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SAVOY 852; JULY 1952



Around here we take obvious pleasure in poking fun at – and frequently eviscerating – record company owners who lied, cheated and perpetually swindled their artists at every turn and who were usually so inept when it came to understanding the music they were putting out that they undercut their own sales in the process.

Though it’s not a competition to see which of these labels has the most detestable owner, if it WERE then it’s a good bet that Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records would at least be in the running for the title.

While the Bihari Brothers of Modern were more blatant thieves, Lubinsky was more underhanded about it and not as astute musically as his cross-country rivals for the championship belt, which constantly put him at a disadvantage in the marketplace.

But here we have evidence that while Savoy Records was in danger of falling off the cliff when it came to maintaining a strong presence in rock ‘n’ roll, their failures to keep pace as the genre continued to explode might not have been entirely his doing.


Move Out Baby, You’re Not My Kind
It should go without saying that in a genre as rapidly changing as rock ‘n’ roll, all companies plying their trade in this field had to be adept at quickly capitalizing on trends to maintain their position going forward.

One thing that is beginning to set Atlantic Records apart is how smartly they shifted their focus to rock ‘n’ roll after a shaky beginning focused more on jazz. By signing talented artists who may have had different musical tastes, then steering their output into rock by hiring great songwriters like Rudy Toombs, a first rate arranger in Jesse Stone and talented session musicians who were instructed to play a certain way, they’ve come to dominate the charts over the last few years with one hit after another.

Meanwhile King/Federal, who had been the ruling class of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest days with their deep roster of solo male vocalists, wisely turned more of their attention to vocal groups when that style took off allowing them to smoothly navigate the changes in the market without disruption to their bottom line.

Savoy hadn’t followed suit in either of those ways unfortunately. Lubinsky’s grating personality, extreme cheapness and lack of gratitude and diplomacy drove away his best artists and producers and as a result their current producers were much less innovative and thus prone to imitation. When you combined that with new artists who were largely second rate talents, the results have been predictably mediocre.

At first glance you’d surely think that would be the case with The Gaylords, a name not widely known in rock vocal group circles which indicates that they were unsuccessful, probably because they weren’t very good or were given an arrangement that did them no favors stylistically.

Instead Go On, Baby presents a strong case that they were not only talented, but that Savoy was more aware of the current sonic landscape than some of their other releases may have suggested.

If that’s indeed the case, then maybe we’ve been too harsh on ol’ Herman and while he’s still a miserable crook, he might’ve also been the victim of some bad luck along the way… but don’t let that reluctant admission change your negative opinions about him. Trust us, the criticism of him is still well earned.

Have Your Fun
One of the first promising signs here, before we even cue the record up, is the fact that the songwriter – James Morris – is a member of the group itself.

If nothing else it indicates that if The Gaylords are indeed determined to rock, they’ll be able to resist any outside pressure from the producers to tone things down.

Luckily though the producers have finally caught on to what sells for other labels and are jumping on board, presumably by hiring competent musicians and coming up with an arrangement designed to bolster the vocal excitement of Go On, Baby rather than hamper it without tame outdated ideas.

Right away this is designed to grab you with a rolling rhythm that’s being carried by a strong confident lead with energetic supporting vocals. There may be nothing instantly captivating on its own – no memorable lyrical, vocal or melodic hook that imprints itself on your brain – but it all fits together seamlessly and creates a swirling raucous vibe that is impossible to resist.

One of the notable attributes rock ‘n’ roll brought to the table which distanced it from other forms of popular music that came before was how it made dance records from songs comprised of romantic anguish, breakups and the ensuing lyrical put-downs of a former mate.

Think about that for a second. Usually dance music contained sweet and tender declarations of love and devotion… or if it was uptempo, like this song was, the sentiments would still be broadly unifying, bringing couples together rather than driving a wedge between them with the story.

Rock ‘n’ roll turned that on its head and Go On, Baby is a perfect example of how effective it could be when you introduced that conflict on record, blending two seemingly opposing emotions together as the plot finds the lead singer telling off his no-good girlfriend while the music and his own delivery are bursting with infectious energy causing listeners to get up and dance.

The exuberant party atmosphere they create, with the other group members shouting and carrying on in support of their friend while the bass singer steps in with a dismissive interjection of the girl in question as the band tears it up behind them, is guaranteed to bring more of a smile to your face than wallowing in your own heartache.

As good as the singing is at every turn, the unexpected highlight is the guitar which is not only a constant presence on the track in the background and in between the vocal lines but also gets a scintillating solo that lifts this even higher. Going by the session information for Savoy during the period in which this was cut it’s pretty likely this was Mickey Baker making an early appearance and showing why he’d soon become one of rock’s most potent weapons behind a host of artists. Here he adds so many different textures it almost becomes hard to tally them up.

With all of these diverse elements working in tandem the whole record seethes with unbridled intensity amidst a maelstrom of sound, and while the message is dripping with scorn and hostility, the mood is resilient from start to finish, leaving no room for misery.

You Messed Up My Money And Now We’re Both In The Street
Obviously not ALL quality records like this are going to become a hit and with the label’s lack of focus on this style in the past and the fact that this was The Gaylords’ debut and thus they had no established fan base to help get this off the ground, you can understand its failure to connect.

Even had they been more well-known, records like Go On, Baby without a distinctive memorable hook, no matter how well done, are always facing an uphill climb to hit status, but considering the excitement they generate here this definitely should’ve been the start of a solid career and given Savoy’s image a boost just when they were most in need of it.

Instead they were hampered by the fact there was another group called The Gaylords, a dorky white pop act, who were about to break through in the fall and when that happened it didn’t take more than one guess to figure out which one will be forced to come up with something new to call themselves.

So the next time we meet these guys it will be as The Imperials, which meant that whoever had managed to hear this record and undoubtedly been captivated by it, were not going to find the follow-up very easily. That could also be why Savoy delayed releasing anything else by them until next year by which time the group itself were gone from their ranks.

So even as we were willing to bestow some sympathy on Herman Lubinsky, it turns out his company’s own inability to promote this – or spread the payola around to get a worthy hit – cost him a potentially viable entry in the ever expanding rock vocal group sweepstakes, allowing us to find a way to blame him anyway.

Whaddaya know, everything is back to normal after all.


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