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Dazzling DelRays celebrate 50 years with special Naples concert Nov. 13

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Sometimes the treasure is buried on the back hill. Ask the Dazzling DelRays. They absorbed musical wisdom from stars in their descent and turned it into their own jet fuel.
During the 1970s, the New Jersey-born group opened for Jay and the Americans, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Coasters, the Platters and many more

Skip the psychedelia
The three men behind the group — drum and guitar playing brothers Larry and Jim Farese and bassist Jim Meade — actually began singing and playing after the era of their favorite music.
“You’ll remember that in the late ’60s rock music became very psychedelic. It was a big drug culture, right? People who loved the ’50s music and early ’60s music didn’t like it, and we weren’t crazy about it either,” recalled Larry Farese.
“So in the early ‘70s in the New York area, they had Sha Na Na. They were NYU students,” he said. “The ’50s revival started in the early ‘70s.” At the time, all three were trying to pay for college.
“That was a no-brainer for us to play these oldies, because we worked five to six nights a week. Plus the music is terrific. The harmonies are terrific,” he said. “So we just started playing it.”
The group worked hard at developing the sound of those hit-makers. That, along with the fact that all could sing, got them calls to open for stars of that era or to be their pick-up band for East Coast shows.
“We backed up Little Anthony,” Farese said. “He wasn’t a big star any more, but we loved his songs and had some we wanted him to do. But he said, ‘Nah, I don’t want to do that one.'”
“We were the backup band for The Drifters. They had to be impressed because we could back up in harmony, too. We learned all their songs, even their choreography,” he continued, as his brother cracked: “I don’t think you want to see us doing their choreography now, though.”
They played ’50s and ”60s rock nostalgia shows that brought in young talent when voices and laughs were needed and met names before the word “big” was in front of them. Patty Smyth, later of Scandal (“The Warrior”), was their vocalist for some shows. The comedy came from a young guy named Jerry Seinfeld.
Jim Farese chuckled, remembering he had to ferry Seinfeld to the remote gig because he didn’t drive.

We’re in Naples but not to retire
What is an East Coast rock ‘n’ roll band like this doing in Naples? In a word: Retirement. And that word has to be qualified. Jim Farese and Jim Meade, who had kept the group alive in New Jersey, moved down here to be near Larry Farese, who had moved to Naples to practice law in 1980.
In theory, they were going to retire. In reality, the two took on a property management company. And they welcomed their barrister brother back into the group.
“When they moved down here, it was like the Blues Brothers — we got the band back together. We’re on a mission from God,” joked Larry Farese. They quickly began to add local personnel: vocalist Sharon Vath, Kevin Dolan on drums, Bruce Inman on horns to back up and the three originals Jim Farese, Larry Farese and Jim Meade front the group complete with dazzling outfits and choreography.
Today, the band plays hits that largely span late ’50s, early ’60s — including Beatles and Temptation songs — and early ’70s music.
“What gives us a lot of satisfaction is it’s like a high school dance 50 years later. Everybody’s doing the dances. Everybody’s singing along, from the first song on,” Jim Farese said.
“The beauty of it is that everybody’s got their problems in life. They’ve lost a spouse. They’ve got their aches and pains. When they hear us, they’re back in high school,” Larry Farese added. So if you had a happy high school experience, you’re happy when you hear us play. For three hours you forget all your problems.”
The Dazzling DelRays will perform a 50th anniversary concert Saturday, Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cambier Park in Naples. Admission is free.
Other upcoming performances are Nov. 5 at Sneaky Pete’s in Bonita Springs, Nov. 6 at Pinchers Tiki on Fort Myers Beach, Nov. 12 at Dogtooth in Naples. For more about the group, visit online at


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