The Cabineers

The tale of R&B harmony group the Cabineers was long a source of confusion among music historians. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the December 2001 issue of Discoveries, a quartet calling themselves the Cabineers formed in Cleveland in 1935, but contrary to some reports, this was not the combo that would later enjoy a recording career. That version of the Cabineers formed in New York City, originally comprising lead tenor William Westbrook, alto Maggie Furman (later Westbrook's wife), baritone/arranger Count Cablo, and bass Matthew McKinney.After building a large fan base thanks to the weekday appearances on radio station WINS, the Cabineers signed to Decca in late 1940, with their debut single "How Was I to Know" not appearing until the following summer. After late 1941's "Let the Party Go On," Cablo and McKinney were called to serve in World War II, and future Ink Spots Herb Kenny and Adriel McDonald signed on as their temporary replacements. By the time the Cabineers began a month-long headlining stint at the Harlem nightclub Murrains in the middle of 1946, the founding lineup was again in place, but no new material was forthcoming until the summer of 1949, when the group signed to the fledgling Abbey label to record "Whirlpool.""How Can I Help It?" followed that autumn, but neither single generated much commercial interest. The Cabineers next surfaced on Prestige, issuing "My, My, My" in 1951; after the lovely "Each Time," released in October, Cablo and McKinney resigned from the group, with former Keys of Harmony James Peele(tenor) and Samuel "Brother Brown" Copney(bass) signing on in their place. This lineup recorded "Baby Mine," issued on Prestige in January 1952 -- the single proved to be the Cabineers' final recording, and when Peele and Copney decided to return to their gospel roots, the group dissolved sometime around 1954. ~ Jason Ankeny

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