Bad Boy

My dad had this record and I remember him playing it when I was a kid.

The Jive Bombers were an American R&B group from New York City and consisted of members of two previous vocal groups, Sonny Austin & the Jive Bombers and The Palmer Brothers.

The group first recorded under the name The Sparrows in 1949 for Coral Records and changed their name to The Jive Bombers in 1952 to record for Citation Records. The member was Earl Johnson, Al Tinney, Wiliam “Pee Wee” Tinney, and Clarence Palmer.

Their 1957 Savoy Records single “Bad Boy”, co-written by Avon Long and Lil Hardin, was a hit in the U.S., peaking at #7 on the Black Singles chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The song has since been covered by The Escorts, Mink DeVille, Ringo Starr, Buster Poindexter (a.k.a. David Johansen, Sha Na Na, and others, and was used in the 1990 film Cry-Baby.

What distinguishes The Jive Bombers from similar bands of the same era is the unique and often downright bizarre vocal style of lead singer Clarence Palmer. Apart from his powerful normal singing style, he would frequently scat-sing an indescribable “UAH-UAH-UAH” sound at the end of certain words or lines.

In “Bad Boy” he uses this effect every time he sings the song title. From then on he used it in nearly every Jive Bombers recording.

  • In “Stardust”, he scat-sings seemingly at random points between the words, i.e. “The little nightengale sings his fairytale of uah-uah-uah-uah-uah-uah-uah-uah-paradise”.
  • In “Cherry”, the band drops out at near the end to let Palmer bellow out two huge unaccompanied “UAH-UAH”s
  • In “Just Around The Corner”, he only says one recognizable word (“bluebird”) twice, the rest of the song being taken up by the backing singer’s lyrics and Palmer’s outrageous free form vocalizing.

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