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RPM 316; JANUARY 1951



One of the first things you have to come to grips with as a music fan is that the people selling you records are a collection of hustlers, thieves and con men… and those are the respectable ones!

The record industry has always been an unsavory business and most of the independent label owners who gave rock ‘n’ roll its big break saw absolutely no value in music beyond its ability to make them a quick buck. If that meant ripping you off in the process, so be it. In fact, most of them took pride in doing so, more so than giving you something worthwhile for your 79 cents.

As long as you never forget this fact and don’t give out free passes to them when they try and put one over on you, then you might only need an occasional shot of penicillin after dealing with them.


I Used To Think That Maybe Someday You’d Change
There are so many underhanded components of this release that it’s not easy to know where to begin. It’s safe to say that no matter which way you turn you’re going to get covered in slime so it’s probably best to just wade in and hope your hip-boots don’t leak.

Back in December 1950 we covered both sides of RPM 313 by a group calling themselves The Nic Nacs.

There was no such group… no exactly anyway. They were The Robins moonlighting from another company under an assumed name being paired with Mickey Champion, a female singer already signed to RPM.

Both songs were thinly veiled remakes of The Robins mega-hit from early in the year on Savoy with Johnny Otis on which they traded lines with Little Esther in her star making turn on Double Crossin’ Blues. Each of these had Champion in Esther’s role with lyrics that were far less witty and more offensive, though Gonna Have A Merry Xmas was at least fairly well sung while the theme of the record was different enough to be somewhat more tolerable.

Even so you still were essentially paying for something you already bought once even though it’s being sold as something totally different by a different group on a different label.


Well, now they’re back, trying to get more pennies out of the same suckers – that’d be you and me – by keeping the flip side, Found Me A Sugar Daddy but swapping out the Christmas song as soon as the holidays were over and replacing it with You Didn’t Want My Love, re-numbering it RPM 316 to further mislead you if you’re the kind who kept track of such things.

Oh yeah, if that wasn’t enough dirty dealing for one release on this one they’re also once again recycling a hit song by the same artists that you’ve already bought and paid for, albeit a different song than before.

Excuse me while I take a shower.


You’ve Had Your Chance, Now I’ve Found Somebody New
Though the majority of our scorn will be heaped on the Bihari Brothers, owners of Modern and RPM Records, let’s not completely absolve The Robins for their part in this deception either, though at least they have some justification when it comes to their roles in all of this.

After being ripped off by Johnny Otis – for a piddling fifty bucks no less! – The Robins left him and Savoy Records where they’d been rising stars and headed out on their own – the proverbial babes in the woods – and landed with John Dolphin’s Recorded In Hollywood label where they would have to consider themselves lucky if they walked out with more money than they walked in with.

Not happy with Dolphin’s crimes against humanity they made their way to the equally reprehensible Biharis, though they were possibly still under contract to Dolphin at the time (this is not guaranteed however because a lot of companies just paid per session and they’d cut four songs for him – a standard session – which may have fulfilled their deal). Either way though RPM was presumably seeking to avoid any litigation from either Dolphin or Savoy’s Herman Lubinsky, two of the more notorious nogoodniks in the biz, and so they stuck the name The Nic Nacs on the records after pairing them with Champion.

Okay, so far you might say this is a no harm, no foul situation, even if it is a little distasteful.

But now we start getting into the specifics of You Didn’t Want My Love starting with the fact that Champion is nowhere to be found on this side. If you’d bought the earlier Nic Nacs record and liked her contributions, you were now getting something different. But even that can be pushed aside because the bigger issue is this record is little more than a complete remake of The Robins breakthrough hit from late 1949, If It’s So Baby.

It’s the exact same song – a different title with different lyrics maybe, but melodically and vocally the same.

Now of course THAT was a great record and these are the same guys singing it, so what’s the problem? Well, aside from the fact they’re doing so with far less enthusiasm, weaker accompaniment and worse lyrics, there’s the fact that you have a right as a consumer to new products that are advertised as such. Letting them get away with this, either by buying it then or making excuses for it now, only guarantees that no one is ever held accountable for their intentional crimes (which sadly in America over the past couple of years is par for the course).

I Won’t Agree
The saying about being better off with the “devil that you know” applies here, for while Johnny Otis’s questionable ethics regarding pocket money was at fault for their split and deserved an ass whupping from The Robins, the fact is Otis knew how to make great records and had a band capable of delivering when the light went on.

Whoever was in charge at RPM had no such skill because this is lackluster in most respects starting with a downbeat guitar opening – moving that instrument from the break to the intro apparently qualifies this as a “new idea” – that leads into The Robins singing as if they’re suffering from a lack of sleep.

It’s a drowsy sound, not the invigorating one they showed the first time we heard this basic approach and though Bobby Nunn’s solo parts are more more or less up to snuff, the rest are – well, I’d say “just collecting a paycheck” but we know they may have gotten five bucks at most for this and I’d argue that as uninspired as this is RPM still got their five dollars worth.

The “new” story is just a matter of semantics. In If It’s So Baby they were dumping their girlfriend for cheating on them, on You Didn’t Want My Love they’re merely looking back, I’m guessing at the same situation, from a distance, which I guess makes sense since it’s a year later now. But this one doesn’t even add any details to flesh the story out, it’s merely a series of proclamations saying they don’t regret their decision.

Which decision they really mean in all this they don’t reveal, but I’m guessing that with all they’ve been through in just over a year spent navigating this thoroughly corrupt vocation they might regret not going into politics, managing boxers or the loan shark business instead of music… ya know, a lot more honest professions by comparison.


There’s Just More Thing I’d Like To Tell To You
Before we wrap this sordid affair up let’s not let the opportunity to take another gratuitous shot at the scum floating in the toxic waste barrel of the industry slip away here.

On RPM 313 there were no songwriting credits listed but here on You Didn’t Want My Love there are… one of which is Jules Taub, the alias for Jules Bihari, owner of the company, who – along with his brothers – stole more writing credits than the early settlers of this country stole land from Native Americans.

We know that he didn’t write any song in his miserable existence, but in this case it would’ve been particularly sweet to see The Robins themselves head into court to sue him for this one as a way of extracting more than the bread crumbs he tossed their way for this session.

Imagine seeing Bihari on the witness stand, sweating through his polyester suit, try claiming that he wrote a song already published and copy-written to The Robins themselves who were the artists on both records. How would he squirm out of that one?

Actually, maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t burn their bridges that way. The Robins still needed to have outlets to record on and any label they ended up with was going to rip them off down the line anyway, so as foul a stench as they all gave off, at least we would get something out of it in the end, even if this one side is one we’d rather give back.


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