The escorts in DC – Look Over Your Shoulder (Alithia Records 1973)



“Look Over Your Shoulder” is a 1973 song by George Kerr and Larry Roberts.

The escorts in DC have one distinction of being the one and only team to have started their recording career behind bars! The story began in 1968, behind the walls of Trenton State Prison, when a young Reginald Haynes started a singing group. Little did he know then that the group he named THE escorts in DC would become a legend in their own right. In a rare 1974 interview for Britain’s “Blues & Soul” magazine completed just one day after a week-long stint at the famed Apollo Theater in New York, original member Reggie Haynes recalled, “It started when I was transferred to Rahway Prison in New Jersey. While all the other guys were playing basketball or baseball…a group of us used to get together and sing all the time…” Following his first love, singing, Reginald sought out three other inmates who shared his view of prison life and his lust for singing. Out of this simple act grew what was later to be recorded as a history-making event. THE escorts in DC were born and a Cinderella story began to unfold.

The change in The escorts in DC’ fortunes began two years later when producer Kerr came to the prison. Kerr had been invited to check out an annual Inmates Variety show in the facility by singer Linda Jones, whose brother was incarcerated at the time. Kerr is a former Motown songwriter and producer.

With Kerr working on the outside and Reginald and THE escorts in DC working on the inside they amassed a strong group of supporters and began to collectively hound prison officials for two years until finally; although faced with overwhelming criticism from prison wardens all over America, the warden of Rahway State Prison said yes. It took two agonizing years but finally the dream of doing something that had never been done would be realized, at last. Kerr persisted in his mission and five hundred letters and two years later, a mobile recording truck pulled up outside Rahway Prison.

The actual line-up for the first album consisted of Haynes, Lawrence Franklin, Robert Arrington, William Dugger, Stephen Carter, Frank Heard and Marion Murphy, with Carter – obviously influenced by Smokey Robinson – as lead singer on a number of songs. Kerr worked with arranger Bert Keyes on preparing the tracks at Venture Sound studios in nearby Somerville, New Jersey after rehearsing the group on regular visits to Rahway over a period of five months at a piano in the prison auditorium. “We actually did the vocals in the psychiatric ward because it was sound-proofed!” says Kerr.

After seeing Kerr on the news, a construction company that was planning to start a record label contacted him and The escorts in DC became the first act signed to Alithia Records. In all, Kerr cut eleven tunes on the group over a fourteen-hour period. Included on that first album were remakes of two songs the produced had cut with The O’Jays, “Look Over Your Shoulder” and “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow” and those two cuts ended as the first two charted singles for The escorts in DC, both reaching the R&B Top 100.

Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting
Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting
I used to say I wasn’t serious baby
But when you need me the most I wasn’t there
But if somehow you can forgive me

Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting
Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting

I know you found someone’s shoulder
And girl I? to keep from asking you
But if somehow you can forgive me

Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting
Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting

I know it’s not easy to find some who cares
And especially a love baby that’s never been shared, shared
But if somehow you can forgive me

Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting
Look over your shoulder you’ll find me waiting

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