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Barbara Harris

Barbara Harris

  This story began when a little girl named Barbara Ann Harris, born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She began singing in the church on her corner. Whenever there was a service you would find her there. By age 8, she was a featured singer in many churches in her hometown and neighboring towns. She came to Queens, New York at the age of 11.

  Here she learned her second great passion in life - dancing. Barbara would pretend to be older to gain entrance into The Terrace Ballroom to see some of the touring vocal acts, and leave with the dance contest's First Prize.  In high school, Barbara was asked to be part of a group with four other young singers, Barbara Parritt Toomer, June Montiero, Betty Stokes and Betty Blocker.   They would sing on street corners coming home from school. Eventually Ms. Stokes and Ms. Blocker left the group, while the two Barbaras and June formed a trio soon to be known the world over as

"The Toys".

  Bobby Uri, a manager friend, named the group "The Charlettes" and took them to the famed Brill Building at 1650 Broadway in Manhattan, where they began doing background vocal work for several recording artists.

The Brill Building

  At a talent show in Brooklyn, NY, they met Eddy Chase, who introduced them to people who would be very instrumental in launching their career, notably, Mr. Bob Crew of DynaVoice Records. Their manager, Mr. Vince Mark, renamed the group "The Toys" and landed their first recording contract. 

A Lover's Concerto by The Toys

"The Toys" were then teamed up with writers Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell who took a classical finger exercise from Bach and put a Motown bassline to it.  "A Lovers Concerto" was born. The song soon rose to number one. They followed that up with another hit, "Attack", also written by Ms. Linzer and Mr. Randell, which climbed to the Top 10.  The flip-side "See How They Run" was a local favorite.

In addition to appearances on TV's popular music shows, such as  "Shindig", "Hullabaloo" and Dick Clark's "American Bandstand",  The Toys also appeared in a movie, "It's A Bikini World" along with The Animals, The Castaways and The Gentrys. 

Attack by The Toys

The album, "The TOYS sing "A LOVERS CONCERTO and ATTACK", originally on DynaVoice, has been re-released on CD on the Sundazed label. 
The Toy Sing A Lover's Concerto and Attack The Toys' Dynovoice record label

  In 1968, The Toys' association with Art Talmadge and Musicor Records produced another hit single entitled "Sealed With a Kiss".

  Barbara eventually left to devote more time to her growing family, while continuing to sing in local bands, covering a wide range, including Jazz, Funk, R&B and Blues.  Rhythm & Babs is her most recent band, with Barbara, on lead vocals and percussion, and her backup rhythm section:

The Toys Boys
larger image

Charlie Rivers-guitar/vocals
Andrew Mack-drums/vocals
Joe Katz-keys/vocals
Ken Wiltshire-Bass/vocals

When the band is backing "The Toys", 
they are known as the "Toys Boys"

  Barbara continues to have a considerable following, as she performs throughout New Jersey and at "Oldie Shows" for Richard Nader, Norm Wasserman, King Broder and others as "The Toys" featuring Barbara Harris.  She also sang with Mr. Joe Rivers, known the world over for Johnnie and Joe's classic hit, "Over The Mountain".

  Supplying the rich background and alternate vocals "The Toys" are so well known for these days are recent additions, Ms. Sandra Taylor , who hails from Brooklyn, NY and the newest member of the group, Ms Shahidah Wiltshire.   While they still do many Oldies in their new show, it is a very current, youthful, and energetic act making this act perfect for wedding, corporate parties and private affairs.

Sandra and Shahidah

  Barbara Now - Barbara Harris
Available at CDBaby

  As proud as she is to have been a part of 60s music history, Barbara latest achievements, which have made her a producer and composer, have brought immense satisfaction. This newest high point has been a labor of love that has given birth to her first solo CD. Ms. Harris produced the Barbara Now CD with her friend, Jerome Mitchell, and her husband, Ken Wiltshire, penning all but two of the songs and arranging all vocals. Her two oldest sons financed this independent project and Barbara owns the label the CD was released on.

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