Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne

Let's continue our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 24th year of syndication (1986-2010), 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: A personal Hit Parade favorite of the 1950s is “This Old House,” by Rosemary Clooney.

Yet, as many countless times I've heard it on the radio and TV, not once do I recall any explanation or history behind this most unusual composition.

Do you have any information about “This Old House,” such as whether or not there really was such a house?
—Cheryl Gentry, Carlisle, Pa.

DEAR CHERYL: My three-word answer, “yes to both,” is admittedly borrowed from Stuart Hamblen, writer of “This Ole House” — sometimes shown as “This Old House.”

Stuart is also the one with the original release of “This Ole House” (RCA Victor 5739), a May-June 1954 issue. The Clooney recording came out in July.

You are clearly not the only one curious as to a possible story behind this tune. With so many music lovers asking this of Hamblen, he and RCA Victor responded by making a special interview record for radio station play.

Stuart Hamblen explains thusly:

“A lot of people, upon hearing this latest song of mine, called “This Ole House,” have asked me these questions:

“They ask if there a story behind “This Ole House,” or if there a hidden meaning in “This Ole House.”

“Yes to both questions.

“The story: A friend of mine and myself were hunting up in the High Sierras. We found a little old cabin that had almost been demolished by a wild storm. The only living thing around it was a starving old hound dog. In the back room we found a little old prospector that had cashed-in his blue chips.

“As I surveyed the wreckage of the storm, the friend of mine suggested that I write a song about all of this.

“About this old house, I said. And then I got the idea. Yes, this old house!

“Later on, riding down the canyon, with the old hound dog on the pommel of my saddle, taking him in to shelter and to food, I got to thinking.

“This old house, the ones made of wood and steel, shall all come down. And this old house of mine, made of clay, it's got to go too — but there's a big difference.

“Although the wooden house, the steel house, or brick house may be scattered in the winds of a wild storm and its debris scattered over the hillside, this clay house in which I live shall be scattered too. But … the soul inside shall, in God's own good time, be gathered with the saints.

“In other words, we're all getting' ready to meet the saints.”

Though the first with a record of “This Ole House,” Hamblen's original didn't hit the charts until after Rosemary Clooney's million-selling rendition.

Other than the customary she-he pronoun switches, the major difference between the two versions is Stuart's fourth verse, which Rosemary omits:

“Now my old hound dog lies a-sleepin'
He don't know I'm gonna leave
Else he'd wake up by the fireplace
And he'd sit there and howl and grieve
But my huntin' days are over
Ain't gonna hunt the coon no more
Gabriel done brought in my chariot
When the wind blew down the door”

IZ ZAT SO? With “This Ole House” on a single backed with “Hey There” (Columbia 40266), Rosemary Clooney accomplished something done by just one other recording artist in over 52 years!

After six weeks as America's top hit, “Hey There” was replaced at No. 1 by “This Ole House.”

From the beginning of 1945 to October 1997, the only other instance of both sides of the same single being consecutively and individually ranked at No. 1 occurred in the summer of '56 with Elvis Presley's “Don't Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog.”

The tunes breaking this impressive streak are Elton John's “Candle in the Wind 1997” backed with “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” (Rocket 568108).

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 2010 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News

This is a magic moment in time, when technology, coupled with generosity, talent, and ingenuity has created a unique opportunity to do something positive through the power of music.

Rare records up for auction to raise money for Haiti relief

Since the news of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti spread last week, the music community has responded in kind, focusing on attempts to raise money for Haiti relief. Last week, Blink-182 announced a special shirt with all proceeds going toward the Red Cross, but since then, a number of labels have put up rare records for auction to help raise funds.

Mightier Than Sword Records is auctioning off vinyl test pressings of recent releases by Blink-182 and Last Lights; sister label Academy Fight Song has also posted Copeland, Person L and Kevin test pressings for auction. 100 percent of the proceeds from the MTS/AFS eBay auctions will be donated to the Red Cross.

Paper + Plastick Records, in conjunction with, have posted a number of auctions on with all proceeds going toward Doctors Without Borders. Among the items up for bid are vinyl test pressings from Fall Out Boy, Less Than Jake, Hot Water Music, New Found Glory, Thursday, Panic! At The Disco and more.


