No tags :(

Share it

OKEH 6932; NOVEMBER 1952



The primary complaint regarding The Treniers recorded output over the years is found in their disparate aims.

On one hand their records need to appeal to the young rock fan who are the ones with the interest, disposable income and free time to devote to such things, but on the other hand The Treniers livelihood derived largely from their showstopping club routine where the audience was middle-aged largely white adults out for harmless kicks by slumming in a milder, if more visually rambunctious, form of rock ‘n’ roll.

By trying to appeal to both without alienating either they failed miserably, even when getting good topics such as on the flip side of this single, they soft-peddled the message and ruined the record.

On this side they seemed to have the right attributes in place to appeal to the younger audience, but in the end it was once again the adults who blew this release to smithereens… in more ways than one.


Jump Into The Saddle And Hold On Tight
In the early 1950’s television was firmly entrenched as a staple of American life. What had been a rare curiosity owned by just a few East Coast dwellers when rock ‘n’ roll began in 1947 was now an infestation that spread across the land with shows for every conceivable set of eyeballs.

ABC was the lowest rated network on the air whose first breakthrough came by focusing solely on kids with a show called The Lone Ranger featuring the decidedly G-rated adventures of a cowboy hero who wore a mask to right wrongs while his Native American manservant Tonto took all of the risks and got none of the glory.

Kids loved it and the show was the only program on ABC that anybody, young or old, bothered to tune in for in those days. The Lone Ranger rode a horse called Silver and when the bad guys were beaten, though never hurt in the action, he’d mount his trusty steed, kick it in the sides and yell out Hi-Yo Silver… away! And off they’d go hunting for another dastardly deed to thwart for next week’s thrilling episode.

So that’s the basis for the song which attempted to get The Treniers the coveted 7-12 year old demographic to go along with the 35-55 constituency they already had in their hip pocket. The fact that both of those age groups combined buy as many singles a year as most 13-25 year olds buy in one afternoon should probably concern OKeh Records more than it does, but as we’ll see, they’ll soon have bigger problems to address with this release.

The sad thing is, even though they trip themselves up along the way, it’s actually one of The Treniers more inspired records of late.

C’mon And Jump Into This Fine Fish Tail
Though both Milt and Claude Trenier are good technical singers, their reliance on exaggerated showmanship in their live gigs means that in the studio they have a tendency to play into that more than is necessary to sell the song.

It’s like the difference between stage acting, which projection is required to make sure the last row in the theater hears you, and film acting where the camera can pick up the slightest vocal inflection or subtle glance allowing you to give a more nuanced performance.

The Treniers are always playing to the back of the theater and that’s what ultimately derails a pretty good idea with this one, as the song Claude wrote is not about some live action cartoon character in a garish blue outfit and red bandana as you’d expect, but rather is merely using certain aspects of that image to promote their own version of a larger than life hero – themselves – driving a Cadillac rather than riding a horse but using the same Hi-Yo Silver refrain as their battle cry before heading out on the town.

When they actually dispense with some information about this egoistical man about town you like what you hear, but far too much time is taken up with the chanting title line (which accounts for more HALF the total run time!!!) that serves as a chorus, obviously designed to ignite the crowd in person while boring the pants off the guy who bought the record. Had they cut that down considerably and expanded on the activities of the playboy character they’re portraying, this had a lot of potential.

Instead we get just a cursory look at those things with a few brief instrumental solos tossed in besides, making this yet another of their visual stage routines crammed into an audio performance.

It’s almost impossible to fathom how they could’ve been this stupid. Not just The Treniers themselves, but especially OKeh Records. For years jazz musicians had learned how to craft economical records that allowed them to expand on the themes they only touched upon with more indulgent solos on stage, so why couldn’t The Treniers have followed suit? Instead they tried to replicate their live gigs on wax without comprehending the different appeal of that medium.

This was a song that had a lot of promise if they’d only let it breathe. We don’t want to hear them shouting the same stupid catch-phrase over and over, we want to know what these guys who clearly think they’re god’s gift to women are planning on doing with – and to – those women later on.

If the song presented a few cowboy scenarios about riding into town and confronting the stand-in “bad guys” – husbands who hold their wives captive and make them cook and clean all day – before The Treniers shoot it out with them, freeing the ladies and getting a reward for their heroics, that would actually provide far more juicy possibilities for them to explore on stage, not to mention make for a much better record.

But once again, their musical instincts are overridden by their business instincts and they’re too afraid to risk their livelihood by taking something too far. So in the end, they’re not the fearless Lone Ranger as they want to believe, they’re Tonto, riding dutifully behind while choking on someone else’s cloud of dust.


A Lone Stranger From Across The Tracks
Ultimately it’s not the content of the single that this record is remembered for, it’s the fact it wasn’t out long enough for most people to hear the contents of the record, as the send-up of a trademarked character – even though he’s not directly mentioned – was too much for the owners of that trademark and they forced OKeh into taking it off the market.

That was no big loss to rock ‘n’ roll obviously, because Hi-Yo Silver was a better idea than a record anyway. But it does show how secondary their recording career had become if having a single deleted from their catalog received more press than any of their actual singles had gotten for their musical content in years.

If The Treniers were smart they’d have refused to buckle under and forced Clayton Moore himself to ride into town in full costume to confront them over the record on stage. Since he never mortally wounded a single desperado on The Lone Ranger television show to ensure the character’s wholesome image wasn’t besmirched, imagine his surprise when Milt and Claude pulled real guns and blew a hole in his chest that Tonto could’ve ridden through.

Since The Treniers were always more concerned with creating a bang with their stage routine anyway, tell me that wouldn’t be a hard act to follow!


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