From the Land of Band Box Records

Two Elvis’s for the Price Of One!

The Kalin Twins have been described by one historian as ‘Decca’s attempt to launch their “Elvis”‘ (in this case two Presley’s) – comparing them to Cadence Records’ attempt to do the same with the Everly Brothers.

I think the Kalin Twins were more likely Decca’s shot at creating their own Everly’s.  The Everly Brothers started off with Cadence in the Spring of 1957.  The Kalin Twins came along signing with Decca in early 1958, becoming that label’s third rock and roll act following Bill Haley and the Comets (May of 1954) and little rockin’ Brenda Lee (September, 1956).

The Kalin Twins were also described as an “archetypal one-hit wonder” which by my accounts is not really accurate due to having what I consider to be three significant (and enjoyable by my not-too-demanding standards, charting hits – their initial offering “When” in the Summer of 1958 (#5 Billboard); followed by “Forget Me Not” in the Fall of 1958 (#12 Billboard) and then “It’s Only the Beginning” in the early Winter of 1959 ( #42 Billboard).

Beyond that the Kalins would fade into obscurity barely denting the charts in the Summer of 1959 with “Sweet Sugar Lips” (#97 Billboard with just a single week on that chart) and finally in December of 1960 a “Bubbling Under” placement with “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” (#110 Billboard).

They also had a regional breakout in some local markets in October of 1959 with “Why Don’t You Believe Me”.

The Kalin Twins were Harold and Herbert Kalin born on February 16th, 1934 in Port Jervis, New York.  They were discovered by song writer Clint Ballard, Jr., but didn’t take off immediately, struggling to locate the right song.  (Ballard was the composer of  “Good Timin'” for Jimmy Jones, “Gingerbread” by Frankie Avalon and also would go on to write “You’re No Good” (Dee Dee Warwick – later Linda Ronstadt), “The Game of Love” (The Mindbenders”, and “I’m Alive” by the Hollies, as well as scores of lesser known songs.

The Junior Clint Ballard

The Twins got their break when they latched onto “When” which was co-composed by singer song writers Paul Evans and Jack Reardon,

Evans performed his own hits: “Seven Little Girls”, “Midnite Special”, “Happy-Go-Lucky-Me” and “The Brigade of Broken Hearts”.  And he composed “Roses Are Red” for Bobby Vinton.

Happy-Go-Luck Paul!

Reardon was a writer or co-writer for Tony Bennett’s “The Good Life”, Johnny Tillotson’s “Worried Guy” along with Evans and Lavern Baker’s “Dix-A-Billy” to name a few.   Can’t find a photo of Jack – Seems odd in these times.

“When” would sell over two million copies for the Kalin Twins.  Both brothers left music and entered college to obtain degrees reuniting for a short time in the late 1970’s along with a third brother, Jack Kalin.  Their final hurrah was to join Cliff Richard in Great Britain in 1989 for a performance reuniting from an earlier time when they worked with him during their prime.

Harold Kalin was killed in an automobile accident on August 24th, 2005 at the age of 71.  He was followed in death by Herbert who passed a victim of a heart attack on July 21st, 2006 at the age of 72.


Carl Dobkins, Jr.

Image result for carl dobkins jrCarl Dobkins, Jr. was Decca Records’ fourth significant entry into the field of rock and roll music.  He was born on January 13th, 1941 and came to the record label at the age of 17.  Carl grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio first performing with a group called “The Seniors” – a combo which met at a church.

Young Carl may very well have been Decca’s attempt to counter part the highly successful Brenda Lee.  They did pair them on a promotion extended play pictured below.

Before coming to Decca, he cut one single for Fraternity Records – he would move on to Nashville where cut his first Decca single along with the Seniors “If You Don’t Want My Lovin'” b/w “Love Is Everything” both penned by Carl.  The “A” side managed to chart after it’s predecessor which follows below – reaching number 67.

Much like the Kalin Twins, Dobkins would score big time with his second release “My Heart is An Open Book” in the Winter of 1958 reaching the number 3 on the Billboard charts and selling over one million copies.  He was the beneficiary of that song which was composed by future major league lyricist Hal David this time working with Lee Pockriss who over time worked almost exclusively with composer Paul Vance.

