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REGAL 3322; MAY 1951

 
 

 

When a minor artist has made just two appearances in rock’s first 1,400+ songs and both of those records received the lowest possible grade it means that he’s the single worst artist we’ve reviewed to date, hands down.

Why then, you might ask, are we subjecting you to more torture by covering another of his efforts? Wouldn’t it be smarter to just cut bait and look ahead to some really big names on the imminent horizon and do away with these lowly diversions?

No, it wouldn’t. The truth is like any creative endeavor more will try and fail than will succeed in their attempts and since we don’t cover those who failed to even get a recording contract it’s left to guys like Titus Turner to remind us just how good the ones who made it truly are by comparison.

Besides, who knows, now that your expectations for him are as low as they could possibly be, maybe he’ll wind up surprising you somewhere along the way.
 

 

I Can’t Figure Out What’s Wrong With You
I’m not sure I’d call this side of the record a case of being shocked in what we hear, as in “Hey, it’s actually really good, you really need to check it out!”, but it IS a little shocking to find that he’s actually listenable for an entire record.

Barely maybe, but anything is progress when compared to his earlier efforts.

Actually once he gets his feet under him Titus Turner isn’t terrible. It’s far from being really good maybe, but as journeyman rock songs go it’s modestly competent and may even show signs of being somewhat inspired.

Unfortunately it takes awhile to get even there as this starts off with its weakest section right away and based on your existing opinions of him that might just be all it takes to have you indignantly exclaim Let’s Forget The Whole Thing and give up on it altogether.

The spry horns that open the record helps and hurts his cause in equal measure. The good is that it’s a rousing pattern they’re playing which generates a bit of excitement in the process, building momentum for what may follow. The bad however is that the horn section isn’t as muscular as we’d like to hear, thereby giving this a faint whiff of the past when what it really needs to do is peer further into the future.

But all that is tolerable if Turner can just hold up his end of the bargain, something he’s proven to be incapable of doing at every turn so far in his short career. Here he looks as though he’s about to make it three for three when it comes to failures as his early vocal delivery sounds like Edward G. Robinson trying to sing – “anotherrrrrrrr gaaaaallllll”.

See?

But once he gets that out of his system Turner actually shows, dare we say, a modicum of genuine talent. Well, let’s not get carried away or anything, but at the very least he proves that it was as much his uncertainty or self-consciousness with his delivery that was at fault for his dreadful shortcomings prior to this as it was his lack of a good singing voice.

As long as he allows himself to just ride the rhythm of the song he’s more than acceptable here, displaying a decent enough baritone that resonates well with a slightly metallic vibrato. It’s not a great vocal instrument and he’s lacking nuance in how to apply it, but he’s attacking the song with gusto and seems to get more confident as he goes along.
 

Down So Long That Down Don’t Worry Me
As for the song itself… well, keep in mind that Titus Turner’s claim to fame, or what passes for it anyway, will be his songwriting in time, but as of yet he hasn’t shown much in that regard either.

Here he tries again with slightly better results.

Let’s Forget The Whole Thing is a break-up song with a believable mixture of incredulity that it came to this and while at the same time finds him taking a resolute attitude about the relationship being over and admitting that it’s time for him to move on.

He nails the conflicting emotions lyrically with some bitter generalizations about women thrown in that serve as a natural outlet for his pain. Unfortunately he doesn’t go deeper into any of this, be it the girl herself, the specific reasons behind their split or his feelings after all is said and done. Each of those aspects get only passing mentions, moving it forward without probing the topics.

It’s a step forward in his writing, but a small step at that.

Musically it’s a mixed bag as well, those horns remain too prominent, or at least too strident in their playing, eventually getting carried away and whipping themselves into a frenzy which seems a little too frantic for the subject. The drummer though is really busy throughout this and sounds great, in effect replicating the emotional turmoil that Turner is going through, but you have to wide through a lot of brass and reeds to find him.

The sax solo is energetic if a little high pitched and there’s a lot churning in the background – piano, guitar and what sounds like maracas or some similar shaken percussion instrument buried in the mix during the extended break – that it’s kind of like musical soup where everything blends together a little too much.

All told though it’s a serviceable track even if it doesn’t add much to the record. For the most part it holds things together enough to pass muster which has to be seen as a positive considering Turner generally needs all the help he can get when it comes to keeping him focused.
 


 

Those Days Are Gone You See
After appearing so incompetent at his jobs the first two times around that it almost felt cruel carving him up for public consumption in the reviews, this time around Titus Turner gets a mild form of hard-earned redemption.

There’s even a case to be made that we could be slightly more generous with this and bump it up a point, but that would likely be due to feeling pleasantly surprised by what he shows here in relation to his earlier crash and burn records.

Still, all things considered, it’s hard not to admire his progress and even suggest that with a few tweaks it’s not too far away from being average for the day. If he’d have tightened up the horn section, altered his delivery on that first section and maybe instead of repeating himself in the lyrics he’d added a little more depth to the story this would make for a more promising creative re-birth.

As it is though it’s enough to take some heat off of us for including him in the first place and ensures that nobody will calling on us to Let’s Forget The Whole Thing when it comes to covering Turner’s ensuing career.

Chalk it up as a small victory for someone for whom any kind of victory seemed little more than a pipe dream not long ago.
 
 
SPONTANEOUS LUNACY VERDICT:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
(Visit the Artist page of Titus Turner for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)