Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I am curious about one of my Marty Robbins albums, a 1964 release titled “R.F.D.” (Columbia CS-9020).

There is no song by that title on this LP, no reference to it in any of the tracks, and no explanation in the notes as to what it means, or stands for. All it says on the back cover is “Good things come in packages marked R.F.D.”

I have never seen a package with that marking, so can you please tell me what this is all about?
—Marlene Dryden, Winston-Salem, N.C.

DEAR MARLENE: Until now, it seemingly stood for Robbins Flummoxes Dryden!

Unless you've always been a city dweller, you might have crossed paths with this initialism and not known it. RFD, normally shown without periods, is postalese for Rural Free Delivery.

The term could not be more accurate, as the service it provides is free mail delivery (and pick up) for those in rural areas.

Introduced in 1899, RFD primarily served farmers in outlying areas who could not easily get to town to conduct postal business. Then, and for a few decades to follow, their only mode of transportation was horse powered.

The arrival of the horsepower era, and automobiles, did not spell the end of RFD. Even today, those outside the city limits still receive that same free delivery, by carriers on what are simply called “rural routes.”

Though Marty's mysteriously titled “R.F.D.” album seems to have no connection, several other folks did record real RFD tunes. Spanning 63 years, here are a few (rural) free samples:

(1947) “Anyway in Texas, RFD” (Louis Prima and His Orchestra); (1950) “RFD Blues” (Jimmie Dolan); (1987) “RFD 30529” (T. Graham Brown); (2007) “RFD Home” Andy Bryner; (2008) “Mayberry RFD” Gary James Farias; and (2010) “RFD” Phil Manzanera & Quiet Sun.

“RDD 30529” is the zip code for Commerce, Georgia, about which this native Georgian sings.

The Bryner and Manzanera tracks are instrumentals.

Despite the title, “Mayberry RFD” is not about the TV sequel of that name. It is a brilliant tribute to the original Andy Griffith Show, with nearly all of the main characters lovingly referenced.

DEAR JERRY: I have found some wonderful kinescope performances online of Your Hit Parade, the popular 1950s television show.

While watching well-known recording artists singing the top hits of the week, I wondered how they handled things when one of Top 10 turned out to be by one of the Hit Parade regulars.

Considering the number of hits by Dorothy Collins; Gisele MacKenzie; June Valli; Snooky Lanson; and Russell Arms, this situation must have come up — though I find no video examples of it.

For example, when “Crying in the Chapel” was popular, did June Valli sing her own hit on the show? Someone would have to. How could it not be her?
—Kelly Hunter, York, Pa.

DEAR KELLY: As for the last question, June could not because she left Your Hit Parade in June 1953, opening the door for Gisele MacKenzie to replace her. Unfortunately, “Crying in the Chapel” came out just one month later.

By September, the tune was No. 1 on Cash Box, No. 4 on Billboard, and being sung each week on Your Hit Parade by either MacKenzie; Collins; Arms; or Lanson.

Two years later, Gisele's “Hard to Get” landed in the Top 5 on all the charts, thus it qualified for the Hit Parade Lucky 7. Of course MacKenzie performed her own hit, something not done by any other artist in Hit Parade history.

Notice it is Lucky 7 (sponsor Lucky Strike picked the name) and not 10. In this half-hour program, Your Hit Parade managed to present only seven ranked songs, plus a couple of “extras,” such as seasonal, holiday, or topical tunes.

IZ ZAT SO? As a surprise tribute to Gisele, the week “Hard to Get” would have been No. 2 or 3, Hit Parade announcer Andre Baruch introduced her performance with assorted laudatory comments:

“Number one this week … the song the survey finds in first place … the top tune all over America, as determined by Your Hit Parade survey, which checks the best sellers in sheet music and phonograph records. “The song most heard on the air and most played on the automatic coin machines … an accurate and authentic tabulation of America's taste in popular music. Gisele MacKenzie sings “Hard to Get.”

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.

Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368
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

Grateful Dead celebrate 40th Anniversary of Workingman's Dead with vinyl box set release

The Grateful Dead and Rhino Records have announced plans to release a 5 LP vinyl box set called 'The Warner Bros. Studio Albums.'  The box set will contain 1967's The Grateful Dead, 1970's American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, plus the original mixes for 1968's Anthems of the Sun and 1969's Aoxomoxoa, which are available on vinyl for the first time in 40 years.

Hardcore Grateful Dead fans have collected these original mixes for years, especially Aoxomoxoa, which was remixed by Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia 2 years after its release in an effort to cut through the dense mix. The alterations created an album that was vastly different in sound, making the original a highly sought collector's item.

