Robert Bynum

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Overturn a plank that has been lying outside all summer, and a horde of crickets will scatter in every direction. Keeping track of each insect, and where it winds up going to, is an impossible task. Thus…
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Overturn a plank that has been lying outside all summer, and a horde of crickets will scatter in every direction. Keeping track of each insect, and where it winds up going to, is an impossible task. Thus the scholars researching the early days of rock & roll and rhythm & blues should feel proud that all Crickets are present and accounted for. To get the statistics out of the way, there were two different groups called the Crickets. One was led by early rock legend Buddy Holly, remaining fairly consistent in personnel until the fatal plane crash that ended Holly's career. The other Crickets was a harmony vocal or doo wop group from the Bronx, NY. The only consistent member was lead vocalist Dean Barlow, but one thing the two Crickets had in common was the presence of hometown chums backing up the leader. Robert Bynum sang first tenor in the second version of Barlow's groups, of which there were three. Like many of the singers employed, Bynum was a friend from the Bronx.

The first version of the Crickets began recording for producer Joe Davis in the early '50s, and scored some pretty good hits. Davis at first felt Barlow should go on his own, especially when the first group's magic began to fizzle. So the original version of the Crickets were scuttled, only a bit later, the record mogul began to rethink this plan. After all, Davis owned the group's name and hated to let a franchise go to waste. So by the end of 1953, a second version of the group went into the studio, also featuring bass singer Joseph "Ditto" Dias and second tenor William Lindsay. Repertoire decisions involving this group did not help to restore the type of consumer reaction that had created so much interest in the group in the first place. There was a cover version of "Changing Partners," a hit for several artists such as Patti Page, an appropriate song for Barlow considering the circumstances, but also something of a bomb. Some pundits covering this music scene are much more negative. In Marv Goldberg's superb R&B Notebooks, there is this report: ". . . the second Crickets group was a dismal failure." The usually well-organized Barlow apparently was distressed that this new lineup didn't like to rehearse. Bynum left after recording one, two, or three singles with the group, depending on the source. Remember how difficult it is to keep track of fleeing crickets.