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REGAL 3268; MAY 1950



If you were to take the title of this record at face value there still remains the question of just who it is intended for.

Is Chubby Newsome telling us that thanks to her declining commercial fortunes of late that she herself is on the lookout for new job opportunities?

Are those at Regal Records suggesting that she may want to start looking elsewhere for gainful employment?

Or – if there’s any justice in the world – is Newsome telling those who are supposed to be working alongside her to help make these records appealing that if they don’t step up their effort then THEY had better start scouring the Help Wanted section because she’s gonna dump them for better qualified personnel?


I’ll Soon Stop Helping You
Though one might try and argue that Chubby Newsome’s appeal – in person for sure, but emphasized on her early records as well – boiled down to her knockout figure and the coy sexual flirtation she embodied in her songs, the truth is she has proven herself to be quite a good singer, a pretty decent songwriter and… an unfortunate victim of her own early success.

Whether it was a record company seeking to duplicate her debut – Hip Shakin’ Mama (the first national hit by a female rock artist) – with like-minded ensuing releases, or if was the public who were less receptive to her crafting a more diverse image in her later material, the fact is she’s been somewhat snake-bit over the last year.

Consistently good efforts have met with increasingly less interest and now, paired up with new collaborators in the studio led by pianist Howard Biggs, who co-writes this, she finds them pulling up short when it comes to giving the appropriate musical backing to elevate her performances as of late, virtually ensuring she can’t turn her fortunes around very easily.

That’s the case with Better Find A Job as well, as its musical backing is decidedly old fashioned which does Newsome no favors in selling the attitude she’s required to put on display.

Biggs may have nailed the lyrical perspective with this just fine, but he utterly fails to marry that to an appropriate track that uses polite restraint rather than the muscularity something like this demands. As a result we get horns gently swaying rather than harshly riffing and the aesthetic divide becomes a gaping chasm for Newsome to have to try and straddle.


When I Hit That Door
As always Newsome does a good job with her own role, for while the musical backing is reminiscent of something from 1946, Chubby’s vocal declarations on Better Find A Job are entirely up to date, delivering her lines with sass and smirking confidence.

It helps of course that the words are right up her alley, disgusted with her lazy man, as she’s the one clearly wearing the pants in the family, taking charge and laying down the law, yet not in any way coming across as domineering or embodying the cartoonish image of a battle-axe housewife that was popular back then in certain circles.

Instead Newsome hints at her most potent weapon to get his ass off the couch, telling him he only seems to perk up when she (and those luscious hips of hers) walks in the door.

Her barbs fly fast and furious throughout the song, delivered in a reliable stop-time semi-spoken delivery that allows her to sell each one without risking a missed punchline. Credit Biggs with coming up with some good put-downs, the best of which finds Newsome chiding her fella for pawning his suit and subsequently blowing the loot which leads to her laughing at him being ”lootless and suitless”, then gets in a further dig at the holes in his underwear.

Of course this begs the question why she stays with this louse, especially when Newsome would have no trouble picking up a – pardon our own pun – suitable replacement.

But three minute rock songs often didn’t take a larger world view of such things provided the record had some wit, which this does, some memorable lines (ditto) and allows the artist to use – and expand on – their own persona to bolster the reception.

Unfortunately they should’ve also remembered how much easier those tasks would be with a band that didn’t let the holes in their own underwear show.

If You Don’t Help Me
The music and vocals of a record are intended to work hand in hand to present a fuller picture of the song in question. When they’re simpatico you may not even notice how strong each of them are individually because the combined effect is so strong, but when they’re uneven then the weaker aspect becomes glaring, undermining the strength of the one holding up its end of the bargain.

While the musical backing on Better Find A Job avoids clashing outright with the rest of the package, it adds virtually nothing of value and in a way detracts from Newsome’s credibility.

The problem boils down to the lack of rhythm on the track… from the use of cymbals rather than drums, to the absence of a solid left hand on the piano, the non-existent bass, even the composition of the horn section where just a baritone sax delivering timely emphatic honks could’ve changed the impression for the better. The fact that it’s Newsome herself who provides the most punch by dropping down the scale at the end of her lines to hammer home the gravity of the charges she’s laying out, tells you that Biggs was the wrong man for this job.

The one component that has the potential to swing things back in his favor is the tenor sax solo, something which has redeemed many a wayward record in the past, but even this, while helping to keep the musical raft afloat, doesn’t quite affix an engine to that raft and sail for deeper waters. Instead it floats with the tide, using a nice tone and playing with some admirable urgency at times, but not providing enough of a kick to really elevate this.

When Newsome announces “You better watch out or you’ll be in the street” one can only hope she shot Biggs a nasty glance on the studio floor as she delivered the line because he damn sure deserved it, just as Newsome deserved a lot better than this once again.


You’ve Got A Good Thing But You Ain’t Gonna Have Long
Though the grades handed out here and not meant to be taken as anything more than an easily referenced summation of my own subjective opinions on a record, there IS a method in assessing the work that over time should start making some sense, even to those who may disagree with the final numbers.

If grading Better Find A Job on the basis of Chubby Newsome’s contributions… or even for that matter the song as written by Biggs and co-writer Joe Thomas… then it’d be flirting with a (7), which is really good, or nearer the high end of her consistent output in other words.

Yet the musical backing, especially mid-way through 1950 when there’s no longer any excuse for being this oblivious to rock’s most basic requirements when it comes to establishing a backbeat, the score would be about a (3) and that’s even with a halfway decent saxophone part thrown in.

So when trying to come to a final score the urge is to say that two sevens plus one three divided by three comes to just over five and a half and thus let’s not penalize the artist who of course is the one whose career hangs in the balance on all of these records and be generous and give her a (6).

That’s what I was going to do at first, but then I tried putting myself back in the position of being a kid staring at the jukebox in May 1950 when school just let out and you don’t have nickels to spare. With just one selection to make you scan your options and stop when seeing Chubby Newsome’s name. You know you might be unlikely to get a truly great record by this point, but you also know you haven’t ever gotten a bad one from her either and so valuing that consistency you push her number and this is what you get…

Newsome is everything you could ask for on a song that should have no trouble connecting with you based on its lyrical content, and yet I can’t help but think you’d focus more on what let you down than on what it delivered.

At a certain point the benefit of the doubt has to stop being given out for mistakes that are so easily identifiable that the record company has no excuse for missing them. It’s your nickel they’re after and those five cents need to be earned. With this, all they’re going to be getting is a penny a point and though in the big scheme of things that score is alright – and still consistent as far as Newsome’s track record goes – but what’s MORE consistent is how everybody around her constantly lets her down.


(Visit the Artist page of Chubby Newsom for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)