Classic Soul Music & Mementos

By Sheila Beasley

If you want to find everything from Doo Wop and R&B autographed pictures to memorabilia, Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff, has it all! Ginchy Stuff is located at 3623 California Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212. Johnny Angel is a legend with over 45 years in the music and entertainment industry.

He’s worked with some of the greatest in R&B including the Temptations, James Brown, Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson of the Supremes and has the best perseveration of hard to find records and industry photos around.

Much of his passion and soul comes from his Manchester/Woods Run roots in Pittsburgh growing up in the 50’s and 60’s with cross cultural exchanges at a time of peace and appreciation. “My musical influences are from R&B and soul music. I grew up with attorney, Bobby Williams, and R&B group members of The Marcels, famous for hit songs “Blue Moon” and “Heartaches” who were also from Woods Run/Northside. They were one of the first interracial groups with a national record deal and was inducted in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You” and The Del-Vikings “Come and Go with Me” also have Pittsburgh connections and were hit makers.

Angel’s first band was the Cordell’s and they recorded their first record in 1966 with Steel Town Sound Records. The record is a collectible and now sells for $50 and is very popular in Europe. Angel credits the late Porky Chedwick as being a great influence on his life. Porky Chedwick was the first white radio DJ to present a diverse audience in a major eastern American city. Angel idolizes The Temptations and was called on as a technical advisor for the making of the Temptations movie while filming in Pittsburgh. During that time, he was even able to make his dreams come true by joining them on the stage to sing his favorite song “My girl.” Angel also had a close relationship with James Brown exchanging holiday cards over the years and he was granted an unheard of, 47 minute interview, by the God Father of Soul at Three Rivers Stadium. He commends Chadwick Boseman for his portrayal of Mr. Brown in the movie and said he was ‘spot on’ with his character and style.

                                                                                                                                                        Johnny Angel’s Interview with James Brown

Angel is devoted to the rich heritage and display of R&B, Doo Wop and Soul music, not only because of the iconic performers, but also because of Pittsburgh’s substantial influence. “All of the popular artists of that day wanted to make a stop in Pittsburgh, especially to the Hill District at the Crawford Grill and Hurricane. We were the hub for jazz and soul music. The Pittsburgh Courier provided nation-wide exposure and helped tremendously with keeping Pittsburgh on the map, along with the amazing photography by the late, great Teenie Harris,” Angel said.

He refuses to turn into “his parents” and other adults who were critical of the new music of the 60’s by embracing music artist of today. “They are young like we were and use their music as a form of expression. Today’s music is more rhythmic and uses poetry like rap. Our music was more melodic but either way, young people have something today and music continues to serve as a medium to get the message out.”

Johnny Angel and his bandmates, the Halos, continue to perform. He said he will never retire. He is also part owner of eight Atria’s, four Ditka’s, and two Juniper Grill restaurants. He also hosts the Heavenly Soul Show, an Internet radio show, on Sunday nights from 7-10pm on the Carolina Breeze Network.

Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff should be added to every Pittsburgh Tour as a museum of great music industry collectibles. “My uncle sang with The Silver Tones from the local area and I was able to find their record at Ginchy Stuff. Johnny Angel copied their album to a CD that I was able to share with my uncle. He was so moved because he hadn’t heard their music in over 30 years. Johnny Angel has a collection of music and mementoes from popular local to national artists. His place is a must-see for classic music,” singer and music enthusiast, Charles Thomas said.

Call 412.766.1846 or email {} for additional information.

This article was first published in Soul Pitt Quarterly Print Magazine (F14)
Copyright Soul Pitt Media.  All Rights Reserved.
This entry was posted in Articles, Soul Pitt Quarterly. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *