01. If I Didn't Love You So
02. If It's So Baby
03. Our Romance Is Gone
04. There Ain't No Use Beggin'
05. I'm Livin' OK
01. There's Rain In My Eyes
02. I'm Through
03. You're Fine But Not My Kind
04. Turkey Hop Part 2
05. I Found Out My Troubles
We bring our short series of Johnny Otis related posts to a conclusion with this homemade comp of sides recorded by The Robins for Savoy in late 1949 / early 1950. We've already met The Robins in the previous post Johnny Otis Presents which included sides they recorded for the Bihari Brothers group of labels - Modern, RPM and Crown. That post includes a brief summary of The Robin's recording career for the Biharis plus the lead up to their split which saw the formation of The Coasters as well as the continued existence of The Robins.
The go-to place for in depth information on The Robins (and just about every other R&B vocal group) is of course Marv Goldberg's site, so for the full story go to:
The Robins had their origins in a vocal trio called the A-Sharp Trio which consisted of tenor Ty Terrell (real name Terrell Leonard), and the brothers Billy and Roy Richard (tenor and baritone). They made their way from their home turf near Oakland to the Watts area of Los Angeles where they took part in the Thursday night amateur hour competition at the Johnny Otis / Bardu Ali owned Barrelhouse Club.
A good performance earned them a regular spot at the club and the trio became a foursome when Otis had the idea of teaming them up with another Barrelhouse regular, baritone / bass singer Ulysses "Bobby" Nunn. The group made their recording debut on an April 1949 release on Excelsior, the Johnny Otis Orchestra disc "My Baby Done Told Me," billed as "The Four Bluebirds." The group preferred the name "Robins" as this was more in line with the bird names of the two currently most successful vocal groups, The Ravens and The Orioles.
In May 1949 The Robins cut four sides for Aladdin which were quickly issued on two singles which sold poorly. In the autumn of 1949 the Johnny Otis band was signed to Savoy Records with their first recording session for the label being held on November 10th. For the second Savoy session on December 1st, the Otis band was accompanied by The Robins. The biggest success of the session however wasn't one of the four Robins tracks recorded, it was "Double Crossin' Blues" which was a duet between Little Esther and Bobby Nunn. "If It's So Baby" was the best selling of the Robins tracks, but was a minor hit compared to the massive success of the duet.
The Robins were involved in the Otis session of January 11th 1950, cutting sides with Mel Walker and Little Esther (as The Bluenotes), as well as providing vocals on one side of the two-parter "Turkey Hop." A Robins track remained unreleased on single, "I Found Out My Troubles," being eventually released on LP in 1978.
The final Robins / Johnny Otis band session for Savoy took place on February 13th 1950 at which four more tracks were cut. Session and original release details can be read below.
The Robins had a fall out with Johnny Otis over their fee for the recording session and thus never did get to tour with the successful Johnny Otis Rhythm and Blues Caravan show which featured the band, Little Esther and Mel Walker. By June 1950 The Robins had quit Savoy and signed with John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood label. The story continues - on Marv Goldberg's website! For a shortened version see the Be Bop Wino post Johnny Otis Presents.
Original release info:
Savoy 726 - If I Didn't Love You So / If It's So Baby - The Robins - January 1950. B-Side, "If It's So Baby" # 14 in Billboard best selling R&B records chart, 4th February 1950.
Savoy 732 - The Turkey Hop Part 1 / The Turkey Hop Part 2 - February 1950. One side was an instrumental by the Johnny Otis Orchestra, the other side had a vocal by The Robins.
Savoy 738 - There Ain't No Use Beggin' / Our Romance Is Gone - The Robins With The Johnny Otis Quintette - April 1950.
Savoy 752 - I'm Living O.K. / There's Rain In My Eyes - The Robins with The Johnny Otis Quintette - June 1950.
Savoy 762 - I'm Through / You're Fine But Not My Kind - The Robins - September 1950.
Unreleased on single - I Found Out My Troubles. First released on Savoy 2LP set "The Original Johnny Otis Show" (SJL 2230) in 1978.
"If It's So Baby," "If I Didn't Love You So," "Our Romance Is Gone" and "There's Rain In My Eyes" were recorded on December 1st, 1949 in Los Angeles. Personnel: Johnny Otis (vibes); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums); The Robins (vocal group).
"The Turkey Hop Part 2" was recorded on January 11th, 1950 in Lose Angeles. Personnel: John Anderson (trumpet); Floyd Turnham (alto sax); Big Jay McNeely (tenor sax); Bob McNeely (baritone sax); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Johnny Otis or Leard Bell (drums); The Robins (vocal group).
"I Found Out My Troubles" was also recorded on January 11th, 1950 in Los Angeles. Personnel: possibly Big Jay McNeely (tenor sax); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums); The Robins (vocal group).
"I'm Through," "I'm Living O.K.," "There Ain't No Use Beggin'," and "You're Fine But Not My Kind" were recorded on February 13th, 1950 in Los Angeles. Personnel: Johnny Otis (vibes); Devonia Williams (piano); Pete Lewis (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums); The Robins (vocal group).