Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I find it interesting how often someone picks a hit vocal and releases it as an instrumental. Occasionally, both versions become popular.

Less often does a hit instrumental also become a big seller when words are added, or so it seems.

Did a Rock Era vocal and instrumental version of the same song ever appear together in the Top 10? Perhaps “Picnic” or “Only You”?
—Marvin Babcock, West Bend, Wisc.

DEAR MARVIN: Neither of the tunes you mention qualify, though “Picnic” comes close.

The instrumental, titled “Moonglow and Theme from Picnic,” by both Morris Stoloff and George Cates, reached the Top 10. The “Picnic” vocal by the McGuire Sisters did not, stalling at No. 13.

There are three Top 10 vocals of “Only You” (Platters; Hilltoppers; Ringo Starr), and one instrumental (Franck Pourcel's French Fiddles). However, Pourcel's 1959 hit came 15 years before Ringo's and four years after the other two.

Yes, it's a rare combination, but not unheard of. One example that does meet your criteria is “Unchained Melody.”

The instrumental (Les Baxter, His Chorus and Orchestra), along with two vocals (Al Hibbler and Roy Hamilton), all held spots in the Top 10 in May of 1955.

Staying with the same topic, but with a somewhat shady slant, read on:

DEAR JERRY: I have an old cassette tape recording of miscellaneous oldies, one of which is a vocal version of “Raunchy.” No one I've known ever heard “Raunchy” with lyrics. Have you?

According to handwritten notes on the tape box, the singer is Will Shade. Never heard of him. Was this out at the same time as the big hit instrumental?
—Jim Stotts, Jackson, Tenn.

DEAR JIM: Yes to both, but just answering your two questions does not begin to cover this story. “Raunchy” written and first issued by Bill Justis, was immediately covered by Ernie Freeman, whose version sold nearly as well. Both came out in November 1957.

Then, in late December, “Raunchy” became the first rock and roll instrumental to reach No. 1 nationally.

That same month, “The New Raunchy” came along (Decca 30539) with teen-oriented lyrics (by Red Sovine and Cindy Walker) sung to the familiar “Raunchy” music: “Come on baby do the Raunchy song; come on with me and do the Raunchy song; we'll rock it and we'll stomp it baby, all night long; baby don't you know it's my favorite song;” etc.

The singer is none other than country superstar Webb Pierce. Probably to distance himself from such a daringly different style — pure rock and roll and not the least bit country — the pseudonym Shady Wall is used.

As for the similar sounding Will Shade, he is an old-time Memphis blues singer whose only known record is “She Stabbed Me with an Ice-Pick” backed with “Better Leave That Stuff Alone” (Victor 21725). This 1928 single is now a hefty $1,000 to $2,000 item.

The “stuff” warning from Shade regards drinking “canned heat,” the highly addictive methanol in Sterno cooking fuel: “Canned heat is just like morphine, it crawls all through your bones; I gave my woman a dollar to get herself something to eat; she spent a dime for an egg roll and 90-cents for that ol' canned heat;” etc.

Yes, this is the concoction that inspired the '60s group named Canned Heat to pick that name.

IZ ZAT SO? Be it intentional or coincidental, Webb Pierce's choice of Shady Wall as a nom de guerre for “The New Raunchy” might have amused Rep. Shady R. Wall (D-Louisiana).

When the record came out, the real Shady Wall had just completed his first two terms as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (1948-1956).

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. 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 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

Jimmy Eat World: New Album in September

On September 28, Jimmy Eat World fans will have something all-new to listen to: Invented, the Arizona pop-punk vets' seventh full-length record and follow-up to 2007's Chase the Light.

The news was unveiled in a brief post to the band's website Monday: "[We're] back with producer Mark Trombino (Clarity, Bleed American) -- we made noise and laid down the tunes in our Arizona studio. Touring plans coming your way soon!" The band also posted the new album's cover art.

"Invented" marks the band's first studio album since 2007's "Chase This Light" which landed Jimmy Eat World's highest chart position of their career at #5 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Jimmy Eat World's last release may have been three years ago but they've been busy. The boys took a break from the recording of "Invented" to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of their influential album, "Clarity" with a sold out national tour.

Jimmy Eat World's Fall tour plans are being finalized now.


Pink Floyd Bandmates to Reunite Again for Another Live Show

David Gilmour will join Roger Waters on stage for his 30th anniversary tour of “The Wall“. Waters posted the news on Facebook stating that Gilmour had offered to join him on stage for the shows.

Gilmour apparently emailed Waters and offered to play on one of his Wall shows, if Waters agreed to play a charity gig at the HOPING Foundation with Gilmour.

Waters said:

“How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn’t, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be shitting it but if he didn’t mind I didn’t – I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was fucking great. End of story. Or possibly beginning.”

Which gig Gilmour will appear at is still to be decided and will not be announced officially as the Pink Floyd bandmates would like to keep it a surprise.

Many fans have called for Gilmour to appear at more than one show on the tour, but nothing official has been announced yet.

Brian Setzer Releases New Live Album: "Don't Mess With a Big Band"

ENCINITAS, CA--(Marketwire - July 20, 2010) - Three-time Grammy Award winner, Brian Setzer, showcases his legendary guitar-playing on the new double-live album Don't Mess With a Big Band out July 20th on Surfdog Records. Setzer and his label will be releasing more live material in the coming months in an effort to replace the horrible-sounding bootlegs which have been flooding the market, and instead offer high-quality recordings.

The 2-disc set, packed with 19 tracks, is a sizzling souvenir of The Brian Setzer Orchestra's 2009 tour of Japan. Don't Mess With a Big Band contains all of his biggest hits (including "Rock This Town," "Stray Cat Strut," and "Jump Jive An' Wail") and includes a couple of rare gems that he had never previously performed live. Brian leads his 18-piece powerhouse band through ninety minutes of amazing music.

From launching the rockabilly revolution with the Stray Cats in the '80s to pioneering the swing revival with the Brian Setzer Orchestra during the late '90s, this Long Island-born innovator has earned his unique place in modern music by walking the line between conceptual discipline and balls-out rockin'. Setzer has sold millions of albums worldwide and won his Grammy Awards (two for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for "Sleepwalk" from The Dirty Boogie in 1998 and "Caravan" from Vavoom in 2000, plus one for Best Pop Performance with "Jump, Jive an' Wail," also from The Dirty Boogie) by targeting that place where wild energy and visionary imagination intersect.

For more information on Brian Setzer, please contact Megan Lloyd at Dave Kaplan Management, 760-944-8800.

SOURCE: Surfdog Records