Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ask "Mr. Music"

Ask "Mr. Music" is 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. We thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: In a televised biography of Michael Landon, a short “Bonanza” clip ran in which all four of the Cartwrights — Little Joe (Landon); Ben (Lorne Greene); Adam (Pernell Roberts); and Hoss (Dan Blocker) — took a turn singing a verse of the show's theme song.

In all its years on TV, I never once saw an episode where they used a vocal version of the theme. I didn't even know “Bonanza” lyrics existed.

Didn't Duane Eddy, or one of the popular guitarists at the time, have a big instrumental hit with “Bonanza”?

Did anyone popularize the vocal? If so, I'd be surprised. It is pretty corny.
I know of Lorne Greene's smash hit “Ringo,” but did any of the other three make recordings?
—Arnie Cleveland, Racine, Wisc.

DEAR ARNIE: Only in the pilot episode, “A Rose for Lotta” (September 12, 1959), did the producers allow the Cartwright clan to vocalize “Bonanza.”

This comical footage was eventually cut but now found among “deleted scenes.”

The familiar instrumental by David Rose and His Orchestra became the official “Bonanza” theme. Though not credited at the time, Rose prominently features guitarists Tommy Tedesco and Bob Bain.

Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, it is David Rose who, in 1960, first issued “Bonanza” as a TV soundtrack LP (MGM 3960), and the main theme as a single (MGM 12965).

That first “Bonanza” single didn't exactly hit the mother lode, but in early 1961 Al Caiola's rousing rendition (United Artists 302) rode into the nation's Top 20.
In 1962, Johnny Cash tried singing “Bonanza,” using essentially the same lyrics written for the series pilot. His single (Columbia 42512) misfired completely, confirming what television producers — and you — learned earlier: “Bonanza” is a great instrumental and a not-so-great vocal.

All four “Bonanza” co-stars turned up on records during the show's 14-year prime-time run, though only Greene reached significant hit status.

Coincidentally, Lorne's No. 1 hit, “Ringo,” came out in 1964 during the peak of the British Invasion. Though his Ringo is a cowboy on the wrong side of a lawman wearing a star, many made a connection to Ringo Starr — the drummer in a fairly popular Liverpool quartet at the time.

In 1960, Michael Landon became the first Cartwright to record. His debut single, “Gimmie a Little Kiss” (Fono Graf 1240), even came with a picture sleeve.

Making record buyers aware of the “Bonanza” link, Fono Graf added this note: “Little Joe Cartwright of the NBC Bonanza Color TV Series.” Record and sleeve together can now sell for $100 to $150.

Michael's second single came in 1964: “Linda Is Lonesome” (RCA Victor 8330), valued at $10 to $20.

Lorne Greene, the Ponderosa patriarch, churned out more records than the rest of the cast combined: seven singles and 10 albums, none of which have noteworthy values.

Dan Blocker made just two LPs, the first of which is rare and collectible: “Tales for Young 'Uns” (3 Trey 903), a 1961 issue now worth about $100.

Dan's second is “Our Land, Our Heritage” (RCA Victor 2896), released in 1964 and a $25 to $35 item.

Pernell Roberts' lone album, “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” (RCA Victor 2662), came out in '63 and fetches $40 to $60.

Finally, there are two albums that feature all four “Bonanza” stars, both in the $20 to $30 range: (1962) “Ponderosa Party Time” (RCA Victor 2583); and (1963) “Christmas on the Ponderosa” (RCA Victor 2757).

IZ ZAT SO? Unlike nearly every other television show, “Bonanza” claimed no individual star. They showcased their four co-stars equally, with top billing and the order of introducing the characters alternating with each weekly episode.

This means 24 episodes could be aired without repeating the exact order in which the four men ride into the picture for the opening credits.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Jerry's Question page: Ask your question here. Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368 E-mail: Visit his Web site: All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2009 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

SLASH Picks His Favorite Riffs recently caught up with former GUNS N' ROSES and current VELVET REVOLVER guitarist Slash to talk riffs.

