Between “Riot In Cell Black #9” to “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” the Robins used bass man Bobby Nunn on their second “talking” vocal, “Framed” (107) b/w “Loop De Loop Mambo,” the b-side being much more popular in L.A. According to tenor Grady Chapman, backing on these titles included Plas Johnson on tenor sax and Barney Kessell on guitar. That’s Carl Gardner on ‘Loop De Loop Mambo’,” which hit #4 on Hunter Hancock’s Harlem Hit Parade on Oct. 5.
It’s claimed that the Robins backed pop singer Bob London on his only Spark (109), “Lola,” and the fact that the song has been included on a Coasters retrospective tends to support this.
The Robins next release got them out of prison and into more of an early social consciousness bag as explained by the song’s co-writer Mike Stoller. “I was kind of interested in social satire, and a great source of material has always the situation of the poor, the joke that the poor tell on themselves.”
To this end, the novelty “Whadaya Want?” (110) filled the bill, with the group claiming “don’t want no Cadillac car, “ then answering “I just want a little girl to love.” Protest songs would have to wait until the 1960s. The flip, the powerful ballad, “If Teardrops Were Kisses” maximized the group’s harmonies and Nunn’s descending bass.
“One Kiss” was missed because the group’s rendition of the Cole Porter standard, “I Love Paris” (113) caused such controversy with nonsense backgrounds and a booting sax by Gil Bernal, that it was forced off the market over allegations that it degraded the original copyright.
The controversy continued with the send-up of the Dominoes’ “Sixty Minute Man” entitled “The Hatchet Man” (116), carrying the theme of male virility several steps further as Nunn wielded his axe “from Maine to Tennessee.” The flip, “I Must Be Dreamin’” continued the theme of “Whadaya Want?” by underscoring the unexpected nature of any good results. All of this was preface...to “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” and the story of the Coasters.