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Having successfully reinvigorated their sagging commercial returns in the fall by taking on a more aggressive approach, both musically and vocally, you had to wonder what The Orioles would do to follow that up.

If history was any guide you’d expect them to immediately try and duplicate their success with more blues-based songs with a prominent guitar and urgent group vocals, figuring that if audiences liked it once they’d be sure to go for second helpings from the same dish.

But this is The Orioles we’re talking about and for years they’ve been so reliant on mining the same barren ground for dreamy pop-leaning ballads that it was hard to fathom that they wouldn’t treat that last single as nothing but an anomoly and, though grateful for the hit it gave them, would quickly return to what they made their name on all this time.

All of which is to say that nobody with any sense would trust in The Orioles to make the right decision and give us something really interesting, challenging or unexpected.


Have The Faith I Have In You
As of late saxophonist and Jubilee records’ resident arranger Buddy Lucas has been getting co-billing on most of the label’s singles.

At times however Lucas himself rarely contributes if a horn isn’t deemed necessary and sure enough he’s nowhere to be found here either.

However his Band Of Tomorrow, as they’ve been calling themselves, do attempt to try and justify that unusual moniker with an opening that sounds like it was taken from a 1952 sci-fi television show or movie sound effects reel by combining an organ and Hawaiian guitar which frankly is the most interesting thing about the record which – as we speculated – does indeed return them to their regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

Yeah, that’s right, we get yet another heartfelt ballad (dating back to 1937!) featuring Sonny Til’s halting tenor with only minimal atmospheric support from the others. Real adventurous of them! Way to keep pace with the advances being made in rock vocal group circles over the past year, fellas!

But here’s where we’ll sort of cut them some slack and say their decision to head back to safer ground was at least partly logistical… when they went into the studio the second week of January the debate over which side of their October single was going to connect with audiences was still uncertain.

In New York, where Jubilee was located, the ballad Don’t Tell Her What Happened To Me was sitting in the Top Ten and it’d rise into The Top Five the next week.

So you could theoretically understand their inclination to stick with what had gotten them this far to begin with and not surprisingly the songs cut that day in addition to Trust In Me were the usual assortment of lame ballads including a couple dreary pop tunes.

But what’s not so defensible is days after they laid this down they placed an ad in the trades touting Baby, Please Don’t Go, which had now started to make noise first in Miami and then nationwide, indicating they were aware that a more exciting approach had verifiable commercial potential.

So the question is, were they merely clearing the decks of lightweight material such as this in preparation for some additional harder edged songs they’d be getting on tape soon, or were we to assume that the song in question which was currently rising on the charts was going to wind up being nothing more than a tantalizing “what if” that would soon be resigned to memory?

You Can Be Sure
After that intriguing space-aged introduction we told you about, what follows is hardly looking to the future unless you think the future wears a lei’, because the only notable addition to The Orioles sound here is the increased presence of that Hawaiian guitar which is about as out of place on record as it looks on the page.

In many ways though we should be glad for this because it lets into the mindset of Jubilee Records just before realizing that there might actually be another avenue to take when it came to The Orioles.

Obviously they were looking to shake things up because they finally realized – long after most rock fans had – that “boring” was not a viable marketing plan for the group since octogenarians were hardly a robust demographic for rock ‘n’ roll and so they turned their attention to the South Seas with that guitar.

Of course Hawaii wasn’t even a state yet and had a rather small population compared to the rest of the country so it probably wasn’t the smartest idea to focus on cornering the market on the islands to return The Orioles to past glories. Instead they should’ve concentrated on getting them a better song than Trust In Me.

I suppose the one good thing about it is Sonny Til is not crying over losing a girl, or worrying himself to tears over not getting one to begin with. He’s actually got a girl and is merely trying to convince her to stick with him because the young lady sounds as if she’s acquired some of Sonny’s usual symptoms of anxiety, self-doubt and nervous indigestion.

Sonny’s performance is up to his usual standards though which makes it sound better than it has a right to. Since the company was trying a new wrinkle with the unusual accompaniment Sonny appears to figure he’ll go along with their experimental mindset by adding even more hesitation moves between each line, almost to the point where you think he lost his place on the lead sheet.

The lyrics, though hardly very deep and lacking much drama, conflict or anything resembling significance, are suitable enough for the kind of song this sets out to be. There’s even some hints of poignancy in the lines which Sonny tries his best to bring out.

While we can consider ourselves lucky that George Nelson showed up drunk, or failed to show at all as was happening more and more of late, and thus there’s no baritone led bridge to plod through as Sonny sings it himself, they don’t give the remaining sober Orioles much to do to help his cause. A few sighs and some innocuous harmony aside, this is more or less a Sonny solo record.

Unfortunately he probably could use a little help to boost a song where the melody at times staggers around like a drunk on a pitch black night and the weird Hawaiian guitar gives the impression we’re about to dock in Waikiki.

Give them credit for trying something new I suppose, but this only seems to confirm they’d run out of sensible ideas and were now merely throwing anything at the wall and hoping it’d stick.


When Things Go Wrong
Hold on. Wait a second here. Stop the presses.

We aren’t doing this seventy years in the future for nothing you know! We actually have relevant information that would’ve been unknown to the record buying public in February 1952 when this came out and seemed to suggest that Jubilee Records and perhaps The Orioles themselves were not totally inept at their jobs after all.

A week after this session that produced the latest batch of lightweight songs that made Trust In Me seem like a deep meaningful piece of art by comparison, the company must’ve seen the growing response to their one out of the ordinary effort that was now just starting to climb the charts and hauled The Orioles back in the studio to come up with something with a little more bite on it to keep that momentum going.

Of course rather than hold this song back in favor of the best of those sides as you’d expect them to do, they forged ahead with this rather bland throwback to their earlier approach anyway, although to be fair it probably was already being printed up and so we’re just criticizing them gratuitously here for our own perverse enjoyment.

Rest assured we’ll get to some of those songs in the near future, but just to drive home the point that even when they did occasionally have the right idea, they were still beset with a stubborn stupid streak, it’s interesting to note that they wound up leaving one of the more interesting of those songs cut at that second January session on the shelf altogether and thus not surprisingly they began to flounder commercially once again as a result.

When it comes to Jubilee Records, I guess some things never change.


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