On what makes a killer guitar riff:

Slash: "A killer riff… something that's memorable, something that digs in, something that obviously has the right note selection to make something just sound fucking attractive, I guess. It's got to have a great sound and it's got to have a great attack. There's a lot of different elements but I think the most important thing is something that's really catchy and something that sticks with you."

What's your favourite riff of all time?

Slash: "LED ZEPPELIN had probably the biggest cache of killer riffs, more than any other band. I was thinking 'Whole Lotta Love'. I remember when that record came out — fuck, I was a little kid. But you know, 'Black Dog' is another one. ZEPPELIN had probably the biggest cache of killer riffs, more than any other band, y' know. I could go on… there's so many great riffs it's hard to go, this is the one."

Which of your own riffs are you most proud of?

Slash: "I've always dug 'Paradise City', I always thought it was great. 'Rocket Queen' was something that I was pretty fond of. And 'Jungle''s great. Everybody seems to like 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and that's a pretty cool riff, but I'd probably opt for 'Welcome To The Jungle' over 'Sweet Child O' Mine'."


Spoon to Release LP Transference Early

Maybe it's because of the steady stream of disappointment that comes with being hip-hop fans, but whenever we hear that an anticipated album has changed release dates, we worry that it will never come out. Fortunately, in the case of Spoon's ridiculously anticipated Transference full-length, the release date change means we'll get the album a week earlier.

Originally scheduled for release on January 26, the record has been bumped up to January 19 by Merge. No reason was given for the move, but at the same time, no one's really complaining.

The band also announced they'll be releasing “Written in Reverse,” the album's debut single, as a digital download on December 1, with a proper vinyl seven-inch version coming January 5. The B-side of the vinyl record will be “Mean Red Spider,” which won't be available anywhere else.


Animal Collective Mark End of 'Merriweather' Era With New EP

With the release of its new EP, 'Fall Be Kind,' Animal Collective is clearing the vaults of material recorded during sessions for 'Merriweather Post Pavilion,' one of the most critically fawned-over albums of 2009. In doing so, multi-instrumentalist Dave Portner, aka Avey Tare, says the New York City-via-Baltimore band is closing the book on a "really positive" chapter in its career.

"I think that's why we wanted to put it out at the end of the year," Portner tells Spinner of 'Fall Be Kind,' out now digitally and available next month on CD and vinyl. "It feels like [the songs] all kind of fit together with the touring and the things we've been doing for the last couple of years. It definitely feels like the end of this era."

The EP features five songs, three of which -- 'Graze,' 'I Think I Can' and 'On a Highway' -- the band started recording during 'Merriweather' but decided to let gestate a bit longer.

"There's always one song with every record where we're like, 'That didn't work somehow,'" Portner says. "These songs just needed a little more time."

The 'Fall Be Kind' tunes share much in common with the 'Merriweather' material, and taken as a whole, Animal Collective's 2008-09 output represents a definite stylistic shift -- a movement toward what could almost be described as pop music. The rhythms are still frantic and the dense blend of electronic and acoustic instruments disorienting, but the harmonies and melodies dazzle.


Susan Boyle to challenge Arctic Monkeys for fastest-selling UK debut album ever 'I Dreamed A Dream' also in the running for the fastest-selling UK album of 2009

Susan Boyle's debut album 'I Dreamed A Dream' looks set to go up against Arctic Monkeys' 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' to become the fastest-selling UK debut of all time. The album, which features covers of The Rolling Stones' 'Wild Horses' and Madonna's 'You'll See', sold over 130,000 copies on its first day of release yesterday (November 23), according to The Official Charts Company.

Boyle is now set to challenge Arctic Monkeys, who sold 363,735 copies of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not', their debut album, in its first week of release on January 23, 2006. Even if Boyle does not beat Arctic Monkeys she is likely to feature highly in the fastest-selling UK albums of 2009 run-down. JLS are currently topping the list with their self-titled debut, which sold 230,000 copies upon its release earlier this month.

