No tags :(

Share it

DOT 1041; MARCH 1951



Thus far – four singles into her career on Dot Records – it’s been hard not to like what Margie Day has to offer.

Her sassy attitude, the natural rhythm of her vocal delivery, the borderline suggestiveness of the songs themselves and the tremendous support of The Griffin Brothers all of which points to somebody who was poised to become a huge star… consistency after all is as much a defining characteristic of stardom as anything.

Even this, just a B-side and an obvious one at that, is nothing that would dissuade your from that prediction.


Enough For Two Or Three
In the future we’ll have plenty of barbs to throw at Dot Records for their wholehearted embrace of the white pop cover craze but for now our criticism of them comes down to only on thing… namely they don’t seem to fully grasp sensible release schedules for their artists or how to properly credit them.

Margie Day was a dynamic singer with multiple hits to her name already. The Griffin Brothers were the leaders of the studio band that backed her, and others, and who wrote many of the songs as well as had instrumental records of their own. They worked together, toured together, yet they did not necessarily have to be billed together.

One Steady Baby is a song Margie Day wrote herself and sings and yet it’s credited to The Griffin Brothers as the primary artists, with her name coming after in smaller print.

You know WHY they did this – call it the Johnny Otis trickle down effect, wherein record labels were seeking to establish the bandleaders as stars in order to boost the chances their singles with a variety of singers might score in the marketplace. Atlantic was now doing the same with Joe Morris and it worked for them as well.

So why not do this with The Griffin Brothers? Margie Day would get singles and in the future so would Tommy Brown and both would get hits so you can’t say it was a bad business decision.

But it WAS a bad decision for the singer’s own career and since Day already scored two hits with her name out front, it was probably hurting the chances of her subsequent releases to change it now.

The second misstep they made, and one perhaps more egregious, was the fact that if they WERE going to bill them as one, why flood the market with more than one release at a time. They did this back in December with THREE singles, two with Day, one without, and now they’re doing it again as another Griffin Brothers entry came out at the same time as this one.


I Wanna Tell You This
This isn’t the first song Day has written but it is the first that she got a solo writing credit for and what’s surprising is that while you’d think the musical side of the equation might suffer without the conceptual contributions of the Griffins in establishing the melody, that part is actually pretty tight.

Kicking off with Buddy Griffin’s hammered triplets on piano, the song has a nice slow groove with the horns churning steadily behind Day during the chorus and utilizing an effective stop time progression while she lays out the story in the verses.

Now granted it’s hardly very elaborate and nowhere near as dynamic as on Sadie Green, but it gets the job done by giving you equal a rolling groove and dramatic structure in equal measure.

Margie’s vocals are similarly proficient. Her voice is calm and confident, well-measured in her delivery with a biting undercurrent that suggests slightly more is afoot than the words themselves may convey.

But where One Steady Baby steps wrong, at least a little, is in those lyrics… or rather the uncertainty of the message she’s imparting.

The basic story idea is fine, she’s speaking to other women about how to keep a man, yet her point gets muddled along the way.

She starts off praising her fella and claiming that while she’s certainly capable of getting more men if she wanted – apparently juggling them or sampling them like they were free cheese samples at the store – her guy is a handful and keeps her plenty busy and very satisfied.

Okay, that’s a good start. She can push the envelope on raciness if she wants by saying why he gives her all she craves, bragging about him – and by extension herself – to her friends, or she can simply dismiss the other girls for running around with lots of guys in an attempt to find somebody who measures up to her beau.

Instead she gets off-track by sort of disparaging him about his habits, his lack of money, his flirting with other girls before telling us ”he’s either sweet and gentle or as mean as can be”.

Well, that sort of negates the entire opening premise, doesn’t it? Is he a heel or a catch?

According to Day… he’s both.

Yes, he’s a philandering louse, but he apparently needs Margie more than the other girls and that makes her happy. So much for women’s lib.


Asking You To Be Kind
To be fair, I’m sure this kind of Faustian bargain was commonplace at the time in many households, maybe it still is, but that doesn’t make it any more tolerable.

This is a rock history website, not a relationship hotline, but I’d still say to any woman to drop this kind of guy before you catch VD and lose all your self-respect. It’s hardly an equitable arrangement if he’s got plenty of chicks and he’s your One Steady Baby… but I digress.

As a song it’s still got some charm but it comes mainly from the performances themselves, as Day comes close to selling this false front of a happy home without getting you to completely question her sanity. If not for a few lines with some flawed rhymes in them that make them stick out you might not be likely to notice all of the compromises she’s making in the name of presenting a make believe image of happiness to the world.

Somehow throughout this she’s able to maintain a fairly cocky demeanor which is either admirable or a further sign of her self-delusions. Either way though it still sounds pretty good, the band is tight and if she’s relying mostly on her plucky demeanor to pull this off she doesn’t fail in that regard by any means.

I wouldn’t recommend following her questionable advice by any means, but since most people aren’t turning to music as an inexpensive self-help course for their problems it’s probably not going to do much harm just listening to it as a record because even with her relationship heading for the rocks, as long as she goes down singing Margie Day will always be compelling enough to check out.


(Visit the Artist page of Margie Day as well as The Griffin Brothers for the complete archive of their respective records reviewed to date)