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OKEH 6847; DECEMBER 1951



The continuing attempts Paul Gayten makes to ease into a more respected field of music is ongoing…

In case you didn’t notice, that first sentence is intentionally redundant as written because we needed a way to point out the first problem with this record is the title which basically says the same thing twice… and in only four words!

Then again maybe that’s fitting because on this single he’s being equally redundant in his attempts to court jazzy pop acceptance as both sides fit this same no man’s land between genres, trying to do just enough to maintain his standing as a rocker while at the same time hoping to appeal to audiences in the swankier parts of town.

Once was bad enough, twice is too much to take.


I’ll Never Be Satisfied
When an artist is as multi-talented as Paul Gayten is – songwriter, pianist, singer, arranger, bandleader, talent scout and producer – it’s inevitable that he wouldn’t want to stick to just one narrow style of music even if it IS the most commercially potent approach to take.

It’s true that Gayten might never have become a rock star with hordes of screaming fans following his every move because he just didn’t have the personality or performing style to elicit that type of response, but he was always highly regarded as a craftsman by more astute listeners.

His quirky rhythms, highlighted by an equally quirky vocal delivery that frequently employed conversational patterns in between traditionally sung lines, were utterly unique and gave his best records a sense of personality that even some bigger acts might be lacking. On top of that his melodies were catchy, his band first rate and his generosity towards other artists was widely respected.

All good traits to have and his diverse skills were sure to keep him in demand by record labels seeking a jack-of-all-trades to help guide their roster even should his own records begin to sell less.

Before that happened though Gayten wanted to explore every possible creative outlet that interested him, for you never knew until you tried it which stylistic avenue might lead somewhere special. So that’s why we occasionally get something like All Alone And Lonely, a song that typically for him has some nice elements woven into a record that has very little strong appeal to any single constituency.

Too jazzy for pop, too pop sounding for rock and a little too rocking for jazz… he may have successfully blended those ingredients so the final product is well balanced, but he failed to realize that those who buy records tend to have very strong tastes for just one of those flavors.

I’m Sure You’d Understand
Stop me if you’ve heard this before when reading about the other side of this single, but here we have the same musicians using the same mindset at the same session and that means we have the same flaws… at least from the perspective of a rock fan who expects a harder hitting rhythm track with less dross in the arrangements.

But with this horn section dross is to be expected, as the full arsenal is on display in the opening, blaring their way through a panorama jazz session with cascading notes echoing around the room.

The effect might seem out of place for a song that, if going by the All Alone And Lonely title, seems to embrace solitude, for if there’s one thing that Gayten isn’t here it’s alone, but because it’s taken at such a fast pace, about the only thing we can guess is that he’s trying to outrace his demons before they overtake his soul.

But even that is speculation because the lyrics don’t tell us much about what he’s going through. He’s been dumped – naturally – and is just blurting out his feelings, hoping that the girl is so overwhelmed by this that she gets dizzy and he might help her back to her room or something.

All of this paints him as a pretty desperate guy admittedly, but he seems to be bearing up well under his grief if nothing else, as his tone is spry and his spirit seems high in spite of this setback.

He doesn’t get into what caused her to leave but he’s at least being honest about how it’s affecting him, but we’re far more interested in how he’s conveying this to us. He’s using one of his patented fractured vocal rhythms wherein he maximizes the pauses in between certain words and then to make up for it crams in two words where just one belongs in a more traditional cadence, throwing your senses off and forcing you to pay greater attention than you otherwise would for such simple lines.

Beyond that however you’re waiting to see which of the many horns takes the solo because that might give additional insight into his goals for this record. When it’s the tenor sax that steps into the breach you’re a little surprised, not because it’s not what we wanted (it is!) but rather because in doing so it tries to wrest the arrangement away from its jazzier instincts and drag All Alone And Lonely back into rock territory.

It never quite crosses that border fully, changing tactics from the grittier early sound to a lighter weight melody that waits too long before returning to the harder edged approach he began with, but at least it’s a sign that he doesn’t want to neglect us entirely.

Truthfully though, maybe it’d be better if he had, simply because then we could pass off the record entirely, knowing full well it was intended for someone else. As it stands though, this tries to hand out token symbols to everyone in the broader – and opposing – musical camps and rather than satisfy us, nobody feels as if they’ve been paid enough attention.


It’s So Hard To Bear
Sometimes it’s best to just throw two likeminded sides in a style that has no chance for a real positive response onto the market at once, especially since OKeh Records had to be hoping that their newest signee would be fully committed to rock ‘n’ roll.

If they’d split these sides up and paired each with a full-fledged rock track then it might be conceivable that the a better response to that, at least when it came to sales, would convince Gayten that his efforts in this more compromised approach were paying off, even if the majority of the interest had come from his rocking efforts.

But by sticking Lonesome For My Baby and its similar big-band mindset (and similar theme) on the other side of this song, it stood to reason that Paul Gayten would wind up being All Alone And Lonely waiting for fans to come up to congratulate him on his latest single.

Like its flip side there’s enough skill shown to not want to criticize him too harshly, so we’ll just say as politely as we can… Get this out of your system now, Paul and once you do, come back inside and join the crowd of musical degenerates who are getting down to the driving beats, raw emotion and naked passion in songs much more suited for that kind of environment.

It’s a place you’re always welcome as long as you give them what they came for. Otherwise I’m afraid you’re in for a lot more lonely nights.


(Visit the Artist page of Paul Gayten for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)