A Most Refreshing New Group
:: Till There Was You ::
:: Big Bad Jane ::
Signed to Warner Bros. in the early sixties while that label struggled to find an identity (and sales) before Peter, Paul and Mary put them on the map, The Four Saints didn't help much in the sales department and they were duly dropped.
Even though a major label and major stardom were not in the cards, The Four Saints soldiered on and prospered throughout the 60s. By the time they came to record their Warners debut as a matter of fact, they'd already been around for a dozen years. Formed in Jr. High by band leader John Howell and the girlishly tenor voiced Bob Erickson, with Jerry Duchene and Doug Evans joining soon after, the group scored a "quartet scholarship" to the University of Puget Sound on the stipulation that they stay together as a group until graduation.
That they did, and then they joined the Air Force together. There they acted as singing recruiters, touring the nation, playing the White House, and visiting over 40 countries representing everything that was good and wholesome about America.
After leaving the service, they began touring as civilians with a ready made club act. Not unlike their jazzier cohorts The Four Freshmen, each Saint played multiple instruments which were incorporated into the act. They also worked comedy into the routine, as evidenced here by "Big Bad Jane".
After their big time record deal fell through, They continued to record for smaller labels, did commercial jingles and toured the lounge circuit. As far as the "where are they now?" part goes, I couldn't find anything on the other 3 guys, but John Howell continued his music studies, eventually earning a doctorate degree before settling down as a music professor at Virginia Tech.
This album harkens back to a much more innocent time when stuff like this could entertain people without the presence of irony. If this had come out maybe 5 years earlier, it may have found a much larger audience. By the time it saw the light of day in 1962, the times they were a changin', or somethin'. "Till There Was You" was included no doubt to help promote the Warner Bros. film, "The Music Man". Of course this song was later warbled by the someday to become Sir Paul McCartney as well, but the Saints' rendition is a little bit different, to say the least. Oh, and I love how Big Bad Jane busted out of prison with a "crashin' slam from her big rear end", only to die trying to kill a mouse. Big Bad John she ain't, but hey, whadya want from a big dumb fat chick?
Smart, Skinny Mike