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The Robins

LA vocal group the Robins are best remembered today because the forerunner from the Coasters, though their very own record of strikes was substantial in its right. Also, their background will be a lot more difficult than most followers from the Coasters know, and can become split into two important stages. The Robins’ origins get back to Alameda SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, in 1945. That 12 months, tenor Terrell Leonard (aka Ty Terrell) became a member of with baritone siblings Billy Richards and Roy Richards to create that which was known originally because the A-Sharp Trio, performing repertoire that demonstrated the distinct impact of the Golden Gate Quartet, the Nat Ruler Cole Trio, as well as the Delta Tempo Boys, among various other established harmony sets of the time. They transferred to LA and found plenty of function in the region around W, but their initial break came if they positioned second within a competition on the Barrelhouse Membership, possessed by bandleader Johnny Otis, who employed them to execute on weekends. It had been on the Barrelhouse Membership they crossed pathways with bass/baritone Bobby Nunn, who do odd careers around the area in between performing, looking forward to his break. That minute emerged when Otis considered to convert the trio right into a quartet, and find out if indeed they couldn’t cut in on a number of the target audience which was coalescing round the rival group the Ravens. Terrell, the Richards brothers, and Nunn therefore in the beginning became the Four Bluebirds (a name selected by Otis) and slice one part under that name (supported by an Otis part), entitled “My Baby Done EXPLAINED,” for the Excelsior label early in 1949. The quartet discarded the Bluebirds name immediately after, with its second documenting session — this time around for Aladdin Information — in-may of 1949, the group was referred to as the Robins. The very first Robins solitary, “Around About Midnight” b/w “You Sure Appear Good IF YOU ASK ME”, made an appearance in June of 1949. Another Aladdin solitary, “DO NOT LIKE THE Way You’re Performing” b/w “KEEP COMING BACK Baby,” arrived just a few weeks later. These were following authorized to the Savoy label, combined with the rest of Otis’ carrying out outfit, which led to some produces that included Johnny Otis using them and the look of them in the one “Increase Crossin’ Blues” support his business lead vocalist Esther Jones (aka Small Esther). The last mentioned record continued to become among Savoy’s biggest retailers. For the time being, the very first Savoy solitary actually acknowledged towards the Robins, “EASILY Didn’t Like You Therefore” b/w “WHETHER IT’S Therefore Baby,” arrived in Dec of 1949. They slice a wide array of singles for Savoy in 1950, some acknowledged towards the group among others released as Johnny Otis, Small Esther, and Mel Walker singles (which, in the latter, these were acknowledged as “the Blue Records”). Their debut Savoy one was ultimately flipped, the upbeat “WHETHER IT’S So Baby” changing the bluesier primary A-side because the “play” aspect, and peaked at amount ten in the R&B graphs, the group’s initial national chart positioning. To increase the guarantee they appeared to appreciate that yr, “Two times Crossin’ Blues” became a straight bigger strike, rising completely to the very best i’m all over this the R&B graphs. It seemed as if the Robins had been on their method. And then, all of a sudden, in the springtime of 1950, their 1st string of achievement found a halt. That they had contacted Johnny Otis about the money they were obtaining, and Otis responded by firing the Robins from his present, over the eve of what could have been their initial nationwide tour. The Robins had been eliminated from Otis’ orbit and their documenting agreement, but Savoy released many Robins singles on the ensuing a few months, thanks to the top stockpile of recordings that they’d left out; additionally, Bobby Nunn, who acquired already trim some edges by himself, documented some singles within the wake from the split. The summertime of 1950 noticed them grab their profession under a fresh agreement with Dolphin Information, which yielded “Competition of Man” b/w “Bayou Baby Blues.” After that it had been off towards the Bihari Brothers’ RPM and Contemporary Information imprints later on in the entire year, where they cut some edges backing Mickey Champ. But it is at 1951, on the program that yielded four tracks, that fate got a hands — among the amounts they cut was “That’s What the nice Publication Says,” a reasonably undistinguished composition which was notable among the first successful songwriting endeavors by a couple of white teens, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The track was relegated to some B-side, and to keep the group from overtly operating afoul of the Dolphin contract, it had been acknowledged to “the Robbins” — nonetheless it do mark the very first time that Leiber & Stoller would mix pathways with this group expertly. The quartet became inactive during middle-1951 because of the armed service draft, which swept up using the Richards brothers and Terrell. Bobby Nunn was the only real member not really in uniform for some of another season, and he pursued a string of singles under his very own name in this hiatus, in addition to working with Small Esther on several edges for Government. The four originals reunited in past due 1952, opening that which was fundamentally the second stage from the group’s background, and they achieved it with the addition of a 5th member with their rates, Grady Chapman. His existence, with another, higher-range tenor tone of voice, extended their higher range significantly and offered the group that which was essentially a fresh audio. The re-formed Robins also obtained the solutions of a fresh manager, Jack port Lewis, who forced them up in to the big style with an RCA Victor documenting agreement in early 1953. In Feb of that 12 months, they produced their RCA bow with “A Fool Such as for example I” b/w “My Heart’s the largest Fool,” the second option notable as an organization initial. The quintet continued to be with RCA through the finish of the entire year, though their last documenting session occurred within the fall — despite many amazing recordings, they by no means charted using the label. In Oct of that season, RCA released the Robins’ saving of “Ten Times in Prison,” a Leiber & Stoller structure that offered a jocular treatment to a topic with some severe undertones, all carried out to a comic problem; it stood out because of the comical yet gritty vocal strategy of the group, and released as an RCA Victor solitary it do