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DECCA 48212; MAY 1951



Life and death… here today, gone tomorrow… time is short… the end is near.

Most people at one time or another have thought of those things, then quickly try and put them out of their mind, telling themselves death is far off in the distance and nothing to worry about, yet deep down the fear subsists because you never truly know when your number will be up.

Cecil Gant has already checked out months before this record was released, yet he recorded it just days before he passed away and that has the unsettling effect of turning an otherwise innocuous party song about not caring about the future into something a lot more ominous than it was ever intended to be.


Wait Until Tomorrow Night
Admit it… you’re gonna kind miss Cecil Gant when he’s gone for good… gone in the commercial record sense, as in no more new releases coming out.

I realize that’s a little strange to admit since his whiskey scarred voice and crude song craft are hardly the most desirable traits in an artist and tend to make his catalog a series of seemingly half-finished sketches rather than fully conceived records, but there’s still something reassuring about seeing him pop up from time to time… a sense that he wasn’t letting little things like a lack of more discernible talent stop him from a prolific career.

But when you go through life with a laissez-faire attitude towards things such as building a solid musical reputation, not to mention taking care of your own health and well-being, your casual assurance in telling people Don’t You Worry fooled no one and the betting odds of Gant making it to the next day grew more precarious as time went on.

Even as we know that he wasn’t long for this world when cutting this song he somehow sounds so full of life here that you might just believe – as he surely did – that he was gonna live forever.

Do You Hear Me?
No matter what kind of weak song structure Cecil Gant tried there was always one hole card he had to play… he was a heckuva pianist.

He wasn’t fancy by any means, most of what he played was direct and to the point, but he had the ability to make the instrument seem like half a band on its own… something he often was forced to do because there WAS no band on a lot of his sessions.

Here he’s got sidemen however, and good ones at that, but his piano is still out front playing an aggressive choppy pattern that sets the tone for what follows. In one way he’s basically doing two jobs here, pianist and drummer and if anything it’s the latter that’s more important since the melodic aspects of the former are downplayed to a large degree, a few disjointed riffs – catchy, but brief.

Thankfully once that intro wraps up the drummer and bassist keep that rhythm going thereby earning their meager pay while Gant switches to playing the fills and accent notes, but the most immediate impression this record leaves on you is how assertive it is.

He’s not asking you to forget your troubles, not imploring Don’t You Worry to ease your conscience, he’s practically demanding it of you.

His reasons are typically skimpy, as Gant was never much one for deep philosophical treatises. Instead he’s merely riding an emotional wave built on his overall worldview, one that basically comes down to the idea that worrying does you no good and deprives you of the joy of living while you’re here, so live it up… all the while certain that it’s the right mentality to have in spite of its obvious shortcomings in his own life.

It may not be sensible – in life or in music – but it’s admirable in its own way, being so focused on just one thing, and his conviction carries this record well past what should be it’s obvious limitations. He keeps repeating these instructions, the only variance being which syllable he emphasizes each time through, yet his enthusiasm never lags.

Look Out Now, Let’s Jam Awhile
Though nowhere near as dynamic or good, the basic concept behind this is much like Little Richard’s classic Keep A Knockin’, wherein one lyrical idea is delivered with a force that doesn’t let up, all conveyed with an insistent vocal, piano, drums driving the bus.

Whereas that song had saxophones to take the pressure off and add a new element, on Don’t You Worry Gant has Grady Martin’s guitar which adds an interesting and unexpected texture to this, playing almost sound effect notes at times before switching to a more standard approach.

Though there are no horns here which undoubtedly would’ve made this a lot more explosive, we DO get a bass solo of all things and by the end all of the instruments are swirling around together with Gant leading the party and having a ball, unconcerned as always about what tomorrow may bring.

For a record that was shaping up to be downright simplistic the arrangement down the stretch shows some fairly impressive creativity. It may not be able to turn a barren lyrical message, one expecting hollow optimism to prevail by sheer force of will, into a brilliant record or anything, but this is more effective than it has any right to be and a reminder of why Cecil Gant was a welcome presence on the scene, his shortcomings non-withstanding.


Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
The passing of time naturally means those who meant something in years gone by will cease to matter, usually before they actually pass away.

In rock ‘n’ roll’s case that meant artists of past generations were losing relevance by 1951. Bing Crosby’s twenty plus years at the top of the musical heap was over and though that position may not have been taken by a rock act just yet, that day wasn’t far off.

Cecil Gant had been one of the few early rock stars to be a big name prior to rock’s arrival. It was a brief peak in 1944 but he rode it for the rest of his career and when rock ‘n’ roll came along he jumped on board, knowing it wasn’t going to last but determined to enjoy the ride to the musical cemetery.

He never seemed to take any of it very seriously, singing and playing to earn enough money to indulge in his vices, but he had a good time while doing it and I’m sure he’d want to tell you, Don’t You Worry, wherever I’m headed in the great beyond I’m going to have a good time there as well!

Hearing him say this, seemingly from beyond the grave, might be a little disconcerting for some, but not if you buy into the main premise, which is… “you’re not here for a long time, only a good time”.

Cecil Gant had a good time and with this, against all odds, he also had a pretty good record to serve as an epitaph.


(Visit the Artist page of Cecil Gant for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)