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Sometimes it’s best to be a little subtle or coy when it comes to advertising your product, especially if the contents are something of a rip-off.

That doesn’t mean you should lie about it, intentionally misleading the consumer so you can run off before they realize they’ve been had, but at the very least you shouldn’t go out of your way to call attention to the shoddy merchandise you’re peddling.

But one look at the title of this record tells you The Orioles are all TOO honest in their marketing as they deliver yet another dreary lovelorn ballad that shapes up to be nothing more than a waste of time for all involved, you, me and them alike.


If My Dreams Are In Vain
We’ll try and keep the time wasting here to a minimum, in part because there’s not much new ground to cover with this, especially since we touched upon a lot of the same points in the review of the top side of the record yesterday.

At least with Would I Still Be The One In Your Heart we had a couple of interesting figures lurking around the edges to delve into, but here we’re stuck with nothing but the song itself – one more entry in a long line of similarly paced weepers by The Orioles with minimal accompaniment and absolutely no new thematic perspectives served up.

Now to be fair they’ve done this sort of thing quite well in the past… at times that is… but the law of diminishing returns states that the more you keep going back to the same well, the less water there’ll be to draw from it and by this point with Is My Heart Wasting Time The Orioles are coming up dry.

So how can we find some compact way of conveying this malady? Well, let’s start with this point… you know how desperate you are for change when you find yourself eagerly hopeful – if not downright excited – by hearing a guitar lead things off on this song rather than the usual halting piano.

It doesn’t last of course, but at least hearing him play a few gentle notes leading into this lets you know that Tommy Gaither hasn’t wandered outside to watch the icicles drip onto the sidewalk as the recording session monotonously rolls along. Once his brief part is over and he steps aside though we’re given the same warmed over arrangement as always to struggle through yet again.

Same pace, same structure, same sentiments, same mind-numbing boredom.

I Wished I Knew
Sonny Til’s voice is still the same, which I suppose counts as a benefit because he hasn’t forgotten how to sing, only that he hasn’t shown us he can really sing in any other way.

We can’t really pick apart his performance on Is My Heart Wasting Time, if only because we’ve already analyzed it to death every other time he’s featured the same technique. When the songs are fresh, the lyrics are memorable and the faint melodic whispers they employ are catchy then we have no complaints. When they’re redundant we have nothing left to compliment and little left to say.

Which is why that brief guitar part winds up being one of the better aspects of this, if only because it adds an unusual texture – almost Hawaiian in nature – to the record before Gaither is reduced to strumming along far off-mic, presumably because the piano needs space to put you to sleep.

This is usually where we’d get into the senseless folly of their trying to reduce every song to formula but surely you’re just as tired of reading about that as I am of writing it. Instead we’ll just boil it down to the bare essentials for posterity’s sake, just so the historical ledger leaves no doubt regarding our contempt for such tactics.

Should they change things up? Yes. Would it be smart to bring in a saxophone, or let Gaither’s guitar have more of a showcase than just a second and a half in the spotlight? Of course. How about speeding up the tempo? Absolutely! Letting the others sing the bridge together rather than having George Nelson keep handling it by himself? Why not! Maybe changing the lyrical perspective from downbeat to optimistic, or even elated? For God’s sake, YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

Do something… do ANYTHING… just make it different.

Hire a drummer, a dozen drummers! A marching band! Speed up the tapes and call yourselves The Chipmunks… it’ll be stupid but trust me, it’ll sell.

Just stop torturing us by giving us a front row seat in the lonely hearts club support group.


When I See Love In Your Eyes Are They Just Telling Lies?
When taken in isolation, meaning having not heard the rest of The Orioles catalog lately, and particularly when surrounded by more exciting uptempo rockers, then this isn’t quite as bad as we’re making it out to be.

Sonny Til plays this part well – let’s HOPE he was playing a part at least, heaven help him if he was really this distraught in life – and the floating tenor of Alex Sharp adds a nice ethereal quality to the sound… as usual. Even the minimal instrumental support they saddle this with makes for a fair change of pace from the honking saxes, slashing guitars and stomping back beats found on so many other rock records.

In that sense you can see how Jubilee Records figured they were carving out a very distinctive niche that only The Orioles were capable of filling and so as long as that stood them apart from the pack there was always the promise of greater rewards for not blending into the cacophonous noise so many others were offering up.

In theory that might be true, for I suppose if you’ve had your fill of Wynonie Harris bragging about bedding each girl in town then it might even be refreshing to hear Sonny’s more tenuous attempts at finding true love, something which clearly resonated with a few rock fans who weren’t budding Lotharios themselves.

But we’ve said it before so we’ll say it again, this was definitely not what you should be doing each and every side you release. Something about the songs needed to change just enough to keep piquing the public’s interest, to get them wondering where the group might take this latest release that they haven’t ventured before.

But instead they follow the pattern to the letter which means you’re not giving audiences any reason to keep investing their hearts – and their money – in another record that sounds exactly like the last one and the one before that. It’s hardly cynical to say this practice is nothing but the same song with a different title every time out.

Finally record buyers are beginning to agree. Is My Heart Wasting Time didn’t chart and neither did its equally despondent flip-side… nor for that matter would any song of theirs make the national charts for quite some time.

They’d wrung the sponge dry at last.

I Wish Your Heart Would Tell Me What Mine Should Do
I’m sure Jubilee Records had a pocketful of excuses at the ready. Not every record is going to be met with the same enthusiasm, they’ll say, and after two years of consistent returns a brief dry spell was probably overdue.

They might’ve also been bandying about the possibility that their downturn had more to do with the fact that the group’s manager Deborah Chessler had stepped back from writing their material and so they were left with pale imitations of what she did so well. But that doesn’t hold up when you realize The Orioles had also scored with cover songs and outside contributions prior to this.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they even claimed among themselves that they were the victims of their own success, insisting that because their breakthrough had opened up the door for more vocal groups to come into this party and so with more competition in the field it was less likely any one group could horde all the hits for themselves. But that’s not true either, because rock was now taking up an even greater share of the hit parade than it had when The Orioles were one of just a handful of acts plying this trade.

They can insist all they want that nothing is wrong, but ignoring the problem only ensures you’ll never find the solution.

That the solution itself is so obvious only makes this more frustrating… just try something else. You don’t even have to try something new every time out, just once in awhile at least… even just on a B-side or two, anything to let Sonny Til out of the romantic purgatory he’s been put in and let us escape from the musical monotony we’ve been asked to endure.

Or at the very least learn to hide your intentions better and come up with a more provocative title to give us a little more hope going in that we won’t all be fast asleep by the chorus.


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