01. Milk And Gin - The Crickets
02. If That's The Way You Want It Baby - The Blenders
03. Please Take Me Back - The Blenders
04. Fine As Wine - The Five Barons
05. Eat 'Em Up - The Eddie Carter Quartet
06. Don't Turn Your Back On Me - The Eddie Carter Quartet
07. Kansas Capers - The Blenders
01. Fine As Wine - The Crickets
02. Don't Play Around With Love - The Blenders
03. You'll Never Be Mine Again - The Blenders
04. Why Did You Leave Me - The Sparrows
05. Hey! - The Sparrows
06. I'm Gonna Do That Woman In - The Sparrows
07. I'm Gonna Hold My Baby Tight - The Sparrows
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A good compilation of early 1950s vocal group sides recorded in New York by Joe Davis, either for leasing to MGM or for release on his own Jay-Dee label. As is usual with vocal group posts I'll be providing links to Marv Goldberg's site where you can read up on the background of some of the groups on this record.
Joe Davis was a pioneer of R&B in New York, founding one of the earliest NYC indie labels, Beacon, in 1942. His biggest artists at that time were The Five Red Caps and Savannah Churchill. The 1950s vocal group sides on this LP are very different from the emerging doo-wop sound. They seem to be more rooted in the sound of the jive groups of the late 1930s and 1940s and it's strange to think that they are contemporary with the sounds of The Dominoes, The Clovers and The Five Keys.
Surface noise is audible on some tracks as this LP was not in the best of condition.
Release details of the tracks:
The Crickets -
"Milk And Gin" originally released on MGM 11428 in February 1953: "You're Mine" / "Milk And Gin".
"Fine As Wine" originally released on Jay-Dee 781 in September 1953: "I'm Not The One You Love" / "Fine As Wine."
The Blenders -
"If That's The Way You Want It Baby" originally released on MGM 11488 in May 1953: "I Don't Miss You Anymore" / "If That's The Way You Want It Baby".
"Please Take Me Back" originally released on MGM 11531 in July 1953: "Please Take Me Back" / "Isn't It A Shame?"
"You'll Never Be Mine Again" / "Don't Play Around With Love" originally released as Jay-Dee 780 in August 1953.
"Kansas Kapers" originally released on Davis 441 in September 1955. "Somebody's Lyin'" / "Kansas Kapers" by The Millionaires.
The Five Barons -
"Fine as Wine" was cut in 1952 as a one-sided promotional disc (Beacon 9144), probably with a view to pitching the song which was later recorded by The Crickets in May 1953. This is the only known recording by The Five Barons.
Eddie Carter Quartet -
"Don't Turn Your Back On Me" / "Eat 'Em Up" was originally released on MGM 11405 in January 1953.
The Sparrows -
"Why Did You Leave Me" was originally released on Jay-Dee 783 in November 1953. "Tell My Baby" / "Why Did You Leave Me".
"Hey!" was originally released on Jay-Dee 790 in February 1954. "Hey!" / "I'll Be Lovin' You."
"I'm Gonna Do That Woman In" and "I'm Gonna Hold My Baby Tight" were not released in the 1950s.
"I'm Gonna Hold My Baby Tight" was first released on this LP.
"I'm Gonna Do That Woman In" (a charming call to domestic abuse) was released as the B Side of a bootleg single on Kelway 101 in 1971. The A Side was the notorious "Don't Fuck Around With Love" by The Blenders - a naughty version of "Don't Play Around With Love" which Joe Davis recorded as a novelty promo item for deejays.
"Don't Fuck Around With Love" has reared its head on various bootleg singles over the years possibly most memorably as one side of the single on X Rated Records which also featured the amazingly filthy "Rotten Cocksuckers Ball" by The Clovers. In comparison with that effort, The Blenders' opus is very tame indeed as it is basically just "Don't Play Around With Love" with one word substituted.
Anecdote time - in June of 2015 I was on a drunken weekend trip to Munich in the company of ex work colleagues. Having tried to drink the Hofbräuhaus dry during Saturday afternoon and then having stopped off at a beer stall in the Viktualienmarkt for a few more for the road, we piled into a couple of taxis to make our way to the West End. I was astonished to hear the strains of "Don't Fuck Around With Love" on the taxi driver's sound system. Turned out he was a fellow vintage R&B fan. It was a real "hands across the sea" moment. I hope he found his way to this blog ...
Bruce Bastin's sleeve notes on this LP are very comprehensive. He wrote a biography of Joe Davis which originally appeared under the title "Never Sell A Copyright" and then in a revised form as "The Melody Man: Joe Davis & The New York Music Scene 1916 - 1978." Copies are available on a certain well known Marketplace website at a pretty high price.
Marv Goldberg links:
The Blenders - http://www.uncamarvy.com/Blenders/blenders.html
The Crickets - http://www.uncamarvy.com/Crickets/crickets.html
The Sparrows - http://www.uncamarvy.com/Sparrows/sparrows.html
Further listening - "Fine as Wine" CD on Flyright (Fly CD 30) has 20 Joe Davis vocal group tracks including The Mellows, The Crickets, The Sparrows, Dean Barlow, The Scale-Tones and The Goldentones. It's interesting to contrast the sides recorded by Davis in 1954-1956 with the '52-'53 sides on the posted LP as the later sides are much more "rock and roll" in style. CD issued in the 1980s and probably hard to find nowadays.