The Elgins – “Darling Baby,” Pop #72, R&B #4
The Elgins started as a trio in 1962 who called themselves The Downbeats. When they added frontwoman Sandra Edwards (nee Mallet) and another singer, they switched their name to the Elgins. That wouldn’t have been a problem, except copies of “Darling Baby” were already being pressed, so new labels had to be hastily printed. Copies of “Darling Baby” credited to the Downbeats carry a hefty price tag. (Original pressings of the Elgins’ “Darling Baby” run between $25 and $50.)
The group’s name choice is an interesting one. The Temptations went as the Elgins before Berry Gordy made them come up with a new handle. There was also a Los Angeles-based doo-wop group with the same name.
Unfortunately, all of this history is more interesting than the actual song. Penned by the usually spectacular Holland-Dozier-Holland team, “Darling Baby” is as generic as its title. Despite a fine vocal performance by Edwards, the backing vocals are laughably unconvincing, the rhythm plods and the arrangement is stagnant. Edwards pleads her departing lover to “talk it over one more time,” but it’s obvious there isn’t much being said.
Fortunately, the Elgins’ follow-up hit “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” atones for the misstep of “Darling Baby.” – by Joel Francis