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KING 4487; AUGUST 1951



What do you do when you’re rushed into the studio to cover a fast rising song on the charts for an immediate release and you don’t want to waste the best of your new original material recorded that day on a B-side of that cover version?

Why you simply pull an older song off the shelf and slap it on the single.

Of course it helps if the artist is prolific enough to have some quality songs leftover from past sessions and it helps even more if they contrast well with the aforementioned exuberant cover song.

As always Tiny Bradshaw had both of those areas covered.


I’ll Stay Home Every Night
This wasn’t too old of a track, having been cut back in January, but with its slower pace and introspective lyrics it wasn’t the kind of thing you’d associate with the fast living image Bradshaw had promoted and thus didn’t have the look of being hit material. As a result it was just a matter of need and circumstance before it surfaced to offset a more upbeat single.

(For those who don’t know, King was releasing all of their records with AA and A designations, the double A being the plug side.)

Though Bradshaw was all but incapable of singing in subdued fashion on any song that had even a trace of rhythm in its DNA, on Long Time Baby he’s at least easing off his tendency to inject mayhem into his vocals and spends most of the song alternating expressing his anguish which allows him to go up in volume and offering some sort of extended mea culpa to the woman he’s wronged which requires him to dial things down and look inward as he vows to change his ways.

It’s a good balance though, giving life to what may have been too maudlin in other hands as well as showing the internal conflict which – cynics that we are – will surely manifest itself if and when these two kids get back together and his manic behavior kicks in again… probably some morning around two o’clock when she wakes up to find Tiny putting on his shoes because he thought he heard a party six and half blocks away through the open window and doesn’t want to miss the festivities.

When he returns – a few hours or a few days later – I’m guessing she’ll be gone and he’ll have to go through this begging routine again, pledging with all the sincerity he can muster that THIS time he’ll really settle down.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, it definitely does help that we know these artists so well by now, because without that history with them we might actually believe his vows to behave more responsibly.

In fact listening to him here I’m sure he means what he says in the moment… he’s not a bad guy after all, just a little too socially restless for his own good. If you’re the kind of girl who wants to live in the fast lane, he’s a great guy to sit next to when he’s behind the wheel, but if you’re seeking a quiet life it’s probably best to let him drive right by you on his way downtown.


If You Be Good To Me
Of course someone as popular as Tiny Bradshaw is bound to have plenty of friends willing to serve as character witnesses for him when need be. People who can lend a touch of class to his disheveled appearance or who can do their best to highlight his better qualities… or at least those which seem more contrite.

Here that task falls mainly to guitarist Willy Gaddy whose intermittent licks are appropriately bluesy and covey sadness more than Bradshaw is capable of on his own, and saxman Red Prysock who keeps a melancholy feel behind the vocals just in case Tiny forgets his goals here and starts wailing away like a madman on a bender.

Instrumentally Bradshaw’s crew is as tight as can be and no matter what the style they’re asked to play they’re more than capable of pulling it off. Long Time Baby requires them to keep Bradshaw tightly confined and so they give him little room to maneuver while still mixing up the sound thanks to the subtle trade-offs between guitar and sax.

The others are adhering to their duties as well as Jimmy Robinson’s piano is keeping the melody from growing stagnant with all sorts of different fills, and Nab Shields is steady as they come on drums.

Gaddy’s solo though is the highlight of the record, speeding up his playing from the licks he’d featured earlier without letting them run away from him. The pauses in between each line and the higher tone he uses makes it seem fraught with some peril, which is probably attributable to his fear that Bradshaw will conk him over the head with the microphone stand and steal his car keys so he can take the two secretaries at the studio on a joyride around town.

Beyond that dexterous break there’s nothing very fancy going on here, but anything too outrageous might send their leader into conniption fits so they keep it within the marked lanes, pulling safely into the driveway when all is said and done… no harm, no foul.

I’ll Make It By And By
Everything about this record is competently constructed, well executed and perfectly in proportion to the other elements.

Bradshaw’s singing is well measured, the band’s playing is technically precise and the overall mood they create together is suitably mellow and uncharacteristically reserved for their wayward boss.

It’d be hard to do this much better… and yet you need to keep in mind its aims when judging Long Time Baby.

This was a song that wasn’t designed to be a hit even in the best of circumstances. It’s a song that also wasn’t going to be a showstopper on the bandstand. It was not quite filler material, but not far off either. Second set, fourth song, probably when coffee and desert are being served and the chatter in the club was taking precedent over the band on the stage. At a house party this would be about twenty minutes after the guy with the weed pulled up and everyone took a few hits and were settling down for awhile.

In that situation even Tiny Bradshaw can’t jump and holler to draw your attention back to what he’s doing, you have to let the people chill out while still giving those without someone to talk to a song that was good enough to distract them while they waited for their significant other to return from the bathroom.

By the top of the hour it’d be time to rev things up again and we all know Tiny Bradshaw won’t have to be asked twice to crank up the volume and let the band cut loose.

So a record like this had a different purpose than most in that it had to be good enough for a few spins every so often without doing anything to compete with the more exciting top side that the company was plugging.

There’s an art to this sort of thing and while it’s generally not something widely celebrated, it’s still nice to see it carried off so effortlessly.


(Visit the Artist page of Tiny Bradshaw for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)