pretty well. But Leiber & Stoller, just like a large amount of songwriters for the reason that period, discovered themselves cut out of a big chunk of the rightful royalties, an event that led them to safeguard themselves in the foreseeable future by forming their very own submitting business and, in tandem using the latter, their very own record label, Spark Information, with experienced record company guy Lester Sill because the third partner in the business. The Robins got bounced from RCA back again to the Bihari Brothers, this time around to the present day label imprint Crown Information, by which they released a small number of edges in 1954. It had been during this time period which they added a fresh member, tenor Carl Gardner — it appears that Grady Chapman experienced become unreliable, due to some personal and legal circumstances, and wasn’t usually a certain wager to be accessible, and Gardner arrived aboard as insurance that they might have a minimum of five voices at their displays (so when Chapman do make it, there have been six, that was better still). Finally, within the springtime of 1954, the group was once again between contracts so when Leiber & Stoller contacted them — having got a good knowledge dealing with them before, and viewing some prospect of a serious upcoming using the group — and needed the Robins agreed upon to Spark, as well as the group was ready. And they strike the second period at bat for Spark with “Riot in Cell Stop #9,” a far more outrageously comical and outrageous treatment of the theme that experienced did wonders with “Ten Times in Prison,” filled with machine-gun sound files — both suppliers, nevertheless, changed Bobby Nunn as lead vocalist around the track having a visitor vocalist, Richard Berry, afterwards of “Louie, Louie” popularity. The group implemented this up with the likewise themed “Framed,” which appeared to click with everyone who noticed it. The issue for Leiber & Stoller, partner Lester Sill, as well as the Robins, nevertheless, was that Spark acquired no reliable nationwide distribution or advertising; because of this, their releases, great as they had been, simply weren’t viewing the product sales that they ought to have, or producing the graphs. The documenting of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” in the summertime of 1954 brought issues to a mind, and also offered the two makers a song they could parlay into something very much larger than Spark Information was ever likely to end up being. Leiber & Stoller acquired already piled-up amazing credits as songwriters using the Big Mama Thornton strike “Hound Pup,” and in middle-1954 Nesuhi Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Information with his sibling Ahmet Ertegun, contacted them about licensing “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” for discharge on Atlantic’s Atco imprint. Because of this, the record made an appearance on both Spark and Atco brands, peaking at amount 79 nationally over the pop graphs and amount ten over the R&B graphs. It seemed as if the Robins had been finally breaking through someplace beyond LA, and that is when issues got challenging. Spark had been attracting interest from major brands, with one stage it seemed as if Decca Information would become buying out Leiber & Stoller and Sill. However the Spark owners and Decca’s administration had been never in a position to toenail down your final contract, and in 1955 it had been Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Information who arrived knocking on Leiber & Stoller and Sill’s corporate and business door. Ertegun and manufacturer Jerry Wexler (who was simply somebody in Atlantic) cherished what they noticed within the Robins’ music and noticed in the foreseeable future of Leiber & Stoller, and provided the duo a agreement with Atlantic along with a buyout of Spark Information’ whole existing collection. Leiber & Stoller would work as unbiased companies, a first available — they might possess a legal relationship as companies and songwriters, however they would be beneath the Atlantic umbrella. A offer was made that could soon switch Leiber & Stoller into wunderkinds inside the record market, however the Robins weren’t in quite so cooperative a feeling. For starters, putting your signature on with Atlantic means moving towards the East Coastline, and none from the people — mostly lengthy transplanted through the South and Tx to California — had been in a rush to create that move. Also complicating issues greatly was the actual fact — based on historian Marv Goldberg — that Terrell experienced used it upon himself to join up a copyright within the Robins’ name himself. In the long run, he as well as the Richards brothers refused to indication with Atlantic. Chapman was evidently from the picture at that time, therefore their decision still left Gardner — the most recent person in the group — and co-founder Nunn because the just people that Leiber & Stoller and Atlantic got to utilize, and also Gardner wasn’t together initially. He initially remained on with Terrell as well as the Richards brothers, but Leiber & Stoller could actually convince him to change his alliance to Nunn — therefore the suppliers had two performers with out a group name which they could use lawfully. They finished up recruiting Leon Hughes and Billy Man and developing the Coasters, putting your signature on with Atlantic, and heading on to many years of achievement (which were still carrying on as the initial decade of the brand new millennium drew to some close with Gardner training a executing edition of the group that included his boy, Carl Gardner, Jr.). In the meantime, the Robins got barely ceased to can be found — that they had an archive of hits that folks remembered well, specifically around the Western Coastline. Terrell as well as the Richards authorized with Whippet Information and got one specifically promising select, entitled “Cherry Lip area,” which eventually failed to graph. They continued carrying out around the Western Coastline for years, documenting intermittently, with Grady Chapman managing the potential clients. After their Whippet agreement finished in 1957, they shifted towards the Imperial Information subsidiary Knight Information the following season, but past due in 1958 Grady Chapman still left. He was changed by Bobby Sheen, with him as business lead singer they afterwards documented for Arvee Information and Lavender Information, carrying on in to the early ’60s. They slice their last two information, “White colored Cliffs of Dover” b/w “JUST HOW MANY More Occasions and “Magic of the Desire” b/w “Mary Lou Wants to Hootchy Kootchy Coo,” for the second option label in 1961.

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