By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
ANAHEIM, CA (ANS) -- As a super percussionist, Walter Santos toured nationally in the United States with a who's who of the music business, such as Weather Report and Fandango, sharing tour dates and stages with The Charlie Daniels Band, The Outlaws, Pure Prairie League, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Moby Grape, Judas Priest, and the Marshall Tucker Band.
But he had a terrible secret that was destroying his life -- he was addicted to drugs, a habit that nearly had him sentenced to life imprisonment. But then a miracle began to happen in his life when former teenage idol Dion, who had such hits as "A Teenager in Love," "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer," told him to totally give his life to Jesus Christ. He did and later was completely delivered from his habit at Calvary Ranch in San Diego, California.
Being from the mean streets of the Bronx, he always loved Doo-Wop music, but he now calls it “Born-Again Doo-Wop” as he has added Christian lyrics to the songs that so many growing up in the fifties and sixties loved.
On November 3, 2006, Santos drove to Anaheim, Ca, to pick-up his new CD project – StreetCorner Symphony, Volume Two. The trip was a reflective one – thinking about the production over the last ten months and all of the hours, hard-work, and prayer that took place – and now the project was finished.
“The goal of the team for StreetCorner Symphony, Volume Two, was to capture a 50’s/60’s Doo-Wop sound with a live-concert feel using cover songs and originals,” he said in an interview.
Santos always says that when he got born-again, the music did too. He has been singing this style of music for many years. His first Doo-Wop CD, StreetCorner Symphony, Volume One, has proven to be good “fishing bait” for people “just waiting to meet the Lord, but not knowing it.”
He says that the production staff wanted StreetCorner Symphony, Volume Two, to be a continuation of what God had started in Volume One.
“After listening to the final product, I was convinced that the goal had been more than accomplished and the expectations and vision were overwhelming met,” said Santos. “God is faithful and truly is ‘large and in charge’ of every area – including CD orchestration, design and production.”
JL Seville, who produced and arranged StreetCorner Symphony Volume One, started working on the project in February doing the enormous amount of pre-production planning and framework. JL is the former musical director of the Doo-Wop Society in Southern California. Patrick Duffin was called-up to facilitate the engineering functions and co-produce on the project. He also worked on StreetCorner Symphony, Volume One.
“These two guys are truly a ‘dream team’. Their God given gifts and talents go beyond the norm and are really the backbone and the glue of this CD,” he continued.
The project starts out with sound effects of the city put together by Sean Duffin; and a “welcome back” by Santos - picking-up where StreetCorner Symphony, Volume One left off. Then – the music begins. One after another, the songs reflect our love for Jesus and His love for us in a variety of Doo-Wop styles from sweet and tender to energetic and upbeat.
The CD hosts:
Four cover songs sung by Santos:
1 So Much In Love
2 (Love is Like A) Heatwave
3 I Only Have Eyes for You
4 He’s So Wonderful
Three re-recordings from rock and roll icon Dion DiMucci. Dion, by sharing his testimony, was instrumental to Santos becoming a believer. Santos will be eternally grateful to Dion because the words he shared with him about the Lord lead him to eternal life. The songs are:
5 I Love Jesus Now
6 Sweet Surrender – featuring Little Willie “G” and his very talented son, Jason “G”
7 Teenager in Love
1 Can’t Stop Fallin’ – by Lester Abrams, who co-wrote “Minute-by-Minute” with Michael McDonald. This song was a number one hit sung by the Doobie Brothers. Lester is currently the Worship Leader at New Venture Christian Fellowship, Oceanside, CA. Lester’s singing is featured on this song.
2 Gratitude and Joy – by JL Seville
3 Love Song to Jesus – by JL Seville
Two cover songs sung by Santos and guest artists
1 How Sweet It Is “To Be Loved By You” - featuring Chuck Butler
2 Joy in My Soul – featuring Bryan Duncan and Willie “G”
And, a re-recording of “Little Country Church” featuring Bryan Duncan.
