R.I.P. Gene Serina of The Vels and The Lost Souls

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    (January 3, 2017) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of Gene Serina, the baritone singer in the doo wop vocal groups The Vels and The Lost Souls.

    A message from Serina’s family on his Facebook page reads: On behalf of Gene's family it is with our deepest regrets that we are saying Gene passed away during the night last night. He went peacefully in his sleep. He was home and being well cared for by his wife. We will post arrangements as soon as we have them. Respectfully yours, Stephanie  Frank, Gina, Cindy, Tina, and Tara.

    (January 3, 2017) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of Gene Serina, the baritone singer in the doo wop vocal groups The Vels and The Lost Souls.

    A message from Serina’s family on his Facebook page reads: On behalf of Gene's family it is with our deepest regrets that we are saying Gene passed away during the night last night. He went peacefully in his sleep. He was home and being well cared for by his wife. We will post arrangements as soon as we have them. Respectfully yours, Stephanie  Frank, Gina, Cindy, Tina, and Tara.

    New York native Serina began singing doo wop as a teenager, co-founding a local group called The Vels, who landed a small hit with “Do The Walk,” which was produced by now legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon under his given name, Jerry Landis. The group’s name was changed to The Styles and they released the singles “School Bells to Chapel Bells” and a remake of “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons.”

    At a time when doo wop groups were forming and breaking up at an incredible pace, it was not surprising that Serina found another home after the split of The Vels. As written by the Venture Music Group in a biography of The Lost Souls: “Producer Joe Webb saw great potential in a white group that could travel comfortably in the rarified upper atmosphere of full-bore R&B, rather than coasting in the more welcoming category known as Blue-Eyed Soul. In short order, Webb had them in the studio laying down the tracks for “It Won’t Work Out, Baby,” a strong, straight-four ballad penned by Donald Height.

    Released on the independent Glasco label, “It Won’t Work Out Baby” (b/w "Give Me Your Love") made its way to every major R&B chart and made the group a favorite of New York R&B radio superstar, the late Frankie Crocker. The group toured actively, doing shows with The ShirellesBilly Stewart (at Palisades Park in New Jersey and the famed Cheetah in New York City), and appearing on television’s nationally-syndicated UpBeat show, dazzling audiences with tight harmonies and smooth choreography. A second Glasco release, “I’m Your Love Man,” (b/w "If A Change Don't Come Soon") never quite caught a wave and was the last single credited to the Lost Souls.

    While Serina’s two groups never achieved great recognition or sales for their releases, The Vels and The Lost Souls gathered a small but loyal following around the world over the next several decades. His work in both groups earned praise from soul music fans, who are today mourning his death.

     

    Thanks to SoulTracker Colton for letting us know about this, and to Cozy Corner Radio and Venture Music Group for information used in this article.

     
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