Unlike other major vocal groups from the late 1940s to mid 1950s period (The Orioles, The Ravens, The Dominoes, The Robins, etc), The Cardinals have never received the treatment they deserve from the reissue companies. Some of their tracks have turned up on compilations of Atlantic R&B sides such as “Don’t It Sound Good” and “Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974”, but the only album I can find that is dedicated exclusively to The Cardinals is a 10 track CD on the Collectables label.
Which is where Joan comes to our rescue with this 21 track compilation of sides ripped mainly from 78 rpm discs. There are also a few rips from 1950s vinyl, I’m sure, probably from track 17 onwards, judging by the sound quality. Ah, sound quality! Listening to these sides took me back to the days when, as a wee boy, I used to listen to a pile of old 78 rpm records belonging to my parents. The King Cole Trio, The Ink Spots, Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Art Tatum, Spike Jones & His City Slickers, and as it was Scotland, Harry Lauder and Jimmy Shand. I’d forgotten about the constant hissing from these big ten inchers, possibly caused by the fact that they were played using a needle attached to a pickup arm that weighed half a ton.
So what I’m saying here is that you mustn’t expect good sound quality. Even some of the vinyl is pretty scratched. That, and the fact that the rips were made at 80 kbps. And they can’t be re-ripped as Joan has sold her 78s. Woe, woe and thrice woe.
Despite the caveats, the sound quality is perfectly listenable. I play my computer sound through my HiFi via a direct USB connection and I also use sound enhancing software, so I’ve got reasonable sound quality from these files. Good enough to recognise that the Cardinals were one hell of a group.
You can read the Cardinals story here:
It’s an article from edition number 4 of “Doowop Nation” an Ezine put online by JC Marion. It’s a website I’ve been looking at for years. It’s a treasure trove of articles on all aspects of 1940s/1950s R&B. The home page is here:
The Cardinals, like the Orioles, were a Baltimore group who originally styled themselves on The Inkspots but moved to a more R&B leaning sound when they started recording for Atlantic in 1951. Their first discs sold well, but disc number three, “The Wheel of Fortune” was a smash hit. The fantastic lead tenor vocals of Ernest Warren were a feature of their sound which raised them above many of their rivals. Although they recorded for Atlantic until 1956 they only issued 12 singles. The rise of the teenage vocal groups probably contributed to their demise, and they went the way of the 78 rpm format.
Let me finish this post with a plea to anyone from the reissue companies who happens by – please, please, please bring out a set which does justice to The Cardinals.
Ripped from shellac & 50s vinyl at 80 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon
Download from here:
1. Shouldn't I Know
2. Please Don't Leave Me This Way
3. Pretty Baby Blues
4. I'll Always Love You
5. She Rocks
6. The Bump
7. Lovie Darling
8. You Are My Only Love
9. The Door Is Still Open
11. Lovely Girl
12. Here Goes My Heart To You
13. Off Shore
14. Choo Choo
15. I Won't Make You Cry Anymore
16. The End Of My Story
17. Wheel Of Fortune
18. Come Back My Love
19. Two Things I Love
20. Near You
21. One Love
The Cardinals Singles
- Shouldn't I Know c/w Please Don't Leave Me (Atlantic 938) 1951
- Pretty Baby Blues c/w I'll Always Love You (Atlantic 952) 1951
- Wheel Of Fortune c/w Kiss Me Baby (Atlantic 958) Jan 1952
- She Rocks c/w The Bump (Atlantic 972) 1952
- Lovie Darling c/w You Are My Only Love (Atlantic 995) 1953
- Please Baby c/w Under A Blanket Of Blue (Atlantic 1025) 1954
- The Door Is Still Open c/w Misirlou (Atlantic 1054) 1955
- Come Back My Love c/w Two Things I Love (Atlantic 1067) 1955
- Lovely Girl c/w Here Goes My Heart To You (Atlantic 1079) 1955
- Off Shore c/w Choo Choo (Atlantic 1090) 1956
- I Won't Make You Cry Anymore c/w The End Of The Story (Atlantic 1101) Aug 1956
- One Love c/w Near You (Atlantic 1126) end 1956
James "Shep" Sheppard born 24 September 1935 - James "Shep" Sheppard (September 24, 1935 – January 24, 1970) was an American R&B and Doo-Wop singer and songwriter. He was the lead singer of the vocal ...
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