Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne

I am continuing our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2009), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: I bought “Come Softly to Me,” by the Fleetwoods, the first time I heard it, and it was on the Dolphin label.

The next time I visited the record store, they had the same Fleetwoods record, but on a label that looked almost identical to my Dolphin copy; however, the name was changed to Dolton.

What is the story behind this sudden change? As a result, is one version more valuable than the other?
—Barry Duchan, Chapel Hill, N.C.

DEAR BARRY: Besides being the Fleetwoods founder, and co-writer of “Come Softly to Me,” gracious Gretchen Christopher is also a long-time friend who is always willing to discuss the Fleetwoods.

As to the origin of Dolphin, Gretchen explains:

“When Bob Reisdorff, the Seattle-based record promoter first heard my home recording of “Come Softly,” he said it would sell a million copies. I didn't know if he was joking or not, but it eventually did just that.”

But first they needed a record label, so Bob came up with Dolphin. He based his choice on nothing other than a love for dolphins. There was no lengthy thought or deliberation involved.

Not wanting even a hint of double entendre in the title, they expanded “Come Softly” to “Come Softly to Me.”

Continues Gretchen: “In February 1959 “Come Softly to Me,” the first release on the new label, became Dolphin No. 1. Ultimately, it would also be the last Dolphin record.

“Reisdorff began by having just a few hundred records made, some of which went to dee jays in western Washington, especially Bob's friends in the Seattle area.

“A wise move, since “Come Softly to Me” quickly soared in the Seattle-Tacoma market. In just a few weeks, it held the No. 1 spot locally.

“With the increased demand for the single came the necessity for national distribution, so Bob arranged for that with Liberty Records in L.A.

“Second Dolphin pressings of “Come Softly to Me” reflect this arrangement by stating “Distributed by Liberty Record Sales Corp” on the labels.

“Our sudden success resulted in a great deal of mail from fans, along with one unanticipated letter from Doubleday book publishers in New York. Turns out they, since 1955, owned a record company named Dolphin, which we didn't know about at the time. Doubleday asked Reisdorff to change the name of his label.”

If that weren't motivation enough, there were rumblings that Dolphin's record store in Los Angeles may try to stop the Fleetwoods' use of the name.

Rather than devote time, energy and finances to this mess, Bob kept the D-O-L and the N, added a TO, and their new name became Dolton — a unique word with no meaning or significance whatsoever.

Other than the name change, nothing else about the printed label changed. Even the three-fish Dolphin logo remained unchanged.

Meanwhile, Liberty responded to the brouhaha by issuing “Come Softly to Me” on the parent label (Liberty 55188).

Beginning with the group's second record, “Graduation's Here” (Dolton 3), their next 20 singles (Nos. 3 through 315) came out on Dolton. All but five made the national charts between 1959 and '65.

“Come Softly to Me,” issued on Dolphin and Liberty, does not exist on Dolton. It remains the only record ever released on Reisdorff's Dolphin label.

I can't think of another nationwide No. 1 hit on a label that made only that one record.

Copies of the first Dolphin pressing, with no mention of distribution by Liberty, are in the $30 to $50 range. They are mostly found in Washington.

Since a million or more sold with “Distributed by Liberty Record Sales Corp.,” they can easily be had for around $10.

The Liberty single comes in both mono ($15 to $25), and a rare stereo single ($50 to $75).

Rarest of the bunch is the first Canadian pressing (London 17056) on 78 rpm, which came out with the original title “Come Softly” ($150 to $250) — a variation not found on any U.S. issues.

IZ ZAT SO? While speaking with Gretchen, I asked about the different addresses shown at the bottom of the Dolphin and Dolton labels. Here's what we now know:

Dolphin No. 1, and Dolton 2 through 13, show the address as “708-6th Ave. No., Seattle 9, Washington.”

Since Dolton did not yet have an office, they used the location of Northwest Record Distributors. This gave customers a source where orders could be placed.

On Dolton 14 through 30, the address changes to “422 Union St., Seattle 1, Washington U.S.A.”