Mogwai auctioning off piano to help Haiti earthquake victims

The Kawai MP8 was used during the bands 2006-2007 world tour

Mogwai are auctioning off a piano to raise money for the Haiti earthquake victims. The Kawai MP8 Mark I piano was used by Barry Burns during the band's 2006-2007 world tour.

Also included in the auction are a series of signed vinyl records, including a test pressing of the upcoming 'Special Moves' album, plus five screen printed live posters and a copy of their live film 'Burning'.

All the money raised from the sale will be split between the charities Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders. For more information, visit

Meanwhile, Coldplay's Chris Martin and Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis are urging people to donate money to Oxfam to help those affected by the earthquake.


U2's Bono and Jay-Z record Haiti earthquake song Singer and rapper combine for new material

U2 frontman Bono and Jay-Z, along with producer Swizz Beatz, have written and recorded a new song to benefit the victims of the recent Haiti earthquake.

Bono's bandmate, guitarist The Edge, revealed details of the collaboration on Irish radio station RTE 2FM.

Details of the song's release, title or live debut have not been revealed.

The Edge said that the trio explained: "Bono got a call from a producer, Swizz. He and Jay-Z wanted to do something for Haiti. So Bono came up with the phrase on the phone and last night we were here, we wrote a song, finished, recorded, and sent it back to them. So, that might be the next thing you hear from us."

Bono is set to be part of the 'Hope For Haiti' telethon, organised by actor George Clooney and set to take place in various locations on Friday (January 22).

The telethon will be broadcast in the UK from 1am (GMT) on Saturday morning.


Springsteen, Sting, Bono, the Edge and Wonder to Perform For Hope For Haiti Now

Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, the George Clooney produced special scheduled for this Friday from 8 to 10 PM ET, has announced a long list of presenters and performers. Overall, the program will feature over one hundred of the biggest names in film, television and recording in on-air testimonials and behind-the-scenes answering pledge calls.

Wyclef Jean will be hosting the proceedings in New York City with performances by Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, and Sting. George Clooney will lead from Los Angeles with performances from Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift and a group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow. In addition, Anderson Cooper from CNN will be reporting live from Haiti while a a London feed will provide Coldplay, and a group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z, and Rihanna.

Pledges will be solicited throughout the special program and all performances will be made available on Saturday through iTunes with all proceeds benefiting the Haiti relief funds.


SLASH, LINKIN PARK Donate Never-Before-Released Music To Aid Haiti

Some of the biggest names in music have joined forces for Download To Donate For Haiti, a star-studded recovery effort to aid the devastated nation of Haiti following the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on January 12.

Working with Music For Relief, a non-profit founded by LINKIN PARK following the 2004 Asian tsunamis, Alanis Morissette, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS, DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, Enrique Iglesias, HOOBASTANK, Kenna (track co-produced by LINKIN PARK's Mike Shinoda and THE NEPTUNES' Chad Hugo), LINKIN PARK, Lupe Fiasco/Kenna (collaboration produced by Mike Shinoda), Peter Gabriel and Slash have all graciously donated never-before-released music to help raise funds and promote awareness of the recovery efforts. Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One created the project's artwork.

"Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti," said LINKIN PARK vocalist Chester Bennington. "We pray that this initiative provides some relief and support to the survivors and hope we inspire our fans, friends and families to make donations as well."

Download To Donate For Haiti provides fans with the opportunity to download a collection of exclusive songs by their favorite artists and then donate funds on a purely voluntary basis. Each download is a donation. Fans can download the unreleased songs at and via the web sites of each participating artist.

"We're encouraging people to give what they can," says guitar legend Slash. "There's no right or wrong amount. The people of Haiti are in desperate need of food, fresh water, shelter and medical supplies and every little bit helps."

100% of funds received will go directly to the Haiti efforts. In partnership with the UN Foundation's Central Emergency Response Fund, Habitat for Humanity, and Dave Matthews BAMA Works Haitian relief efforts, Music for Relief is working to support immediate relief with food, water and emergency medical supplies as well as long-term sustainable housing solutions for the people affected by this catastrophic natural disaster.