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KING 4579; NOVEMBER 1952



The question posed by the title of this song, if not the accompanying lyrics, is an all too appropriate one for Junior Denby to be asking.

After all, while on furlough from the Marines he was brought into the studio by King Records producer Henry Glover and given a sheaf of songs to cut without the presence of his group, The Swallows, who were on the road unaware of this deception being carried out in their name.

The fallout from it all would eventually lead to The Swallows being unceremoniously dropped by the label, Denby being offered a solo deal instead and then quitting music altogether because of the non-stop deception perpetrated by the company which was supposed to have the group’s best interests in mind.

After all these underhanded treacherous acts he had to deal with, maybe the only appropriate answer to his question would be to tell him he should either go to a monastery or to a nuthouse… though perhaps going to law school so he could exact a measure of revenge on those responsible for wrecking the group’s career would’ve been a more fitting destination.


We Could Start Over Again
Since we’ve already massacred Henry Glover for betraying a) The Swallows, b) Junior Denby and c) the public in one fell swoop when reviewing the flip side of this single, we can probably avoid piling on the acclaimed producer.

We can avoid it… but we won’t.

We’ve long been admirers of Glover’s skill… as a songwriter, arranger, and just a musical savant who forsook his own jazz leanings and not only fully embraced rock ‘n’ roll, but also country music so he could work well with those artists on the King label as well.

That’s a rare level of commitment for somebody in the record industry, a profession not always known for accommodating the stylistic leanings of the actual genres they’re involved in.

But maybe we should’ve seen this coming. Let’s not forget when they arrived at the label’s doorstep The Swallows were a truly democratic group, as tenor Eddie Rich was the initial frontman and bassist Bunky Mack got his songs as well, but when Glover had Junior Denby, who was also a good songwriter, handle the songs he wrote he felt that was their most commercial sound and from then on more or less stuck exclusively to giving Denby the leads regardless of where the material came from.

That was a somewhat dubious choice, for while Denby had some great performances on certain types of material, his nasal baritone was a rather limited sound and by easing the others out of the spotlight it cut way back on the group’s versatility for exploring different types of songs and cultivating a wider audience in the process. Now he’s elbowed the others out the door altogether, leaving us to ask Where Do I Go From Here when it comes to treating these bastardized sides – and this now-fractured group – as an important part of the rock landscape.

Although I’m sure he’d argue this was purely circumstantial, as he only had access to Denby for the two weeks he was leave while the others were on tour of the South, those claims would be easily refuted by the sheer fact that over the course of a full year while Denby was in the service while The Swallows were still under contract with King, he brought the rest of the group in just one time to record on their own and then dropped them from the label.

It just goes to show that once you’re immersed in the record business even someone like Henry Glover wasn’t immune to taking on the worst characteristics of those around him.


There Is No Love Without You
This was for all intent and purposes Henry Glover’s way of testing the water for an eventual Junior Denby solo career… something Denby himself didn’t seem interested in.

The fact that it came out under the Swallows name, and with a promo record touting the other members while sort of acknowledging that it features only Denby’s presence, only makes it more egregious… and frankly a lot less compelling.

Say what you will about Denby’s skill set, good or bad, but it was clear that he worked best when buffetted by the voices of others and on Where Do I Go From Here he’s left to stand or fall on his own and the result is less a rock ballad and more of a torch song being performed for a few late night stragglers at a nightclub ten minutes before closing.

Songs about love affairs ending without explanation leaving one party mystified and dejected are a staple of popular music, as it stands to reason that the pain so many go through at one time or another in the rocky road of romance needs a safe outlet to release those feelings, but that doesn’t always mean they’re effectively purging the grief in the songs they give us.

Such is the case here where Denby’s merely wallowing in his own misery rather than trying to come to an understanding over what happened that led him to this point and accept his share of the blame and either work to fix his flaws and hope the girl can do the same for her role in this, or if not then to make a clean break and move on, wiser for the experience.

In real life that takes time and we don’t know how long it’s been since Denby got dumped, so excuse us for being callous for expecting some resolution right away, but a song gets to choose which stage of the process it takes place in and the self-pitying down in the dumps stage is not the one most people want to hear somebody work their way through.

Give us the shocked Denby, just in the process of recoiling from the split that happened only moments before… or give us the immediate visceral reaction that follows, where anger mixes with his pain as he lashes out and lays into the girl for whatever her faults she had along the way. Or jump forward to the gradual lifting yourself off the canvas stage where you’re still sad but are coming to grips with it. Better still, how about flaunting the new girl you picked up by going to the place where your ex is bound to be hanging out, showing you’re over her in a very public, albeit transparent, way?

But this… this is just depressing for us as well as for him. To be fair, Denby’s completely believable in this outlook so we can’t fault his delivery or his underlying mindset, but we can lay blame with Glover who’s chosen to present him at his most vulnerable – and least vocally pleasing – while hoping that sympathy alone can somehow overcome our uneasiness about having to relive a moment that most people want to avoid.

Here, with virtually no musical distractions outside of a halting piano offered alongside Denby’s morose vocals, it becomes all but impossible to avoid… unless of course you turn the record off. If so, we can hardly blame you.


There’s No Solution Here It Seems
It was said that Henry Glover felt that Junior Denby could be another Charles Brown, a very popular cocktail blues act of the late 40’s and early 50’s, which is all very well and good except for a few small details.

The first is The Swallows, of whom Denby was still technically a member, were a rock vocal group by choice and cocktail blues is pretty far removed from that. Furthermore it’s not as if the two genres have much overlap in their audience which means you’d have to cultivate an entirely NEW fan base for Denby to succeed in that realm – with his full consent of course – which would entail getting him booked on the nightclub circuit as well as billing him under his own name rather than his group who are going to be pulling in rock fans expecting to hear… ya know… THE GROUP, not just one guy!

Moreover, Denby is in the Marines, so he can’t even visit nightclubs, let alone sing in them, and by issuing Where Do I Go From Here as by The Swallows you’re alienating the group’s fans who’d buy this under false pretenses while also antagonizing the group themselves who can’t be happy they aren’t on the record that bears their name. On top of it all you’re still not doing Junior Denby one ounce of good in the process.

Shame on you, Henry Glover… we though you were above this sort of thing, instead you’re just as bad as the rest of your disgraceful profession.


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