Dolton finally got their own office, conveniently in the same building as Northwest Recording Studio, where the Dolton artists recorded.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail:, or visit his Web site: All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2009 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

Tom Waits Delivers Orphans To Vinyl

Glide reports that Tom Waits' gold-certified triple-disc masterpiece ORPHANS: BRAWLERS, BAWLERS & BASTARDS (Anti-) will be reinvented on December 8 as a limited edition vinyl set, complete with a deluxe 12" booklet and six new bonus cuts. The collection totals 62 tracks over seven full length LPs, all pressed on 180 gram vinyl. (In the original CD collection, the package contained 30 new recordings which have now been upped to 32 with two newly recorded tracks as part of the bonus 6 on the vinyl set.)

An assemblage of rare, new and mostly unheard tracks, ORPHANS includes irreverent--or, rather, remarkably relevant-covers of songs by artists as disparate as the Ramones and Leadbelly, along with WAITS compositions originally recorded by other artists. Waits' selections dazzle as sonic experiments and twisted tales.

WAITS says, "Orphans are rough and tender tunes. Rhumbas about mermaids, shuffles about train wrecks, tarantellas about insects, madrigrals about drowning. Scared, mean, orphaned songs of rapture and melancholy. Songs that grew up hard. Songs of dubious origin rescued from cruel fate and now left wanting only to be cared for. Show that you are not afraid and take them home. They don't bite, they just need attention."


Faces Going On the Road Without Rod

Billboard has revealed that the Faces are going on the road but without lead Rod Stewart.

Keyboardist Ian McLagan talked to the magazine about the band's plans, saying they are looking at a spring tour, but Stewart won't be coming along. "If we don't do it very soon, one of us is gonna check out. I'm 64, for chrissakes! We've been waiting and waiting for Rod to say yes; now he's finally said no. He's busy doing other shit. So we're gonna do it."

That other stuff Rod is doing is a 2010 tour to promote his new album Soulbook.

As far as who will join McLagan, guitarist Ron Wood and drummer Kenney Jones is still up-in-the-air. Bill Wyman played with the group at their recent reunion in London, but most likely won't be going on the road as he is not a fan of flying. The top of the list at the moment, per McLagan, is former Sex Pistol Glenn Matlock.

This Date In Music History-November 18


Herman Rarebell - Scorpions (1949)

Graham Parker - The Rumour (1950)

Rudy Sarzo - Whitesnake (1950)

John McFee - Doobie Brothers (1953)

John Parr - (1985 #1 single "St Elmo's Fire") (1954)

Charles Williams - KC and the Sunshine Band (1954)

Kim Wilde (1960)

Kirk Hammett - Metallica (1962)

Tim DeLaughter - Tripping Daisy (1965)

Duncan Sheik (1969)

Rapper Fabolous (1977)

They Are Missed:

Memphis blues singer and musician Herman 'Junior' Parker died in 1971 (age 39) during surgery for a brain tumor. Parker was discovered in 1952 by Ike Turner, who signed him to Modern Records. Parker then signed to Sun Records in 1953.

Danny Whitten died of a drug overdose in 1972 (age 29). Member of Neil Young's Crazy Horse and writer of "I Don't Wanna Talk About It," covered by Rod Stewart, Rita Coolidge and Everything But The Girl. Whitten was later memorialized in Neil Young's anti-drug album, Tonight's the Night, released in 1975.

Songwriter Johnny Mercer, whose more than 1,500 songs included such classics as "One for My Baby" and "Blues in the Night," was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1909 (died June 25, 1976)

Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi bandleader Cab Calloway died in 1994. The "Minnie the Moocher" singer was 86. (born December 25, 1907)

Born today in 1936, Don Cherry, jazz musician, stepdaughter & father of Neneh and Eagle Eye Cherry (died October 19, 1995).

Texas music legend Doug Sahm was discovered dead in a hotel room in Taos, N.M. in 1999. His biggest hit was "She's About a Mover" with the Sir Douglas Quintet (born November 6, 1941).

