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FEDERAL 12105; OCTOBER 1952

 
 

 

Though this intro won’t mean anything two days after it’s posted, this is the last review before Thanksgiving 2023 which makes it an appropriate place to talk about the word “trust”.

A few centuries ago, so the story goes, Native Americans welcomed foreign invaders who brought to these shores their alien culture, radical religious beliefs, deep-seated prejudices along with disease and pestilence. These fanatical rejects from their own backwards shithole countries refused to assimilate to the prevailing ways of their new land, even going so far as to continue to speak in their own language and refer to the native inhabitants with slurs while pillaging the land they now occupied. On top of it they all haughtily demanded freedoms they hadn’t earned.

Still, the existent population were generous with their knowledge and their hospitality, throwing a feast for their “guests” which is what we now celebrate the third Thursday of each November without the slightest trace of guilt or shame that after their bellies were full and their families settled, these insidious trespassers proceeded to spend the next few centuries engaged in widespread cultural genocide, branding the holdouts “savages” for wanting to keep their homeland.

Every peace treaty these white devils enacted they promptly violated as soon as they saw something else that didn’t belong to them which they wanted for themselves, not averse to murdering everyone who stood in their way in order to get it…. then defending and even celebrating these actions in their history books while championing themselves for bringing civilization to an already far more civilized continent than the one they established in its stead.

That’s what you get for trusting people like that in the first place.
 

 

I’d Rather Have A Little Than A Lot…??!?!?
Aside from being a factual history lesson that your schools failed to teach you this time each year, there IS a musical parallel about the word “trust” that is relevant here which comes down to this:

Music fans may create the market with their tastes, they drive that market with their commercial interests, they define that market with their passionate support… but they do not ever fully control that market and they’ll find, more often than not, that market will callously betray them at every turn.

Record labels never cared about the music they produced, only about the sales they generated and as rock ‘n’ roll continued to surpass everyone’s expectations – and the LP market subsequently opened up for those consumers – the companies learned they could make even more money by repackaging their hits.

It wasn’t entirely self-serving of course to put past singles on long playing albums. You were at least getting freshly pressed wax – no nicks, no scratches, no warps – with all of these songs in one convenient place. Easier to store, easier to listen to and with a hard cardboard sleeve to keep them better protected. Win-win for both sides.

But the companies knew that in order to maximize interest in these more expensive records it meant offering consumers more bang for their buck and since it didn’t cost them more to cram as many songs as they could onto an LP, King Records began to edit the original songs to do just that – cutting out longer intros, excising instrumental breaks or even dropping entire verses or a chorus, often in haphazard fashion – and presenting these shorter edits as if they were the actual hit you’d heard on a single. In their pillaging of this song for instance they knocked off a whopping 28 seconds to bring it down to a skimpy 1:54.

Making it worse was the fact that in the CD era, when these catalogs were brought up to date for the new market in remastered sound with detailed liner notes, the compilers unaware of these posthumous edits grabbed THOSE tapes and put them on disc, thereby presenting a false history to those who had never owned a 78 RPM record and often, for those coming of age over the past few decades, hadn’t heard the original single before to compare.

They had no idea what they were missing because the companies didn’t tell you anything WAS missing… as a result, while you might’ve loved discovering the music of The Dominoes long after they were all gone, if you found out what the companies had done and how they distorted the music from the way it was originally conceived, there’s nobody with a genuine interest in rock history who’d say I’d Be Satisfied just to get a partial recording of one of the classic hits from a legendary group of early 1950’s rock.

Once again, this is what you get for trusting the untrustworthy.
 


 
 

Send Me A Bigger Share Of Love
All of that lead-in to tell (most of) you that the recording you’ve surely been exposed to lo these many years was not the one you’d have heard when buying this single back in the fall of 1952.

At least it’s the same performance, though since for the longest time the outlets which provided the unexpunged version were taken directly from vinyl which naturally sounded muffled and harsh, causing you to think they could even be different takes of the same song.

They’re not thankfully and these days with just a little leg-work you can easily find the full 2:22 second version of I’d Be Satisfied to hear how despite a rather scant release schedule The Dominoes were still miles ahead of most of their competitors when it came to generating excitement on record.

