The Robins

Johnny Otis Presents: The Robins

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The Robins moved down to Los Angeles from San Francisco in 1948, quickly hooking up with bandleader Johnny Otis, who added singing comedian Bobby Nunn to the group. Nunn's smooth, deep baritone became the centerpiece of the Robins, and they cut several tracks with Otis' small combo for Savoy Records, including the big hit "Double Crossing Blues," which featured a guest lead vocal from a then 13-year-old Little Esther Jones. This compilation gathers up the various sides the Robins did in conjunction with Otis in 1949 and 1950, including "Double Crossing Blues" and the two-part "The Turkey Hop." Nothing here is as forceful as the group's later work with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller ("Riot in Cell Block #9," "Smokey Joe's Café"), but it is an entertaining and interesting set, with Otis' fine vibes playing featured prominently on most of the cuts. Nunn left the Robins in the mid-'50s to form the Coasters, the group, obviously, that the Robins most resemble.

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