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Hmmm… let’s see.

The formula to determine purchasing power adjusted for inflation between 1952 and 2023 is $ x 300.84 / 26.5.

Where’s that calculator?

Okay, so the cost of this bus ride The Five Crowns are taking would be $221.37 today. But there’s five of them so I’m assuming they’re each buying a ticket unless four of them are hiding in the luggage compartment under the bus, so this would put their trip at over a grand which by the way is far more money than the group earned in royalties over their entire careers.

And to think… no matter how far they got for all that bus fare they still didn’t get anywhere NEAR the charts with this record!


Troubles On My Mind
This is the second record released this fall which is advertising the same bus line, though Amos Milburn didn’t even make you listen to his record – Greyhound – to let you know he was shilling for their company.

Maybe though this release by The Five Crowns is actually one made in response to that popular single and paid for by a rival company, because I’m sure that by promoting the hefty $19.50 Bus fare so prominently, there’ll be a lot of rock fans hitchhiking, or maybe riding bikes or just staying at home rather than emptying out their piggy banks to sit in a dirty seat on a smelly bus that keeps stopping along the route. Let’s not even get into the fact that all of the listeners for this kind of music would be forced to ride in the back anyway if they were traveling south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Seriously, I can’t think of ANY place that’s worth that kind of hassle. But it perhaps starts to make sense when, not surprisingly, you find out that this expensive journey has to do with a girl.

What IS surprising though is that they’re not spending this small fortune to find a girl, or track down one who got away, which is surely what you’d expect from five young men with presumably healthy sex drives but limited options locally. Rather they are buying the most expensive ticket the bus is selling in order to get as far away from her as they can.

Well, that’s progress for you, because just a few years ago in most rock songs they’d have been hopping a train instead.


You Only Want My Darn Money
I can think of a few better ways to spend close to twenty bucks… especially back then… but let’s give the guys credit, unlike most of their peers in rock ‘n’ roll, where far too many male singers wring their hands and sob whenever a relationship hits the skids, The Five Crowns are being proactive here and deciding to sever ties with this girl first… though we’re not exactly sure why.

That’s an ongoing problem with these guys, as the themes of their songs seem pretty solid, but the details are usually lacking. Obviously there must be a good reason why a $19.50 Bus ticket was a practical solution to their romantic problems, but they only give us vague and very conflicting information.

What we knows is this: They still love this girl and wish her well, but they have her pegged as a gold-digger more or less and so rather than just quietly stop seeing her, no longer return her calls, or maybe start dating other women hoping she’ll get the hint, they tell her the reason they want nothing more to do with her, possibly risking a slap across the kisser for being so blunt.

But for some reason they then take time to explain where they’re headed, the precise time they have to leave and how they’re getting there – they might as well just hand her a bus schedule and a map – and then add, probably disingenuously, that she should NOT think of following them.

Obviously this must just be a ruse on their part to see if she likes them enough to pursue them. After all, if they’re upset that she wants their money, what do they think the conductor on the bus is going to want for taking them out of town? A thank you and hearty handshake?

No, he wants twenty bucks!

Come to think of it, I’m shocked they even have twenty bucks to their name to get out of town considering that minimum wage in 1952 was 75 cents an hour. Singers were paid even less than that, record contract or not. In fact, having a record contract probably meant they were taking home MUCH less because the company would charge them for studio time and they’d need to buy suits to wear on stage of course, and hotel fare and meals aren’t cheap either.

Maybe it’d just be better to hand it over to her after all, at least they might get a warm bed to sleep in tonight and some hanky panky in the bargain.

The good news is The Five Crowns sound much better on this side than the other, where James Clark was like a blind man trying to walk a straight line after getting off a merry-go-round. But here Yonkie Paul handles the lead and he and the others, who are much more prominent throughout, at least have a grip on the melody and other than some shaky moments on the “ride, ride, ride” refrain, aren’t letting the key slip out of their pocket as they were prone to do.

With a much more spry pace and a slightly fuller arrangement behind them, this gives off the appearance of a more confident performance and one more suited to their vocal strengths… or if not “strengths” per say, at least not leaning too hard on their more evident weaknesses.

It’s still not great of course thanks to the somewhat nasal vocals, the unimaginative backing that has them just chanting “doo wop, doo wop” repeatedly, and the rather confusing plot on top of it all. But in spite of those problems it remains good enough to restore some faith in them after being slightly disappointed with their last two sides.


My Time Is Overdue
Since it’s the price tag affixed to this ride, more than the ride itself, that jumps out at you, maybe we should dig deeper into some numbers… just what every music fan LOVES to hear, I’m sure.

A 78 RPM record in 1952 cost 89 cents, which means if they could’ve dug in the couch cushions I’m sure they’d have scrounged up just a few more pennies and thus could’ve gotten twenty-two records for this amount.

Needless to say, this one wouldn’t have been among them unless their options at the store were rather limited, as in the last two months of releases which all should still be in stock, there are twenty-two records that were better than $19.50 Bus.

But let’s be fair about this and remind you that the value of certain things are relative, so for instance if you were primarily a vocal group fan and limited your choices to those records that’d change things a bit. Assuming you’d already stockpiled the really good releases in that vein through the end of summer, well then you could justify shelling out the 89 cents for this one, hoping maybe it’d grow on you some more with repeated listens.

For those of you who still think our average score is too stingy, keep in mind one more relevant fact…

Using the same formula we started the review with in regards to inflation, our (5) would be worth 56.76 today! You don’t have to be a math whiz to see that’s a LOT higher than our perfect score of (9) and it’s more than five times better than even the ★ 10 ★ we reserve for our highly personal favorites.

So you might want to take our offer while you can, because since the Biden Inflation Act was passed the rate of inflation in America has dropped from a whopping 9.1% to a far more acceptable 3.7%, getting the United States in the Top Ten for the LOWEST inflation in 2023. That means prices – and scores – will be dropping even lower as we head into the new year. So with that in mind, that score looks a lot better now, doesn’t it?


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