Corporate Sponsors 

In Remembrance

Harry Bailey, Jr. 1941-2015 & Frankie Monteiro

(bottom left with The Sultans)

Photo Credits: Sylvia Whiting, Photography / 617.539.3951

Singer, Promoter Bennie Woods 1931-2014

Trumpet Player Dave Hamel 1948-2014

Drummer Wayne L. Amado 1959-2013

Drummer 'Big Sam' Harold 

Willie Love, Saxophonist ​1932-2013


The Castileers:  Joe Hill, George Smith, Del Padgett 

Herbert (Boyd) Washington

Del Padgett, Singer

The Dials:  Jack Barros, Spender (Torch) Holden, Joel Osborne,

                  Jeanine Osborne, John Johnson   

The One & Only Bennie Woods:  Club Owner, Entertainer, Promoter

William (Billy) Truell: Veterans Chorus of Rhode Island

Manuel Barros, Singer 

Manual (Mannie) Mendes:  Scitimard Players

Linnear Horn:  Veterans Chorus of Rhode Island

Walter Baptista, Singer 

Jimmy Starks, Jay Clay Trio

Randall (Randy) Ashe, Saxophone 

Arthur Harzard, Baritone Sax 

Butchie Brook, Drummer

Richard Lee, Hammond Organ

Vint Bonner, Saxophone 

Everit "Grumpy" Mitchell

Dave Keller:  Dave Keller Band

Spinners:  Black Repertory Theater Performance 

Musical Tribute to Clay Osborne:  Jay Clay Trio

Max Whiting:  Musician as Historian Series (The Sultans) 

Paul Williams, Musician as Historian Series

Dick Willner Quartet



Interview oral histories have been conducted since 2004 with many of the greats of the greater Rhode Island R&B music scene.  Interviews, recordings and other memorabilia are housed at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 121 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906 and is available for review both on-site and on their website:

Nat King Cole with Paul Philipi, Owner  

Celebrity Club (c) 1940s.

Rhode Island

Rhythm & Blues

Preservation Society

The Rhode Island Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society (RIRBPS), in partnership with The Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), launched its Oral History Project in November 2006 with its first series of video and other recorded interviews.


The purpose of the project was to capture the recollections of the life and times during the roots of Rhythm & Blues beginning around 1943. The small combo Rhythm & Blues music art form emanated from the  African-American blues heritage toward the end of WWII and is probably the most significant African-American cultural contribution to the local way of life. This previously ignored contribution influenced the local popular music to the current level of diversity for the benefit of all Rhode Islanders.

In December 2004, RIRBPS & RIHS formed as a result of the mutual interest of preserving & sharing the history of African-American Blues music heritage in the African-American Community of Rhode Island. The purpose of preserving this era is in keeping with mission of RIRBPS to assist in closing the gap in local history from approximately 1943-1970.


The goal of the partnership is to identify, collect, preserve and share with the people of Rhode Island and researchers around the world, original materials that document the history, culture and heritage of Rhythm & Blues music & musicians in and of Rhode Island.  The original source material includes documentation of individuals and/or organizations involved in the music in the form of letters, diaries, memorabilia, video and sound recordings and oral histories. Oral  historians play a critical role in recording historical gaps and capturing some of the deeper truths about the community, the life and times behind the music and providing a broader framework for future historians and interested citizens.

Anyone interested in participating in or contributing to this important project, please contact RIRBPS.  President, Cleveland Kurtz @ 401.461.0012 or

Oral History Project