With this site’s focus primarily being a discography of Sammy’s career, it’s worth having as first Song of the Week the first song he ever recorded in the studio: “I Don’t Care Who Knows”.
Capitol Records’ A&R man Dave Dexter, Jr. heard Sammy on an LA radio broadcast in 1948, and asked drummer Jesse Price to track him down. Dexter signed Davis up to a deal for 20 recordings at $50 each. Hence Sammy strolled into Capitol’s Los Angeles studios on 13 January 1949 to start his recording career.
With the backing of Dave Cavanaugh arranging and conducting, Sammy’s first song would be a slow-tempo ballad. “I Don’t Care Who Knows” was written by Buddy Johnson, a popular bandleader who had recorded the song himself, with his sister Ella as the vocalist, in late 1948. Buddy’s version would prove a disc jockey favourite through most of 1949, leaving Sammy’s version in its wake.
You can tell that Davis is struggling to find a sound of his own – his reading of the tune contains elements of his Billy Eckstine impersonation. In fact, his actual impersonations would feature on the next song recorded that day, “The Way You Look Tonight”. The two songs were released on Sammy’s first 78-rpm single when it was released on 21 February 1949.