The Short Story of The Cabineers©2006 JCMarion


The Cabineers are another of the so called "transition groups" that played such an important part in the evolution of the R & B vocal group sound that dominated the nineteen fifties. They are a direct link from the original style of The Inkspots, through The Ravens, to The Orioles, that developed this genre of music. Such groups as The Charioteers, Four Vagabonds, Balladeers, and Basin Street Boys, were an integral part of the scene, and so too were The Cabineers.

The group apparently had its genesis in the city of Cleveland before the start of World War II, but do not make much of an impact until the late nineteen forties when they began to make in person appearances in New York City. By late 1949 they were signed to Abbey Records, an independent label run by Peter Dorraine that recorded an eclectic mix of music of the time. The first release by the group for the label was "Whirlpool" and "You're Just A Big Heartache" on Abbey # 72. The lead singer on both tunes was Margaret "Maggie" Furman. Other members of the group were Bill Westbrook (founder and manager of the group), Count Cablo, and Matt McKinney. In early photos of the group guitarist Ike Dasie is also shown. Late in 1949 Abbey re-released the record on # 3003, and by January of 1950 the 'A' side "Whirlpool" was listed as a top selling R & B record in the New York area. The second, and last recording by the Cabineers for the label was the pairing of "How Can I Help It" and "Tell Me Now" on # 3001. The second record had Furman joined this time by Bill Westbrook on lead vocals.

In June of 1951 the Prestige record label announced that it would issue a series of Rhythm & Blues recordings to augment its already strong modern jazz line. The first act signed by the label for this move into the R & B field is The Cabineers. The first Prestige side by the group is "Baby Where Did You Go" and "My My My" on Prestige # 902. By the fall of the year Prestige had released a great ballad side "Each Time" with "Lost" on the flip side recorded with the Mercer Ellington Quartet on # 904. Margaret Furman again handled the lead singing on both songs. By early the following year Prestige took ads in the trade papers boasting of good sales for the record in Philadelphia and a good start in Newark and New York City. In February Prestige recorded the group again, this time with the band of Teacho Wiltshire who led the house band at the label and gained fame backing up Annie Ross with the classics "Farmer's Market" and "Twisted". The Cabineers recorded the songs "Baby Mine" and "What's The Matter With You" on # 917.

That was the last known recording by the group. They seemed to hang on for more than a year after that, when the group officially broke up in early 1954 before they could reap the benefits of the discovery of the music by mainstream America. That is the short story of the group and what remains are well circulated reproductions of The Cabineers on labels such as Last Chance and Vintage. What else is there to say but - gone too soon.

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