Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Orioles For Collectors Only
Genres: Pop, R&B
60 Tracks And They Leave Off One Hit and Most B-Sides
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In 1947 Baltimore, a local group calling themselves The Vibra-Naires was the talk of the local club circuit, so much so that an employee of the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout show booked them to compete. Although they lost out to jazz pianist George Shearing, Godfrey liked what he saw and hired the group - Earlington Tilghman (aka Sonny Til), George Nelson, Johnny Reed, and Alexander Sharp, with Tommy Gaither on guitar - for his national daytime radio program.
The following year they ran into Jerry Blaine who ran a small recording label called It's A Natural and, after signing the group, convinced them to change their name to the Orioles, Maryland's state bird and the name of the local AAA baseball club (soon to take over the St. Louis Browns franchise). A record followed - It's Too Soon To Know b/w Barbra Lee - and so too did success. Rocketing to # 1 R&B in the fall, it also climbed to # 13 on the Pop charts.
In the midst of the disc's success Blaine changed the name of his company to Jubilee Records. Then, in time for Christmas that year, they released (It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas which, although not repeating the pop success, did go to # 8 R&B (the flip - To Be With You - is not included.
Quickly dispelling any notion that they might be another flash-in-the pan, Tell Me So b/w Deacon Jones again took the # 1 R&B spot in the spring of 1949 and stayed on the charts for 26 weeks. In September they were back with A Kiss And A Rose b/w It's A Cold Summer (another flip not included). and in November another release - I Challenge Your Kiss - which had actually preceded A Kiss And A Rose, also made it's way to # 11 R&B. Alas its flip, the old standard Donkey Serenade, is missing from this set as well. You can sense an annoying pattern here: a 60-track 3-CD set for a group having 11 hit singles, and so far they've left out three flipsides in favour of lesser material.
Anyway, crowding the charts that November was yet another single, Forgive And Forget which, b/w So Much (which IS here at track 20 on disc 3), made it to # 5 R&B in December, where it went head-to-head with a re-release of (It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas. Also hitting # 5 R&B, this time the new flip side scored as well, with What Are You Doing New Year's Eve taking the # 9 spot. Both are included.
In 1950 the hits suddenly dried up, and that fall tragedy struck when Gaither was killed in an automobile accident. The following year was also dry, but in 1952 they hit again with Baby Please Don't Go which went to # 8 R&B in February (the flip, Don't Tell Her What's Happened To Me) is not included - but if you have an original copy of Jubilee 45-5065 on red vinyl you have a record worth close to $700).
By the time their next hit came Nelson, who suffered from asthma, had left the group and had been replaced by Gregory Carroll who, as a mamber of The Four Buddies (also from Baltimore) had had a 1951 # 2 R&B hit with I Will Wait on the Savoy label. This time they had competion, as Crying In The Chapel seemed to be recorded by everyone and his auntie Gert. By the time the smoke cleared that fall June Valli had the top pop spot (# 4 on RCA Victor), followed by Darrell Glenn (# 6 pop & # 4 Counry on the small Valley label), then Rex Allen (# 8 pop and # 4 Country on Decca), The Orioles next (# 11 pop & # 1 R&B), and finally Ella Fitzgerald (# 15 pop). Unfortunately, the B-side of this great song - Don't You Think I Ought To Know - is yet another one missing here.
It's those omissions, along with their last charted hit - In The Mission Of St. Augustine b/w Write And Tell Me Why which went to # 7 R&B in November 1953 - that prevents me from giving this box-set the full 5 stars. I mean, with all the non-charted songs included, the producer couldn't find room for those?
In 1954, after the group disbanded, Til reorganized an unsuccessful group calling themselves The Regals and, changing it to Sonny Til & The Orioles, continued to cut records for Jubilee, but with no chart success. In 1956 they moved over to Vee-Jay and, staying there into 1957, still could not recapture the old magic.
Til never gave up trying, though, and three years after old friend Nelson died following an asthma attack, he formed another Orioles group in 1962, and managed to put out a pretty good LP for Charlie Parker Records before moving on to Lana, Sutton and finally RCA in 1971. He'd probably still be trying if a heart attack hadn't silenced him forever on December 9, 1981. Fourteen years later he would be inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.
Hopefully, perhaps some day somebody will wake up and issue a 21 track collection that provides all their hits and the uncharted B-sides."