No tags :(

Share it

JUBILEE 5082; APRIL 1952



Don’t tell me this is one of rock’s longest running and storied group’s throwing in the towel?

Is this song an admission that rock ‘n’ roll has passed them by and they’re giving it up to become bank tellers, school teachers or cement contractors in Baltimore?

Didn’t they seem to avoid this inevitable fate just last fall by actually turning away from the endless parade of yearning ballads in favor of something edgier and more rousing?

What happened?

Oh, never mind, they’re still on Jubilee Records… that’s explains everything, including why Sonny Til might soon have a new career and be showing up at your house to exterminate ants when summer rolls around just a few months from now.


With Much Regret
I guess when you have really just one consistently viable act on your label, you might be a little resistant to change… at least that’s our obligatory, if half-hearted, excuse for Jerry Blaine’s company who has ridden The Orioles hits as far as they could go.

As of late though Jubilee has has had a few additional artists capable of selling more then a dozen copies of a single, be it The Marylanders, Edna McGriff, The Enchanters or Buddy Lucas.

Yet here we are again with the company seeing to it that The Orioles revert back to the same old formula on It’s Over Because We’re Through, another sappy ballad like so much of their material in the past.

Considering Blaine’s primary income came as the result of his record distributing company which handled most of his more successful competitors labels, shouldn’t he have been smart enough to see the number of copies he was moving of the latest singles of far more diverse rock vocal groups and then comparing their sounds to those of his biggest group realize the difference in approach?

Wouldn’t that tip him off that maybe a change was in order when it came to The Orioles’ image?

Or does continuing with their recent inclusion of organ and Hawaiian guitar into the mix once again represent his idea of a “radical shake-up” of this formula from the label whose initial promise withered and died so quickly?

Our Love’s To An End
The sad thing about The Orioles’ maddeningly inconsistent career in terms of quality is that they never lost their talent along the way. Sonny Til is still an exceptional lead singer and if the rest of the group were never at his level technically, their shortcomings – ragged harmonies and the awkward baritone bridges of George Nelson – were in many ways charming, giving them an unpolished sound behind a polished lead which may have even helped ensure Til’s emotional investment remained strong so as to keep them on the same page stylistically.

But the more you attempt to duplicate that same feel every time out, the less effective it becomes, especially with subpar material.

Written by – or simply credited to as a form of payola – legendary local disc jockey Willie Bryant, It’s Over Because We’re Through, aside from the redundant title, isn’t completely terrible and has a few welcome changes to their usual by-the-numbers approach, particularly with the fact that Til is not in a subservient position within the story. However to start with they still fall prey to the same slow pace and unexciting arrangements that seem increasingly out of step with the current rock scene.

Til does all he can with the deathly slow melody, adding hesitation moves, dropping down and rising up unexpectedly, trying whatever he can to add some life to the song.

Unfortunately those around him he needs to rely on most when it comes to this achieving this task are dropping the ball.

The backing music by Buddy Lucas’s band is just as out of place here as it was the last time they tried this inexplicable church organ meets Hawaiian lūʻau motif which leads you to believe that either Jerry Blaine’s batty old Aunt Gertrude died and left him an organ that he can’t unload, or that on his last trip to the islands (paid for no doubt by royalties he never gave his artists) he mistook the intentions of the girl who put the lei’ over his shoulders as he disembarked the plane as a sign of true love and is desperately trying to win her over with these out of place guitar parts.

As for the other Orioles, their harmonies are so faint for much of this that you wonder why Jubilee didn’t choose this as one of the cuts to issue as a Sonny Til solo record.

But then you see why as the record is suddenly enlivened by one of the things that usually brings it down, namely George Nelson’s bridge. Maybe the booze he’s been swilling behind everybody’s back finally kicked in as he steps up the pace and backed by drums, some discreet sax lines by Lucas and the enthusiastic support of a much bouncier Orioles contingent on vocals, this interlude – while making absolutely no sense in the story – gives the record a jolt of energy it so badly needed.

Not enough to turn it into a hit, nor even make all that much sense as a record, but at least it’s not another monotonous weeper out of them.


We Must Part
Few people – other than gold diggers I guess – get married believing they’re going to someday divorce. Everyone wants to believe their union will endure and it’s that faith that gets them to try and defy the statistical odds against them and sometimes cause an unhappy couple to stick it out even when their love has clearly faded.

But business is not akin to marriage. People take new jobs all the time and move to new cities, rent new apartments, make new friends and turn their lives upside down just to keep trying to find something that suits them and make the most of their time here.

The Orioles really need to treat their association with Jubilee Records as a job, not a marriage, and look to get out of it as quickly as possible because this certainly qualifies as irreconcilable differences.

The label’s game plan for them hasn’t changed in five years, their ability to read the music landscape is virtually non-existent, Jerry Blaine’s primary interest is in his other more lucrative business and unless the group themselves start writing their own songs and learning instruments, or paying for better session musicians and arrangers out of their own pockets, then It’s Over Because We’re Through might just be what they’ll be saying about their own successful career.

It feels funny to say that a group that has given us so many superlative records as The Orioles – by our count five that were absolutely perfect (9) and another six that we deemed great (8) – were also rock’s biggest disappointments, but that might just be the case.

Of course the caveat to that is it’s hard to be much of a disappointment without showing extraordinary talent along the way, but when each release of a group like this has more often than not been met with skepticism and trepidation on our part, it tells you how low our expectations have sunk thanks to the people behind the scenes who were determining their output.

This single isn’t going to change that negative impression which means as the rest of rock surges ahead in the spring of 1952, The Orioles, who were once so vital in the music’s breakthrough, keep lagging behind.


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