Speaking of 'I Dreamed A Dream', Boyle said: "It was my greatest ambition to release an album and I have finally achieved it. There is happiness out there for everyone who dares to dream."

The Rolling Stones have reissued 'Wild Horses' following Boyle's performance of the song on last week's edition of 'The X Factor' (November 22).


Bon Jovi Greatest Hits LP

Jon Bon Jovi announced that the group would be putting out a new greatest hits album sometime next year. The set will update 1994's Cross Roads which remains a big catalog seller.

Bon Jovi told The Rock Radio, "It'll be a new greatest hits because the last one was 15 years ago. It was '94. So you had everything from These Days forward. And what is this my fifth album in this decade? So at least six studio records and a solo thing. And then I'm sure you'll still end up having to put Living On A Prayer on it but there won't be Runaway on it. It won't have the early early stuff because we'll have had more hits since then."


Sade To Issue New Album

Epic Records has announced a February 8 release of Soldier of Love, the first studio album in ten years of Sade.

Little is known about the album other than it was recorded in England and produced by Mike Pela who has helmed most of Sade's recordings.

This will be Sade's sixth studio album since her debut in 1984 and her first since Lovers Rock in 2000.


Beyonce To Release New Album In 2010

Beyonce has said she plans to release a new album next year.

The singer, whose last album 'I Am...Sasha Fierce' came out in 2008, made the announcement during a concert in Nottingham.

She told fans: "This is my last show for this tour in the UK, so hopefully, I'll see you all in a year with a new album.”

According to Billboard, producer Darkchild's has previously told his Twitter followers that he was working on songs with the singer


IMPIOUS: Japanese Version Of 'Death Domination' To Include Previously Unreleased Bonus Track

"Death Domination", the new album from Swedish death/thrashers IMPIOUS, will be released in Asia on December 23.

The Asian version of the CD will include the bonus track "The Reaper's End", which was previously unreleased.

"Death Domination" is being released in North America today (November 24) via Metal Blade Records. The CD's cover artwork, which the band describes as "one of the most sinister and malignant-looking album covers ever," was created by Marcello Vasco and can be viewed below.

Museum Works to Preserve Pop Tunes

By Scott Madaus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau is trying to preserve the memory of a record store, put on the map by the king of rock and roll, by giving Pop Tunes an official place in history.

Inside the building at 308 Poplar, records can still be seen but none of them are for sale.

Outside is an iconic neon sign and store front that's been at the corner of Danny Thomas and Poplar for years.

Kevin Kane says, "This is where Elvis bought records and this was Memphis' premier record shop for decades."

But the record store that's become a historic symbol of music sold in Memphis, simply known as Pop Tunes, is gone.

Cora Pitt says, "It's disappointing because it's another local business going out of business."

Kevin Kane with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau says it's a sign of the times. "It was a business decision, of course we hate it for the community, hate it for the historic standpoint, but not totally surprised."

With Generation X downloading music at an exponential pace rather than buying CD's or even vinyl records, Pop Tunes, though once a music selling giant that sold records to a young Elvis Presley, has become obsolete in a changing technology-based world.

Word of the closures came weeks ago after the stores parent company, Music City Record Distributors, closed both Memphis locations.

Some Memphians say they just heard about the closures, and that it's just one more piece of historic Memphis that's in the process of being lost.

Kane says even though the records aren't being sold here anymore, he and the Rock and Soul Museum are working right now to make sure the name and the neon live on.

Kane says, "We think that would be a fitting place from a historical standpoint and obviously it will preserve its memory for future generations."

But as Memphians ponder the thought of a city without Pop Tunes; the future of Memphis, they say, is one that's losing parts of what made it Memphis in the first place.

"It's a sign to see how far we still need to go… we have to preserve our city's history."