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  • Texas | Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories

    Jimmy Beaumont
    and the Skyliners

    by Bill Cherry

    One recent Saturday evening, just before midnight, I was listening to a local weekly Saturday night radio program that plays doo-wop, race music and rhythm and blues.

    Music primarily recorded in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The guy who fronts the program on Dallas' KAAM-AM calls himself Crusin' Al.

    As I was getting ready to drift off to sleep, the last numbers of the evening were "Since I Don't Have You" with "This I Swear" as the segue; both were by Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners.

    It occurred to me that no two tunes and no vocal group are more reflective of my teen years.

    Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners
    Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners
    Photo from Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners' press kit
    Jimmy Beaumont, a teenager from Pittsburgh, put his friends Wally Lester, Jack Taylor, Joe Versharen and Janet Vogel into a group they called The Skyliners. They recorded "Since I Don't Have You" in 1959 and arguably their second most popular song, "This I Swear" six years later.

    Interestingly the group, still fronted by Jimmy Beaumont, remains headquartered in Pittsburgh. But as time has moved on so have the other original members of the group. Janet Vogle, the group's original signature voice, passed away. Today, in addition to Jimmy, the Skyliners are comprised of Nick Pociask, Dick Muse and Mark and Donna Groom.

    In recent years, Jimmy Beaumont has had some heart problems that have somewhat restricted the Skyliners' appearances and travel. But nothing, absolutely nothing, has allowed nature to even begin to tinker with the timbre of his voice and his strong falsetto.

    As Crusin' Al was playing those two songs back to back, I couldn't help but think of a summer night back then, driving the
    Galveston beachfront with my girlfriend and listening to "Since I Don't Have You" on my old car's radio. My mom and dad were still young and alive, my girlfriend and I were in love, and I had a few bucks in my pocket from my summer job as the announcer at the Pleasure Pier. There was a big golden moon rising over the Gulf of Mexico, and our whole lives were still in front of us.

    For me, all was as OK as OK could be.

    So at the stroke of midnight that recent Saturday as the last cord of "This I Swear" sounded, I found myself adding to my prayers a special thanksgiving to God that Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners and their haunting music have been and have remained important parts of my life for 52 years, and asking that my girlfriend of those days, Glenda, would be spared from her recent diagnosis of inoperable cancer. Amen.

    July 18, 2011column
    Copyright William S. Cherry. All rights reserved
    Postscript
    Glenda Holloway Snipes passed away on Friday, September 30, 2011. She was 70.


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    Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories
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    Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
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