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Harmony Lane: Drifters rack up 'Truth in Music' victory

Get the scoop on a judge's ruling regarding the use of the Drifters name; find out what's new, up and coming on CD from Pookie Hudson, Charlie Thomas' Drifters, Little Anthony and the Imperials; and say farewell to The Deep River Boys' Jimmy Lundy, The Marvelows' Jesse Smith, The Ravens' Leonard Puzey and the Monotones' George Malone.

A recent decision published by U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise has found music promoter Larry Marshak in contempt of court for continuing to use the Drifters name in defiance of a 1999 court-ordered injunction banning use of the Drifters name or “any other name that would be confusingly similar.” The judge referred to Marshak’s “Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters,” which made use of the group’s late bass singer’s name, as “an elaborate shell game.”

Longtime Drifters manager Faye Treadwell, whose husband, George, managed the group until his death in 1967, is seeking profits from concerts Marshak promoted under Hobbs’ Drifters name, according to her attorney, Cindy Salvo.

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Truth In Music Committee chairman and former member of the group Sha Na Na, viewed the ruling as a victory for Truth in Music efforts. Bauman has traveled the country lobbying state governments to adopt Truth in Music legislation.

“Judge Debevoise’s ruling reflects his understanding of the way famous group names have been abused by unscrupulous promoters,” Bauman said.

Debevoise cited Larry Marshak, Barry Singer, Charles Mehlich, Andrea Marshak, Paula Marshak and their attorney, Lowell Davis, with contempt of court. Dave Revels, the lead singer of Cornell Gunther’sCoasters, also was cited for contempt for his role in preparing a press kit for Elsbeary Hobbs’ Drifters.

“We are also hoping that Judge Debevoise will be the one to adjudicate the rights of Cornell Gunther’s Coasters and the Platters. He seems to have excellent insight into the ‘elaborate shell game’ that has duped so many consumers and devastated so many authentic artists,” Bauman said.

Marshak’s attorneys are challenging the judgment, which may have an impact on another pending lawsuit filed by two management companies connected to Marshak against New Jersey’s State Attorney General Anne Milgram. That suit challenges the enforcement of the state’s “Truth In Music” law, which was enacted to stop performances by bogus and or unauthorized groups.

New, Up And Coming On CD

The late Pookie Hudson’s final recordings have been released on Bil Carpenter Presents An Uncloudy Christmas, a various artists compilation. Hudson and his Spaniels — first tenor Steven Wade, second tenor Wellington Robinson, baritone Preston Monroe and bass Dexter Combs — particularly shine on the lead singer’s gospel original, “The Angels Watching Over Me.”

A reworking of “I’m Gonna Thank Him,” originally recorded by the Spaniels in 1958 but unreleased until 1984, is given a similar a cappella treatment. Fats Domino’s “Please Don’t Leave Me,” which the group used as their chaser — to open and close their stage shows in the 1950s — makes its studio debut as well. The disc is available from

Charlie Thomas’ Drifters’ new recording, the nostalgic “Take Me Back To The Boardwalk,” which has