Born on this day in 1936, Hank Ballard, singer/songwriter, wrote 1960 #1 hit for Chubby Checker "The Twist" (died March 2, 2003)

Composer and orchestral arranger Michael Kamen died of a heart attack in London in 2003 (age 55). Worked with Pink Floyd, Queen, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Rush, Metallica and many others. Kamen also co-wrote Bryan Adams' ballad "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You."

Celebrity publicist Paul Wasserman died in 2007 of respiratory failure (age 73). His clients included the Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Tom Petty and James Taylor. His career ended in 2000, when he was jailed for six months for swindling some of his friends by falsely claiming to be selling shares in investment schemes that he said were backed by stars like U2.


Fats Domino appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956 singing his hit "Blueberry Hill."

In 1963, the Beatles received silver LP discs for "Please Please Me" and "With the Beatles" at a ceremony held at EMI House in London. They also received a silver EP for "Twist and Shout" and a silver single for "She Loves You." The band then attend a cocktail party and a formal lunch in the EMI boardroom with company executives and invited guests.

Also in 1963, according to today's English newspapers, a priest requested the Beatles record a Christmas song. Manager Brian Epstein also issued a press release requesting fans not throw anything at the stage during the Beatles' concerts.

Pink Floyd released their third single, "Apples and Oranges," in 1967.

In 1968, Glen Campbell, a former session musician for Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole and the Beach Boys, received two gold records - one for "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and one for "Gentle On My Mind."

Jerry Lee Lewis and wife Myra Brown were divorced in Memphis in 1970. Brown claims her marriage "has turned into a nightmare." The marriage started with controversy: she is his cousin and was just fourteen when they married.

Cat Stevens started a three-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1972 with the LP "Catch Bull At Four."

Bruce Springsteen made his live debut in the UK at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1975.

Seminal punk rockers Richard Hell and the Voidoids made their debut at CBGB's New York in 1976.

Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” containing “My Life” and “Big Shot,” began an eight week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1978.

The B-52's self-titled debut went gold in 1980. The group was indirectly responsible for John Lennon's return to music later in the year: when Lennon heard the B-52's, he realized the time was right to get back into music.

In 1983, R.E.M. made their first appearance outside the US when they appeared on Channel 4 UK TV show "The Tube." The following night they made their live UK debut when the played at Dingwalls, London.

U2 opened for itself in 1987— pretending to be a country-rock group called the Dalton Brothers — during a concert in Los Angeles.

Songwriter Diane Warren had the #1 and #2 singles on the US chart in 1989 with "When I See You Smile" by Bad English followed by "Blame It On the Rain," by Milli Vanilli.

Paul McCartney's birth certificate sold for $18,000 at an auction in 1990.

Nirvana recorded their MTV unplugged special at Sony Studios, New York in 1993.

The first live rock concert was streamed on the Internet in 1995 (twenty minutes of the Rolling Stones from Dallas, Texas).

John Denver's last recording, "The Unplugged Collection," was released in the US in 1997.

The AC/DC five-CD boxed set, "Bonfire" was released in the US in 1997.

Britney Spears scored her second #1 album in 2001 with "Britney."

"Let It Be ... Naked," a version of the Beatles final album with Phil Spector's overdubs removed and an altered track-listing lands in stores in 2003.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to the Beatles' "Nowhere Man" sold for over $300,000 at a New York auction in 2003.

Blink 182’s self-titled album "Feeling This" was released in 2003.

Following allegations of sexual abuse of a 12-year old boy, police raided Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch in 2003. Jackson denied the allegations, the search came on the day that his latest greatest hits album, 'Number Ones' was released in the US.

The Johnny Cash biographical movie "Walk The Line" opened in 2005.

In 2005, AC/DC's Angus Young topped Maxium Magazine's list of the "25 greatest short dudes of all time." The 5-foot, 2-inch guitarist beat out the two inch taller Napoleon Bonaparte and former NBA guard Spud Webb, who is a majestic 5-foot, 7-inches.

Nickelback’s sixth studio effort, "Dark Horse" was released in 2008.