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Was it or not?

Released, that is.

If so, WHEN was it released? There’s no physical copies to be found anywhere and even the compilers of exhaustive Jesse Belvin compilations and websites admit it may never have come out officially.

But we think we have it figured out… or at least have a plausible theory which makes it worth looking it.

Then again, what REALLY makes it worth looking at is the artist writing and singing the song and we weren’t going to pass up another chance to take a look at one of rock’s most talented rising stars.


Gonna Find My Baby
Here’s the basic information floating around, much of it dating back thirty or more years.

Like many Los Angeles kids born and raised on rock ‘n’ roll it was inevitable that Jesse Belvin would wind up at John Dolphin’s Recorded in Hollywood label to cut some songs for a handful of dirty crumpled bills.

They’d use that money to fill their gas tank, maybe buy wine or weed, take their girl out, or… as Dolphin himself probably hoped… spend that money in his record store on the latest releases.

No contracts. No hassles. No obligations.

A studio habitue like Belvin would’ve done this anyway at some point, but reportedly what prompted him to head down to Central and Vernon was that he was annoyed that Specialty Records wasn’t racing to put out his and Marvin Phillips’ duet of Dream Girl, and so he impatiently cut it as a solo side for Recorded In Hollywood who also issued theirs last month, probably right before Specialty rush-released their own so as to not miss out.

That much we know for sure.

We also know at the same time he cut three other songs, one of which was My Love Comes Tumbling Down, which Dolphin scheduled for Recorded In Hollywood 412… a copy of which few, if any, have ever seen.

(Though Dolphin’s numbering system was cockeyed enough to explain that number being far off from the other Belvin side – 120 – which itself was well removed from those in the 230’s that were simultaneously released, it could also be that someone just was sloppy with the paperwork and it was actually RIH 124, just a mild case of dyslexia when copying the information… but I digress).

But one clue that has mostly gone unreported is that the contemporary information available shows that in the last week of 1952 John Dolphin and Franklin Kort, who handled the label, bought a full page ad in Cash Box touting their latest releases, one of which was THIS song.

That doesn’t positively ensure it was widely available to the public, but it does make it likely that this at least got pressed… maybe held back when the Dream Girls were in a battle for supremacy and he might not want to take sales away from a rising hit by the same artist which he stood to benefit from.

But the final bit of information we have is in knowing that the big allure of his Dolphin’s Of Hollywood record store was the live in store radio show and considering Belvin’s local popularity you have to assume that he had this played on the air, maybe pressed up in small quantities as a bonus giveaway – buy two records and get a free Jesse Belvin side unavailable otherwise.

Heck, that might’ve been a plot to get the RIH version of Dream Girl on the charts by pulling in added sales, who knows?

But what we can surmise from all this confusion is that while it may not have been shipped out to other stores, let alone other states, this record was heard by at least some segment of the public in the waning days of 1952… and oh how lucky those people were to hear it.


They Must’ve Come Around Through The Woods
The fact this was cut with Maxwell Davis makes this more than a demo, in case that’s what you were thinking it might ultimately deserve to be classified as if it wasn’t in widespread release.

With Davis on sax and Red Callender on bass you have two of the most prolific and talented sessionists in Los Angeles and Davis in particular shines on this playing a sultry solo following the prancing rhythm that the entire band contributes behind Jesse Belvin with piano and drums loping behind him like a friendly dog on a walk through the woods.

Though Belvin was notorious for making up songs as he went along, his knack for coming up with both catchy melodies and clever lyrics off the top of his head being legendary, My Love Comes Tumbling Down shows a little bit more narrative structure than that type of situation would suggest, giving you another reason to think this was a more meticulously worked out record as opposed to something just dashed off quickly.

However, it’s not hard to guess a source of his inspiration as the Clovers’ The Middle Of The Night, a title which Belvin uses to kick off this song, even giving it a remotely similar staggered tempo for awhile before easing into a more melodious croon that lets him stretch out his vocal chords, alternately climbing and sliding with that honeyed voice of his.

Since The Clovers song didn’t come out until February ’52, it’d make it kind of hard for Belvin to have cut this in early January, as erroneous reports dating back to the early 1990’s suggested. Though we already poked plenty of holes in that information, this is yet one more thing to sink that theory.

But while being inspired by someone else is perfectly natural, Belvin quickly takes this to a far different place with an original plot that provides plenty of mystery of its own.


My Baby Wasn’t Around
If you want an example of creative writing, look no further than Jesse Belvin’s unusual narrative here.

Ostensibly it’s a song about a guy missing his girl which is as common a trope as you’ll find over the years in rock ‘n’ roll. Usually though it’s framed in one of two ways, most often due to a breakup that was probably his own fault, or because of a physical remove that is presented as being only temporary, such as him being overseas fighting a war, or her cheating on him even if that’s more implied than stated outright.

That latter explanation might actually be the case here as well, but Belvin crafts such a wild tale – perhaps to salve his own ego or explain her absence to his friends and family – that it becomes something else altogether. My Love Comes Tumbling Down finds his girl has either slipped away with other suitors, suggesting he and her were never as tight as he had hoped… or she was abducted!

The latter possibility is humorous without trying for laughs and reveals itself in a great stop-time bridge wherein Jesse, who’s more dismayed by it than angry or vengeful, breaks down the plot in fantastical ways where lurking marauders roaming the countryside have taken her, probably fiendishly twirling their mustaches while tying her to the railroad tracks or preparing to cut her in half at the old sawmill.

The way it’s done you can overlook these outlandish possibilities altogether and still enjoy the song, but if taken literally it adds an enormous amount of color to the song, while at the same time revealing his stubborn pride that he’d concoct such a wild theory to cover for his fault in her leaving him for another. But if she was taken against her will he’s taking it rather well, though admittedly with Davis’s solo following this information I might not want to leave to try and find her either, at least until Max packed the horn away and said goodbye.

Sure enough, that’s what Jesse does once the solo ends, telling us he’s determined to find her in one of the more inventive lines he comes up with here, vowing to go through 99 pair of shoes prowling the streets looking for her.

We never do get a resolution, whether she was discovered wandering around downtown without shoes or money, or if he busted down some other guy’s door and found her happily playing house… heck, for all we know maybe she was at Dolphin’s Of Hollywood, asking to buy the new Jesse Belvin record, which as we know may or may not be available for purchase.

If that’s the case let’s hope those guys that kidnapped her brought their weapons inside Dolphin’s store and ransacked the place for lost treasures like this. Then at least it’d be a story with a happy ending for whoever got their hands on another gem of a record from this immensely talented kid.


(Visit the Artist page of Jesse Belvin for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)