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BLU 115; NOVEMBER 1950



After unloading their entire arsenal on the top side of this single – a pile driving musical track with multiple first rate sax solos by Bumps Myers and topped with a slam-bang vocal by Bobby Nunn that is running on the same high octane fuel the band is using – there may not be much left in the tank for anything else.

This was especially true considering the circumstances… Nunn was a member of an established vocal group, The Robins, and merely masquerading on these sides by bandleader Myers. As far as we know they never toured together for any length of time, had no prior association and may very well have been sort of thrown together at the last minute by Dootsie Williams, owner of Blu Records and former trumpeter of renown.

Yet while there’s no real hope this side could match the ramshackle excitement or deceptive quality of the other side, any time you get skilled artists in a room together there’s always a good chance you’ll get something worth listening to out of the deal.


Then You Throw All My Money Away
It’s strange that Myers didn’t simply get an instrumental for this side of the record since it was being credited to him and not Nunn. Truth be told, unless you saw the label itself you’d assume this was a Bobby Nunn record.

That’s not the worst thing of course, since he’s a good singer with a lot of character in his delivery, but as we’ve seen in the past Myers was more than capable of serving up some good instrumentals and even if the market for that kind of thing has cooled a bit, there’s never a compelling reason, commercial or otherwise, NOT to showcase somebody doing what they excel at in music.

So for that reason alone I’m Telling You Baby comes across as a sign that this release was originally intended for Nunn but perhaps contractual concerns from his Robins association prevented him from getting more than what amounts to a guest star credit.

That’s just speculation, but unlike on the stellar I’m Clappin’ And Shoutin’ where Myers’ horn got ample time in the spotlight and left an indelible impression on listeners with his explosive solos, thereby earning him at least a share of the lead artist credit, on this side his contributions are rather limited in nature.

But then again, though he dominates the run time, Bobby Nunn’s performance here is somewhat pedestrian too, so maybe Myers getting credit was by default.


Everything You Do
Though this record starts of with a snorting opening horn riff that has you expecting another uptempo raver, it quickly calms down and settles into a mid-paced lope which at least sets it apart from the frantic top side if nothing else.

When Nunn steps to the mic he’s again using his preferred baritone voice but on slower songs it tended not to have the same impact as when he could let things fly. Instead he sounds a bit congested and while that may conceivably fit the theme of I’m Telling You Baby, which is a declaration of a breakup by a guy who sounds as if he’s being forced into it by circumstance, it’s still a tough thing for a listener to immediately connect with.

It certainly doesn’t help that the lyrics are vague generalities of his complaints rather than pointed criticisms. There’s clearly good cause for this split but without some more vivid details we’re unmoved by his plight.

The fact the song has two extended solos – which we’ll get to in a minute – means they have no choice but to skimp even more on the story, jumping from the immediate announcement that “You and me are through” right to a few broad grievances before delivering just one example in the final refrain just as it’s about to wrap up. Honestly, if this HAD been an instrumental you wouldn’t have learned that much less about this woman’s flaws than you do here.

At least Nunn’s carrying the melody well enough and he’s got a slightly rhythmic bounce to his delivery which helps a bit, but there’s just not much for him to work with here which in turn makes this a rather generic performance. It certainly doesn’t sound out of place or particularly subpar for 1950, but it sure doesn’t do anything to stand out either.

About To Blow My Top
The musical side of the equation fares slightly better… maybe even well enough to recommend the record… with some reservations.

To be fair there’s nothing contained here in the arrangement or the performances themselves that could be deemed a poor choice or badly played. Myers was too good a saxophonist to fall short in his execution and because the song is so basic in its construction there’s also no risk of it losing its way with an errant flute solo or the unwelcome inclusion of a kazoo to shake things up.

So we can say with a fair amount of veracity that I’m Telling You Baby is a pretty decent sounding record in that all of the components fit the style of the song and the arrangement itself. It’s emblematic of the era and suited to Nunn’s voice as well.

But it’s not special in any way. It leaves no lasting impression on you no matter how many times you hear it. There’s some elements that are certainly different than on the much more vibrant top side, the piano solo for one, but they don’t grab you and refuse to let go as you’d hope they might.

You appreciate it all as its playing – the barrelhouse piano is certainly going to draw some attention – but you don’t necessarily relish it in the way you do a track that is sparkling with creativity.

This is more of a by the numbers approach, deliberate in its choices, efficient in their performances (Myers’ sax has a very nice tone in the slower passages and yet doesn’t go for broke as he speeds up towards the end), but the ideas themselves are hardly captivating.


Never Satisfied No Matter What I Do
This is another one of those tracks where the final score – irrelevent though it should be in the big scheme of things – is gnawing on me more than it should.

Certainly in passing I’m Telling You Baby would seem to exemplify an “average record” for 1950. It contains all of the expected pieces for just such a song and they’re assembled with reasonable skill. Put this in the midst of a randomly selected rock playlist for the year and you won’t notice its inclusion… for good or for bad.

Yet when studying it closer on repeated listen that mediocrity somehow seems to be falling short of expectations rather than meeting the bare minimum qualifications for average.

I guess it’s all in your perspective.

But sometimes holding artists to a standard beyond the median is asking too much. If the names on the record were different, or if the A-side wasn’t as good as it is, then this would hardly seem like a disappointment. It’d never have a chance for an above average grade, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be considered below average either.

So in the end it evens out and since you’re not asking for your money back on this side that’s enough for it to skate by.


(Visit the Artist pages of Bumps Myers and Bobby Nunn for the complete archive of their respective records reviewed to date)