Bad Boy : Clarence Palmer & The Jive Bombers©2007JCMarion


The Palmer Brothers were a vocal trio that dates back to the mid nineteen thirties. The members were Dick, Ernest, and Clarence Palmer fromPawtucket, Rhode Island. They were featured on WMCA radio in New York and recorded with the Earl Hines Orchestra for Decca Records such as "Disappointed In Love" and "Rhythm Lullabye" on # 389. In the early forties they were with the band of Cab Calloway and used the name The Cabaleers on a few recordings for the Okeh and Vocalion labels (both subsidiaries of Columbia). During the post war forties they recorded for smaller independent labels such as on Majestic # 9000, backing up Timmie Rogers on "Fla-ga-la-pa" and Queen # 4122 with Teddy McRae and His Zanzibar Orchestra on "Cincinnati". By the late forties Clarence Palmer was a solo performer as his brothers had packed it in for retirement from the music business.

Clarence Palmer now was part of a group that recorded as The Sparrows with the band of Al Sears who were signed to the Coral label in January of 1950. The next month Coral # 65023 is released featuring the tunes "Shake Hands" and "Brown Baby" listed as vocal by Clarence Palmer. In April "125th Street New York" and "Tan Skin Lad" are recorded for Coral on # 65029 by Palmer and Al Sears. Palmer then forms a new ensemble to be called The Jive Bombers, a name used by Sonny Austin for his combo earlier. They are signed to record for the Detroit independent label Citation Records. In January of 1952 two records are released by the vocal group - Citation # 1160 "Pork Chop Boogie" and "It's Spring Again", and # 1161 - "Brown Boy" and "Peewee's Boogie". The group holds forth for the summer at The Riptide Inn in Wildwood, New Jersey. In November of the year Joe Davis signs The Jive Bombers to MGM Records.

By early 1956, The Jive Bombers consisted of Clarence Palmer, Earl Johnson, and the Tinney Brothers - Al and William. During the summer and part of the fall of the year, the group appeared at New York's Wagon Wheel. During one of their shows at the club they were seen by a representative of Savoy Records who was very impressed by the group. They were signed to the label and immediately planned a recording session. In December Savoy # 1508 was released featuring the tunes "Bad Boy" and "When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver". In late January "Bad Boy" takes off in Savoy's home town of Newark, New Jersey. By March the record is a national smash on both the R & B and pop charts and is set to become one of Savoy Records biggest sellers ever. Clarence Palmer's exaggerated Satchmo-like vocal has propelled the record to great sales and is heard all over the radio airwaves for a variety of music tastes. In late May "I Had A Talking Picture Of You" and "The Blues Don't Mean A Thing" are released on # 1513. That record sunk without a trace and was quickly followed up by "Cherry" and "You Took My Love" on # 1515 in early July listed as by Clarence "Bad Boy" Palmer & The Jive Bombers. In late August the group signs for an extended engagement at the Latin Quarter in Union City, New Jersey. Joe Bostic moves over from gospel music for a variety show on WATV out of Newark and will feature The Jive Bombers and Varetta Dillard (also from Savoy Records) on his opening show.

In May of 1958 "Is This The End?" and "Just Around The Corner" was issued on Savoy # 1535. By January of 1959 The Jive Bombers were still looking for a hit record for Savoy and the label tried with the old standard "Stardust" and "You Gave Your Love To Me" on # 1560. The group still tours playing a number of venues in the South and Midwest and in May return to New York to a month at the Polka Dot Lounge, followed by a long engagement at Nick's in Mountain View, New Jersey. Into the new decade the Jive Bombers continue on as a club act never again able to duplicate the enormous success of their one huge seller, but it was such a wide ranging hit record that it provided name recognition for the group for many years into the late nineteen sixties. One last record for the group was released in late 1963 for the MiddleTone label with the songs "Anytime" and "The Days Of Wine And Roses" on # 020. Clarence Palmer was a vocal performer for more than three decades beginning in the middle of the great Depression in the country, and finally saw the great rewards of his talent with one unforgettable tune that will be remembered forever.

The tune "Bad Boy" is a part of many compilation cds containing music of the nineteen fifties and the vocal group era.

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