With this side Billy Ward shows that he was fully aware of the components that their fans clamored for on the uptempo cuts, giving us a composition brimming with lustful thoughts (even if they are somewhat vaguely suggested this time around rather than explicitly detailed as in past songs) and utilizes Clyde McPhatter’s gospel fervor which gets embellished by a sinewy arrangement featuring wailing saxophones and a throbbing rhythm.

As formulas go, that’s pretty hard to beat.

But as great as it is – and make no mistake about it, this is a great record – it’s not absolutely perfect. McPhatter is in his element for sure, but the closer you scrutinize his vocals the more you notice a few minor issues. I know it’s like complaining about a speck of paint that dripped onto the floor of the Sistine Chapel, but he can’t quite nail the “heavenly FAH-THER” part until it resonates like we’re accustomed to from him and there are moments where he doesn’t bear down as hard as you expect… still good enough to slide over it, but not quite up to his peak performances. Minor quibbles, sure, but when he set the bar so high in the past, scraping that bar as he clears it this time makes you think he had an even better take in him.

Worse though is the uninspired backing vocals by the others, perhaps suffering from the departure of profundo bass, Bill Brown. It actually sounds like Ward’s joining them on this, which he’d do at times, but he doesn’t give them anything to DO. The humming is merely shading the lead, the transitions where they echo Clyde’s last words are kind of rote, and most indefensible of all is the lackadaisical effort they give behind the sax break where not only are the parts as written fairly shoddy, but their performance sounds almost sluggish.

Who knows, maybe someone thought THAT justified cutting the break from the record altogether down the road.

It doesn’t… not by a long shot, as we can overlook the voices once the sax starts booting away. It never reaches detonation maybe, but any time we get an instrumental break that doesn’t drop the momentum on a record that’s already churning like I’d Be Satisfied, suffice it to say we’re on board.

To play devil’s advocate, though it’s not the smoothest of cuts, the shortened version that has Clyde bursting back in right after the last vocals does pack a wallop because of the way he elevates the intensity from what we heard out of him mere seconds before. But since we know now that actually happened after he’d been listening to the sax ramp up the energy on the studio floor, it makes more sense.

So no, don’t be fooled, the full length version is still the way to go and unsurprisingly it was another huge hit. It may have stopped at a comparatively low #8 on the charts but was in the Top Ten for over two months and it likely only dropped off because their next smash came out while this was still riding high.
 


 

Give Me The Crumbs Upon The Floor
Nobody buying this record at the time knew this… probably the group didn’t know it either… but we wouldn’t be getting much more out of Clyde McPhatter with The Dominoes, as this would be his final session with the group before departing next spring, unable to tolerate Billy Ward’s dictatorial ways any longer (notice Ward has added his own name in front of the group starting with this release leading many to believe he was the lead singer rather than the iron fisted ruler behind the scenes).

Thankfully it was a double session meaning there were a few more Clyde-led singles – and hits – still to come, but here in the future it reminds us just how precious these moments were… and why we want to be able to savor every last second of them unfettered by record label shenanigans.

For the most part we can compliment them all when it comes to the recording sessions themselves, as Ward gave The Dominoes a steady supply of relevant original material, good arrangements played by solid musicians and… at least until this month… they were very judicious when it came to their releases, not flooding the market once they burst out of the gate with hit after hit like so many companies would be prone to do.

With such a plethora of gems to choose from each listener may have a different favorite performance, and if I’d Be Satisfied is yours I wouldn’t put up much of an argument against it, even if I personally find it just a hair below their all-time best. But it won’t be long before this commitment to musical integrity starts to unravel as well.

When it happens we’ll vociferously complain as expected, but we won’t be able to say it caught us off guard. After all, this is the record industry and if we’ve learned anything when studying rock’s first five years, it’s that the people selling us this music are the last ones we should ever trust.

Be thankful we didn’t invite them over for a turkey dinner, because they wouldn’t have even waited until desert was served before slaughtering us all to get a second helping of sweet potatoes.
 
 
SPONTANEOUS LUNACY VERDICT:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
(Visit the Artist page of The Dominoes for the complete archive of their records reviewed to date)