It was around the end of 1986, when the new wave rockabilly scene had passed its peak, that four friends and I, who had all been on the scene in one way or another since the late 70s, decided to start a doo wop group. It wasn’t until we were choosing which songs to attempt that we realised we all had a love of groups such as the Passions, Elegants, Mystics, Imaginations, Jay & the Americans and, last but not least, Dion & the Belmonts. After a few name and personnel changes we find ourselves 25 years and 11 CDs later.
“Dawning” includes many of the songs we used to rehearse a cappella down any subway we could find back in those early days, plus some especially written new ones. Some of the songs will be well-known to doo wop collectors. There are also some obscure titles and a couple not associated with vocal groups, including Andy Williams’ ‘Music To Watch Girls By’, my own personal choice. Some of our most complex harmonies to date can be heard on our version of the Beach Boys’ classic ‘In My Room’.
As on all Roomates CDs, we have recorded some Dion tracks, both with and without the Belmonts. Some of the numbers we found by accident on cassette tapes Nick used to make for us to take home after our early rehearsal sessions. Many songs we have recorded throughout our 25 years, including some of those here, were suggested to us by our fans around the world.
It seems a long time ago since those early days when we would get together for fun at Nick’s with never any intention of singing on stage, travelling to different countries, meeting fans of our music and even getting to know some of the original members of the groups who have inspired the Roomates sound, which culminated with us getting to sing with our long-time hero Dion DiMucci back in November 2007.
It’s been nearly five years since the last full Roomates CD. We think “Dawning” is probably our best to date and I’m sure our fans will also.
By Steve Webb