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Admit it, you’ve had this day marked on your calendar for more than a year, haven’t you?

Each day you jump out of bed like there’s an earthquake outside your window, but instead of running for cover, you race to a computer and open up your bookmark to the front page of Spontaneous Lunacy, checking to see if we’ll finally write the follow up to the mysterious double-issue of Recorded In Hollywood 165 that we first published way back in May 2022.

Well, your patience has been rewarded at last, because here is the second released version of that fateful – and ultimately forgettable – single.


Don’t Want Me No More
We’re not wasting time with artist backstories, nor delving into the shoddy recording practices of John Dolphin who owned the label, because if we did this review would need a binding rather than just a single page on a website.

So we’ll just assume you’ve been following along studiously from the beginning, taking notes on these two entities so that you have a working knowledge of their respective issues and now are primed for the thrilling conclusion in the saga of this record.

As we stated last year when looking at the FIRST released version of this single which paired Young Girl (which re-appears on this release) and The Glory Of Love, the prevailing wisdom has always been that it was issued around the same time as this one… late summer 1951.

That information is flat out wrong.

Then there’s the similarly misguided idea that the edition of this single with Baby Please on it was actually issued first before being pulled back and replaced with the aforementioned pairing.

Also wrong.

Part of this is easy to discern with just a little digging. Dolphin put ads for the other two sides in the trade papers back in 1951 (and continued doing so through November of that year) and put ads for our record today in those same papers in September 1952. He’s selling new stock, not old.

But then there’s the musical considerations. In the summer of 1951 The Five Keys hit big with The Glory Of Love, a record which was released in July and topped the charts in September of that year, which means it’s natural that there’d be cover versions in the same style by a group that Dolphin corralled into his makeshift backroom studio at his store, Dolphin’s Of Hollywood, in the hopes of peddling it to kids who either didn’t know better, or who were curious to hear a local act they knew have a whack at the song.

But what about THIS song today, you ask?

Well, there’s your final clue, as this clearly wasn’t recorded back in 1951 and held over, in part because Dolphin’s far too cheap to let a song go to waste and sit on a shelf (which may be why people before this thought he must’ve issued it around the same time and quickly yanked it for something more timely).

Nope, the reason why we know this was cut more recently is because of the song it closely resembles… Have Mercy Baby by The Dominoes which was released in April of 1952 and was sitting atop the charts all summer long when he rounded up these guys and had them cut this in an effort to draw some interest without having to pay another publisher a hunk of whatever profits he made from it.


Your Train Is Waiting
Instead of saying “closely resembles” I should’ve been more blunt and said “Unmitigated rip-off”, because it’s little more than a hasty re-write of that song. Right away you hear the similarities with the saxophone’s stuttering intro which launches into Willie Ray Rockwell’s vocal at roughly the same clip – and with the same urgency – as Clyde McPhatter on The Dominoes’ smash.

If that’s not enough to convince you there’s also the fact that Rockwell, who rarely sang lead, was at the helm here… because he was the one who could approximate McPhatter the best.

Then there’s the fact it’s basically the same melody…a lot cruder and less filled out maybe, but the vocal line in particular is just duplicating Clyde’s lines with different words, even putting the emphasis in at the same junctures. My god, it’s even got the same two words that featured so prominently in that song – and were sung back to back, albeit with a comma stuck between them (“Have mercy, mercy baby, please don’t slam that door!”) – plastered on the title to make sure you couldn’t miss the connection unless you were deaf, dumb AND blind!

Could it be any more obvious?!? I don’t think you need to have studied music to pick this stuff up. Yet everywhere you look they have this being cut and released in the summer of 1951 and if that were the case then I’m sure Dolphin would’ve sued the pants off Federal Records when The Dominoes hit came along sounding just like this.

…Well, “just like this” only far, far better of course.

I suppose you can’t BLAME them all for wanting to get in on arguably the single greatest rock song – of roughly 2,170 – released to date, but the poor The Hollywood Four Flames were in over their head here as they’re being asked to compete with a more polished performance of a much better song being sung by a more talented group using a far more explosive arrangement carried out by much better musicians behind them and who had a more experienced producer at the controls (or should I say who HAD a producer actually working at the session, unlike these guys who had a record store owner merely pushing a “record” button).

So it should be no surprise that aside from the melodic similarities, a few key words and the attempts at matching the energy, Baby Please still has a long way to go to even be called a decent facsimile of that other record.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Rockwell sounds as if he’s in some degree of pain trying to replicate Clyde’s peerless high tenor, almost as if he’s strangling himself in the process. The others are in their natural range and thus are at least more comfortable, but they’ve hardly got anything to really contribute besides the rhythmic vocal padding behind the lead.

The song as written – as you might expect – is pretty much cut from the same cloth thematically too, albeit with one minor exception… whereas The Dominoes were pleading with the girl not to leave from start to finish, here the girl is leaving too but when they realize they have no chance of winning her back, they basically tell her off and practically drive her to the station to boot.

I’m inclined to chalk that inconsistent perspective off to bad writing rather than an intentional psychological twist designed to undermine her confidence in her decision, but as I’m already cutting them no breaks for this exploitative hack job I won’t press the issue any further.

There is however one notable change that we should mention, the presence of an organ leading into the instrumental break, but that’s only going to drag this down, not lift it up. I’m guessing the group knows it too and hands things back to Que Martyn’s sax, seemingly catching him off guard which results in a mellower solo than you’d expect.

Actually, I take that back… on a hackneyed makeshift record like this something out of place like that is EXACTLY what I expect.

By the time they get to the fade they’re all moaning in pain and you realize that it probably has nothing to do with the story, but rather it reflects their state of mind as they realized how embarrassed they’ll be when this hits the streets. Or it could simply be that this was the precise moment they saw John Dolphin slipping out the back door without paying them again.


Now You Are Gone
So there you have it… the convoluted tale of how one dishonest record company owner took advantage of kids hoping to make it big by ripping off a great group and hoping that having another record to their names would make them forget the slimy muck The Hollywood Four Flames had to wade through to get it.

Oh… and as for why he simply re-used the same flip side and release number for Baby Please rather than pair it with something else and give it a later number and not force future chroniclers of this crap to become hard-bitten investigative reporters… well, it’s simple, this way he saved money.

No need to cut them doing another song for the flip side – and perhaps being forced to hand over ten or twenty bucks to them in the process – and no need to press up another label to go with it. Just slap it on the back of something already available and leave it at that.

Was any of this worth the time, trouble and turmoil to get us to this point?

Not on your life.

But if nothing else, we’re glad we were able to clear it up for the dozen or so of you out there who may still care about this stuff.


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