Those two composed Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” in 1960.  Other Vance/Pockriss compositions include:

  • “Tracy” & “When Julie Comes Around” – both by The Cuff Links (they wrote almost exclusively for that group)
  • Several non charting tracks by The Detergents
  • “Wait for Me”, “What is Love?” and “Little Miss Stuck-Up” by the Playmates
  • “Catch a Falling Star” by Perry Como
  • “Jimmy’s Girl” by Johnny Tillotson

From there it was a quick descent – with three more charting records – his next best known being “Lucky Devil” which peaked at number 25 in 1959.  He moved on to no avail recording for ATCO, Colpix, Chalet and Starday record labels.

Pockriss – Vance – David – Junior’s Composers

Dobkins appeared often on American Bandstand doing 14 shows.  He has been honored by induction into the “Rockabilly Hall of Fame”.   Although recording often in Nashville he never landed a song on the Country Charts but did manage to go to number 11 with “My Heart is An Open Book” on the R&B Charts – another parallel to the Kalin Twins who actually reached number one R&B with “When”.

The Kalin Twins Discography

45 Extended Play 2623 – “When”

45 – Decca 30552 – “Jumpin Jack” b/w “Walkin’ To School”

45 – Decca 30642 – “Three O’Clock Thrill” b/w “When”
(Decca was not impressed with “When” so it was designated at the “B” side)

45 – Decca 30745 – “Forget Me Not” b/w “Dream of Me”

45 – Decca 30807 – “It’s Only the Beginning” b/w “Oh! My Goodness”

45 Extended Play – Decca 2641 – “Forget Me Not”

45 – Decca 30868 – “Cool” b/w “When I Look In the Mirror”

45 – Decca 30911 – “Moody” b/w “Sweet Sugar Lips”

45 – Decca 30977 – “Why Don’t You Believe Me” b/w “The Meaning of The Blues”

45 – Decca 31064 – “Chicken Thief” b/w “Loneliness”

45 – Decca 31111 – “Blue Blue Town” b/w “True To You”

45 – Decca 31169 – “Zing! Went the Strings Of My Heart” b/w “No Money Can Buy”

45 – Decca 31220 – “Momma-Poppa” b/w “You Mean the World To Me”

45 – Decca 31286 – “Bubbles” b/w “One More Time”

45 – Decca 31410 – “A Picture Of You” b/w “Trouble”

45 – Amy 969 – “Sometimes It Comes, Sometimes It Goes” b/w “Thinkin’ About You Baby”

LP – Decca – “The Kalin Twins”

LP – Vocalion – “When”

Carl Dobins, Jr. Discography

45 – Decca 30656 – “If You Don’t Want My Lovin'” b/w “Love Is Everything”

45 – Decca 30803 – “My Heart Is An Open Book” b/w “My Pledge To You”

45 Extended Play – Decca 2664 – “My Heart is An Open Book”

45 – Decca 31020 – “Lucky Devil” b/w “In My Heart”

45 Extended Play – Decca 38082 – “Lucky Devil”

45 Extended Play – Decca 38169 – “Datesetters U.S.A.”

45 – Decca 31088 – “One Little Girl” b/w “Exclusively Yours”

45 – Decca 31143 – “Genie” b/w “A Different Kind Of Love”

45 – Decca 31182 – “Lovelight” b/w “Take Time Out”

45 – Decca 31260 – “That’s What I Call True Love” b/w “Pretty Little Girl in the Yellow Dress”

45 – Decca 31301 – “Sawdust Dolly” b/w “A Chance To Belong”

45 – Decca 31353 – “Promise Me” b/w “Ask Me No Questions”

45 – ATCO 6283 – “If Teardrops Were Diamonds” b/w “I’m Sorry Little Girl”

45 – Colpix 762 – “A Little Bit Later On Down the Line” b/w “His Loss Is My Gain”

45 – Chalet 1053 – “The Days of Sand and Shovels” b/w “Linda the Motel Maid”

45 – Chalet 1056 – “My Heart Is An Open Book” b/w “Pictures”

LP – Decca – “Carl Dobkins, Jr.

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