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If you came here to read a thorough detailed assessment of the song listed above you may be slightly disappointed.

Not that hearing the song itself wouldn’t disappoint you enough as it was, but rather we’re only going to be delving into its contents rather briefly because we have other more pressing matters to discuss as a result of this release.

However if you’re one of our deranged bloodthirsty readers who look forward to us viciously attacking record company owners for their ineptitude, eviscerating what’s left of their tattered legacies in the process until their carcasses are battered beyond recognition, then sit back, grab some popcorn and settle in for another merciless beat-down of Jerry Blaine, a/k/a The Human Punching Bag.


All My Life
Back In August, Jubilee Records had released their first single upon signing (Little) Sylvia Vanderpool, now 17, by pairing a racy original, Drive Daddy Drive with a cover of the pop hit I Went To Your Wedding… a typically inane decision in that rock fans didn’t want pop music, even done by someone as captivating as Vanderpool, while pop listeners didn’t need an alternative to the options they already had at their disposal in that field.

At a certain point they realized the pop tune wasn’t getting them any spins, nor was it adequately showing what Sylvia was really good at (though she sang it better than Patti Page, who had the pop hit with it, for whatever that’s worth to ya) and so they swapped it out for an original called I Found Somebody To Love, which Vanderpool co-wrote and was a very good rock song which was much more suited to her talents.

Of course it wasn’t entirely original as we’ll find out soon enough, but had it actually been released in August 1952 then it’d be another story altogether.

It turns out – to the best of our knowledge – that song had been recorded well after that, as it was first scheduled as the flip side to A Million Tears, the top half of THIS single, Jubilee 5100, released in late October, as evidenced by the promo copy shown here.

But it immediately got pulled – probably it never was actually issued commercially on Jubilee 5100 – and only then did they go back slap it on Jubilee 5093 as the new B-side to what was now a three month old release… something they touted in ads in the trade papers starting in mid-November.

The reason for this was because I Found Somebody To Love bore a striking resemblance to the recently release by The Dominoes, I’d Be Satisfied, which was already climbing the charts and they wanted to capitalize on the (intentional) similarity while it made sense to do so… strike while the iron is hot and all that. Because that Billy Ward written song had only been laid down in September, if Jubilee had in fact released “Somebody” before that then Ward would’ve been the one guilty of some subtle plagiarism.

Instead it’s probably Sylvia and Buddy Lucas who were drawing from it as soon as The Dominoes record came out, but perhaps afraid that it would still be good enough to supersede the rather dull pop-leaning top side, paired it instead with a more rocking A-side already on the market, perhaps providing a late boost to its sales without hurting the chances for their latest single in the process.

All of which brings us to the official B-side of Jubilee 5100, Don’t Blame My Heart, a song that, like the top half, is pop-slanted and far weaker than the rocking song – ripped-off or not – that they essentially confined to commercial purgatory because they couldn’t make up their minds what to do and rather than leave well enough alone with both singles, they managed to find a way to screw up each of them.


Try As I May
Now the song in question today is hardly worth that much time or trouble – for them, for you and surely not for us – but since we’re all here anyway we might as well talk about it a little, even though under normal circumstances we could’ve plausibly left it out for stylistic reasons if nothing else.

This is yet another song that aims to position one of their young female rock artists as a potential crossover act, a game plan which already derailed Edna McGriff’s promising career and now threatens to do the same to Sylvia Vanderpool.

Anyone coming to defense of Jerry Blaine in this regard will be directed to look at what those efforts did for Sylvia on the top side, A Million Tears, which DID draw pop interest… not for HER, but rather as a song to be covered by genuine pop acts, most of them male and most of them white, none of them actually getting a hit out of it either.

That’s the fallicy that these record label owners constantly fall prey to, the idea that an attractive black female artist singing in a milder fashion than their rocking sides, and surrounded by an arrangement that is pleasant and discreet, will somehow eradicate centuries of racism in America and allow them to be treated as equals on the airwaves in 1952 America where segregation is still the law of the land.

The fact of the matter is – as was borne out a few years later – the only plausible way to overrun such entrenched opposition to cultural equality wouldn’t be to kowtow to current pop tastes, hoping to show black artists could be just as saccharine sounding as their white contemporaries, because then what exactly would you be offering they couldn’t already get from their preferred racial ideal?

Instead you had to show what was radically different – and far, FAR better – that was coming from Black America and hope the power of the music would reach a younger, slightly less bigoted, white constituency who would gravitate towards that music, not just because it sounded new and different and exciting to their virgin ears, but also because it’d piss their parents off without getting them cut out of mommy and daddy’s will in the bargain.

In other words Don’t Blame My Heart was not going to do this in the least, not with the wedding-march organ that opens it up followed by Sylvia having to blandly put across sentiments that are so hopelessly sappy that rumor has it they were rejected by Hallmark for their Valentine’s Day cards because they didn’t want to risk a lawsuit from chocolate companies when people threw up their candy after reading these words.

But hey, at least this shows that you don’t have to be Caucasian after all to be able to sing dreadful mush in sincere fashion… so that’s something I guess.

Truthfully, Vanderpool probably sounds better… or is that worse?… than most pop divas of the early 50’s do, because she knows this kind of song, and the kind of dippy feelings behind it, are bullshit and so at times she’s adding the faintest trace of genuine flirtation into her reading to try and short-circuit their brains.

It’s not going to help transform the record into something worthwhile, but if you’re a guy who’s hard-up and want to fantasize the girl is singing this tripe to you… well, let’s just ask who’s going to get your heart racing more… the beautiful Sylvia Vanderpool or the scrunched up face of Jo Stafford?

Even so, that’s still no reason to get this record.

Kisses That I Crave
Let’s wrap this up by taking yet another gratuitous shot at record label execs… most of which, unsurprisingly are old white men who have no idea about three groups of people… Black Folk, Youth and Girls.

When you combine all three that’s when they’re really in over their heads as Jerry Blaine proves here… not that he was much different than Mitch Miller at Columbia or Herman Lubinsky at Savoy, both of whom had no idea what to do with Sylvia Vanderpool when they had her under contract either.

Due to the insurmountable differences in age, race and often gender, record label execs are completely out of touch with the very people they’re selling this music to and as such should probably look to peddle denture cream to other people in their age group instead of rock ‘n’ roll.

After all, who else but a member of that fossilized demographic would think that Don’t Blame My Heart would be worth recording in the first place when it has absolutely no connection to Sylvia Vanderpool’s own experiences or feelings? Or to believe that her generation would have any interest in something so artificial to begin with? Or to think that she was going to appeal to the mainstream pop constituency of middle-aged white housewives who would view Sylvia with bitter shrewish envy for being everything they’re not!

In the end though, while we can have our fun mocking Jerry Blaine and his ilk, the fact remains that in spite of idiots like them, artists like Sylvia Vanderpool, and rock ‘n’ roll in general, managed to be good enough to overcome their incompetence time and time again.

But as this record – and the botched sequence of releases it was a part of – shows us once again, it was never going to be easy.


(Visit the Artist page of Sylvia Vanderpool for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)