“This song is dedicated to Pastor Chuck and Kay Smith and the Calvary Chapel family,” said Santos. “Pastor Chuck added a short introduction to this song talking about the beginnings of Calvary Chapel.
“Enough cannot be said about the background vocalists The Calvanes. These brothers have been singing together for decades and it shows. They are a big part of Doo-Wop history. The Calvanes added flavor and spice; and filled in every space with sweet harmony for Jesus. Fred Willis, who sang with the Calvanes for years went home to be with Jesus shortly after singing on this project. He is now Doo-Wopping with the King.”
No CD project can happen without the musicians. The ones that worked on this project did an outstanding job of capturing that 50’s/60’s doo wop sound.
1 Ron Roberson on drums
2 Art Sanchez on bass
3 Maurice Ramirez on guitars
4 Jimi Seville on keyboards
5 David Kadiso, on on tenor sax
6 Alex Cabrerea – trumpet
7 Chuck Phillips – baritone and tenor saxes
8 Tony Banda, who works with jazz legend Pancho Sanchez, – baby bass
The project was recorded at SoundBest Studio, in Garden Grove, CA, owned by Mike Best (who also did the editing). The CD was mastered by Mike Mireau @ TSC Mastering.
The entire package is wrapped in outstanding artwork, which captures the feel and shouts its doo wop message. All artwork was done by the very talented Tim Arnold, Graphic Artist for Maranatha Chapel in Ranch Bernardo, California.
All in all, the CD is excellent - enjoyable for every age group. The message is timeless….. Jesus loves you.
Santos is in full-time ministry as a singing evangelist on staff at Calvary Ranch, a Christian drug and alcohol recovery facility in Lakeside, CA. Check out their website at calvaryranch.org. It is a place where Jesus truly does the healing. Santos and his wife, Andrea, travel wherever the Lords wants them to go sharing the message of God’s love and forgiveness. Check out his website at santosministries.org. You can reach him at (619) 993-1133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Doo-Wop takes us back to a simpler time”
During the interview, I asked Santos why this style of music was so important to him.
“Doo-Wop takes us back to a simpler time,” he replied. “For the most part, our society was wholesome; the family unit was important; and times were just more innocent. Doo-wop music crosses generational boundaries. Most age groups like it - whether they are six or ninety-six. Doo-wop music is vocal harmonizing at its best. Unlike Barber Shop singing quartets, where four people sing lead,. doo-wop is one singer singing lead with the others singing background harmony.
“Growing up in NYC in the late fifties, there were singing groups everywhere. One popular place was singing on the stoops (front steps of the tenement houses). We would have our ‘StreetCorner Symphony’ on those steps. Also, we were always looking for places with great reverb sound (hallways, subway stations, high school bathrooms) and called that ‘searching for an echo.’”
Santos says that he regularly speaks and sings his brand of “Born-Again Doo-Wop in prisons and it is well received by the inmates.
“I like to say that God gave me this music as fishing bait,” he said. “Fishing for souls for Him. It is especially effective in prisons. The music is familiar to most of the inmates. They start to move and groove to the sound and then God melts their hearts through the words of the gospel message contained in the lyrics. It always thrills me to see the tears of tough guys when the Lord touches them. Last year at Rikers Island, Pastor John Connors and I held a service. I did the singing. He did the preaching and shared his testimony. We opened a prayer line and had two long lines of grown men dressed in orange suits just weeping and asking for a touch from the Lord. That day is one of my fondest memories.”
He concluded by saying that each CD contains a Calvary Ranch resource brochure. “Our prayer is that these brochures would fall into the hands of someone who needs drug and alcohol recovery,” said Santos. “Calvary Ranch, our home base, just celebrated its 35th year of service to a hurting world. Tens of thousands of people have found a new life in Christ through that wonderful program - I am one of those people. Visit their website at www.calvaryranch.org.”
You can contact Santos for ministry at www.santosministries.org, by e-mail at: email@example.com or by phone at 619-993-1133.
Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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