. I'm now 41, and this is such a thrill to see these pictures, read the stories, and listen to the sound bytes!! Where can I get full .mp3's of the songs? I would LOVE to put them on a CD.

Will Howarth said...

Hi Shelby,

Charlie sent me a disc with 6 of the Harmony Boys tunes on it, and I have them in MP3 form. So if you send your mailing address to me at howarth at princeton dot edu, I will ship a CD to you pronto.

Will Howarth

Anonymous said...

Oh, you are awesome! I talked to Uncle Charlie a few hours ago, and he hadn't even gotten to see this website yet! I can't wait until my mom gets home from her weekend get-away so I can share the site with her. I'm sure it will bring back fond memories for you. You have done a wonderful job here!!

Jodie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jodie said...

I'm Shelby's sister. She sent me a link to your site. This is so cool!! I remember listening to these records, too. Knock Around Sneakers was my favorite, and Lock on the Old Backdoor was another I remember well. I can't wait until Shelby gets the cd so I can have a copy. Thanks for gathering everything and posting it here!