The Cardinals, early balladeers that few remember, recorded 12 singles for Atlantic Records (their only label) between 1951 and 1957. They debuted with "Shouldn't I Know," a willowy ballad featuring a prominent lead guitar, tight harmonies, and a deep bass; lead Ernie Warren impressed listeners at the fade by holding a long note in breathtaking fashion. One of the bird groups, the Cardinals formed in their hometown, Baltimore, MD, in 1946, a year before a more famous bird group from Baltimore, the Orioles. Originally they were the Mellotones. The lineup was Warren, Donald Johnson, Meredith Brothers, Leon Hardy, and guitarist Sam Aydelotte, who also sang. They did the Baltimore bar scene for years, imitating all the ballad and modern harmony groups including the Ink Spots. A recording opportunity came in 1951 when a representative from Atlantic Records inked them after a talent search audition.