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We started the review of the hit side of this single by saying “The problem with breaking out early in your career with a record that is utterly original and unique for the style is that you are not going to be allowed to follow a traditional career path after that.”

Well, here’s the flip side of that, literally as in the flip of the single, but also the flip-side of that particular dilemma, which is when you DO come up with something more traditional in nature it is likely to fall upon deaf ears because people want and expect something more unusual out of you.

That causes solid records like this which feature more conventional singing and a storyline that doesn’t require you to dress in black to hear to be overlooked and underappreciated.


Everyday I Cry
Listening to his nasal tone and sad sack delivery, even when someone is not being lowered six feet into the ground, you’d never peg Little Caesar as a singing star.

He could carry a tune okay maybe, but he wasn’t very sure-handed about it, which sort of tells you that in order to become a star, even a fleeting one which is what he’s just become with the popularity of Goodbye Baby, he did need another way to be noticed, hence the genius of making records that were presented almost as if they were radio dramas which gave him his two biggest sellers.

But it’s fair to warn you that he’s not going to have any more records that achieve that level of commercial response and should he continue to mine the same subject again and again he’s going to become rock ‘n’ roll’s version of the grim reaper.

So in order to try and carve out a more lasting career he’s going to need to prove he can deliver a song without having vultures circling overhead waiting to pick apart a carcass he leaves behind at the end of each record.

To that end If I Could See My Baby is a pretty good attempt to show he’s a legitimate singer and songwriter who’s not merely a walking advertisement for The Grimm Brothers Mortuary on La Cienga Boulevard.

Though this one is hardly very optimistic in its own right, meaning I suppose you could present this as sort of a prelude to some macabre scene to follow if he doesn’t get to see his sweetheart, there’s no sign that anything potentially fatal is going to occur here, as we can reasonably assume he’s just another guy who is down in the dumps for typical romantic problems.

But considering his track record in these matters, maybe we should keep all blunt objects and sharp instruments away from him just the same.

I Sure Would Be Satisfied
On the other side of this we praised the work of the unnamed female protagonist of his drama whose acting job was so convincing we were creating awards to retroactively give her for such a great performance.

Here we have another duet of sorts, though one a little bit more commonplace in music, as it’s the bandleader, Que Martyn, who is deserving of plaudits for his role in this record.

With Little Caesar’s unusual song construction in those death-records, Martyn’s job had been more discreet by nature. In those he and the band were providing ambiance but doing so in a way that couldn’t be front and center which would distract from the main action on the screen.

But on If I Could See My Baby it’s Martyn’s saxophone which essentially is having a conversation with Caesar as the latter bemoans the distance (emotional as much as physical) from his estranged girlfriend. The moaning tones he gives us are essentially voicing the inner turmoil that Caesar feels and doing so in ways that are even more revealing than the words being used to express those emotions.

Their back and forth is so slow, so mesmerizing, that it pulls you in just as much as a more dramatically gruesome tale would, not because you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the axe to fall (don’t give them any ideas though), but because it of how effectively Martin’s playing – along with a distant organ and methodical drumming – reflects the singer’s mood.

Because of this it is far more musical than Caesar’s more notorious songs, yet it’s still not something you’d dance to, or even hum along with, despite that melody being strong enough in its own right to be fairly memorable.

Caesar’s own dire outlook however prevents you from getting any superficial joy out of it, as even if he’s not quite at the end of his rope, he’s definitely shimming down it as the record goes along.

The story does in fact show that Caesar probably needs to be on anti-depressants because this poor guy sees the bad in every situation… or it could be he seeks out those who will never fail to live up to his dour outlook on life. We never find out why the girl has started distancing herself from him (though it’s surely not hard to guess), but we don’t need explanations for the song to work because it’s less about the plot points than his internal reaction to them.

By the end he’s still on his feet, which I suppose is progress. One day… and one record… at a time, my man.


Please Tell Me, What Am I Gonna Do?
The weird thing about this single is both sides are quite good, yet the “better” side is one you might want to listen to less than this one, not only because this has more of a musical structure to latch onto, but also because the other side runs the risk of losing its impact the more you hear it.

Still, it’d be foolish to say that If I Could See My Baby is exactly a candidate for frequent spins itself. It might not be morbid, but it is depressing and that more or less eliminates it as a good song for parties, driving to school or when trying to make out with your sweetheart.

Yet it does show that Little Caesar had more going for him than just a single good idea, one which would soon grow old and less appealing the more it was used.

If we could just get him to stop fixating on his bleak love life so that he can let the sun shine in again, he might even prove capable of writing a happy song!

Until then you just hope somebody slips him the number for the Samaritans so he can talk to somebody and get the help he clearly needs.

Hey, we want him to live too, because that way he can keep making records because this shows once again that he’s got a knack for delivering pretty good ones.


(Visit the Artist page of Little Caesar for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)