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OKEH 6904; AUGUST 1952



In matters of romance there are plenty of reasons why things can fall apart. The causes range from basic incompatibility that becomes more apparent as the initial attraction wanes, to reasons that are more specific such as different life goals, increasing mood swings or the fact that he never puts the toilet seat down.

Of all of the sources of a breakup however, none is more damaging than infidelity because it hits you on so many levels, from the betrayal regarding physical and emotional intimacy to the fact that to carry it out requires consistently lying to your partner.

In something like music, which doesn’t carry the same consequences, the idea of an artist “cheating” on those who like them might seem far-fetched, but when rock fans were constantly being told by the industry that their tastes were less important than older more respectable audiences, you better believe that hearing a group deviate from rock to satisfy the needs of others was just as much of an unforgivable sin as cheating on your partner in a relationship.

Maybe to some it was even worse.


All Over Town
That scenario just laid out wouldn’t seem to apply much to The Treniers, at least when looked at from the rock fan’s perspective, because the group were hardly a first-tier rock act in the way we usually think of things.

After all, they had only one small national hit. They were largely playing in adult oriented clubs to white audiences, meaning young black rock fans were not seeing them in person much. They also pre-dated rock so they weren’t intrinsically tied to the genre and while they definitely embraced a good deal of the music in their show from the beginning, it could be argued that they were using it as a gimmick, giving them a style ripe for sending up on stage in a lighthearted way.

So to a rock fan who followed their favorite music by buying, or at least spinning on a jukebox, all of the major hits and hottest tracks, it was doubtful they were going to be thinking The Treniers were all that special to begin with and certainly not a group capable of betraying their trust by stepping further outside of rock’s parameters.

But what of The Treniers ADULT fans? The ones who might not buy a single record but who caught their act at whatever club they were playing and thought they were a gas! Those fans, the ones actually putting MONEY in the group’s pockets (unlike OKeh Records who probably charged them more for recording than they brought in from royalties), might not want authentic rock songs at all, but rather songs that approximated rock ‘n’ roll in order to make fun of its excesses.

To them, betrayal would take on a different form altogether, one based on The Treniers releasing full-fledged unadulterated rock songs aimed at the young audience who demanded the real thing.

Well, they didn’t have to worry about that here, as the nightclub denizens wouldn’t accuse them of Cheatin’ On Me after hearing this song.

Though it’s got some attributes that were relatable in rock, it’s decidedly non-specific about its primary genre identification.

Of course that also means it’s pretty nondescript and since it’s not playing up the aspects that the rock fan will love – and the adult fan loves to see poked fun at – there’s no audience left to really support it.


When You Find Out It Really Brings You Down
Let’s not forget that for all of their crazy antics, The Trenier twins – Cliff and Claude – were very skilled vocalists who were perfectly capable of singing a song “straight” and still impressing you.

That’s not quite the case here, Claude is at times exaggerating his despair to get a reaction, but the slower pace and less frantic accompaniment definitely makes you focus on the story and the singing more than usual and unfortunately for The Treniers it’s not exactly special in either of those departments.

The story is more or less what you’d derive from a title like Cheatin’ On Me as Claude discovers his best friend is sleeping with his girl. Rather than expand on this premise with a story that delves into the particulars – either humorously with the illicit couple running around and trying to give him the slip while he hurls accusations at the pair; or tackling it in a manner that focuses on the escalating emotions, from shock to sadness to anger and finally retribution, they’re content to just settle for the sadness aspect and let him wail away in misery.

Okay, we feel bad for him, sure, but you know what to do… dump the girl, ditch the friend and move on. It’ll be a tough couple of weeks, but you’re better off without them.

But no, we have to be the one he ropes into spilling his feelings to over a drink and unless we’re insensitive clods we can’t tell him to stop his crying and get over it. Likewise our offer to go to the friend’s house and pin his arms behind him as Claude batters him senseless falls on deaf ears.

His first rate band isn’t much help here either, as they seem to be almost taunting him with a seductive snake-charmer horn line to open things up while the others incessantly repeat the title line in monotous fashion until you come to think they’re worse than the scoundrel who did the cheating because they won’t let him forget it.

Along the way we get some fair sax work from Don Hill that gets drowned out by Claude himself who moans a counterpoint “horn-line” of sorts that dominates in the mix, while later there’s a nice drum roll to distract us from the dreariness, but nothing worth wasting three minute of your life to hear.

None of it is exactly bad, as always Claude can sing and the band can play, but none of it is compelling in the least… not for a group that was capable of so much more, whether playing it straight or sending it up.

This does neither, meaning we all get cheated out of a decent record in the end.


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