The set will also offer detailed replicas of the original albums in hardshell cases and a book containing previously unpublished photos and liner notes by Blair Jackson. Fans who order from the Grateful Dead's official website will receive an additional exclusive, a reproduction of the rare 1968 7" single of "Dark Star" and a reproduction of the rare promotional poster from the first album.

The Warner Bros. Studio Albums runs $134.98 and is available to pre-order now. The official tracklist is as follows:

The Grateful Dead
Side One
1. “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”
2. “Beat It On Down The Line”
3. “Good Morning Little School Girl”
4. “Cold Rain And Snow”
5. “Sitting On Top Of The World”
6. “Cream Puff War”
Side Two
1. “Morning Dew”
2. “New, New Minglewood Blues”
3. “Viola Lee Blues”

Anthem Of The Sun
Side One
1. “That’s It For The Other One”
I. “Cryptical Envelopment”
II. “Quadlibet For Tender Feet”
III. “The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get”
IV. “We Leave The Castle”
2. “New Potato Caboose”
3. “Born Cross-Eyed”
Side Two
1. “Alligator”
2. “Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)”

Side One
1. “St. Stephen”
2. “Dupree’s Diamond Blues”
3. “Rosemary”
4. “Doin’ That Rag”
5. “Mountains Of The Moon”
Side Two
1. “China Cat Sunflower”
2. “What’s Become Of The Baby”
3. “Cosmic Charlie”

Workingman’s Dead
Side One
1. “Uncle John's Band”
2. “High Time”
3. “Dire Wolf”
4. “New Speedway Boogie”
Side Two
1. “Cumberland Blues”
2. “Black Peter”
3. “Easy Wind”
4. “Casey Jones”

American Beauty
Side One
1. “Box Of Rain”
2. “Friend Of The Devil”
3. “Sugar Magnolia”
4. “Operator”
5. “Candyman” Side Two
1. “Ripple”
2. “Brokedown Palace”
3. “Till The Morning Comes”
4. “Attics Of My Life”
5. “Truckin’”


VOLBEAT: 'Beyond Hell/Above Heaven' Track Listing, Artwork Unveiled

Danish metal rock 'n' rollers VOLBEAT will release their fourth album, "Beyond Hell/Above Heaven", in Germany on September 10 and in most parts of Europe on September 13 via Vertigo/Universal.  The CD was once again recorded at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark with producer Jacob Hansen. The cover artwork was created by illustrator Karsten Wrysand and can be viewed at the left.

Commented the band: "It's been a long process, but damn well worth it. The artwork for 'Beyond Hell/Above Heaven' is done and we're absolutely very proud of it."

"Beyond Hell/Above Heaven" track listing:

01. The Mirror And The Ripper
02. Heaven Nor Hell
03. Who They Are
04. Fallen
05. A Better Believer
06. 7 Shots
07. A New Day
08. 16 Dollars
09. A Warrior's Call
10. Magic Zone
11. Evelyn
12. Being 1
13. Thanks

VOLBEAT is "very excited" about the new material, "carrying the songs into both extreme metallic territory, punk variations and some very catchy stuff at the same time," according to a posting on the band's web site.


Elton John And Leon Russell Announce New Album 'The Union'

It's been announced that Elton John and Leon Russell are set to release a new album,'The Union.' The LP, due out on October 25, marks the first time the performers have worked together since 1970.

Produced by Oscar and multiple-Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett, the 16-track album features songs written by Sir Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin.

It was recored live and includes guest appearances from Neil Young, Brian Wilson, R&B organist Booker T. and a 10-piece gospel choir.


Anberlin pushes up release date and unveils album cover art Anberlin has just announced a handful of updates that fans will be super stoked about.

The first is that their new album, “Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place” will be released two weeks earlier on September 7th and their new single “Impossible” is officially on sale at iTunes and Amazon today. In addition, the band has just released the album cover art at Absolutepunk and Nate Young from the band has left a message:

What up! Nate Young from Anberlin – as you know we are gearing up for our new album release and we are so stoked for you to hear the whole thing. A few months back I stumbled upon an amazing Australian artist named, Michael Zavros. His work blew my mind, and we were able to use one of his pieces for our cover of our new album, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. In my opinion, it’s some of the best artwork I’ve seen in years. Its a hand-drawn charcoal painting and just seem to fit perfectly with what we were feeling for these songs. We are so honored to be able to have it be apart of this album. Hope you all like it. We will also be announcing tour news very soon! Stay on the look out. See you all out on the road soon.


BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's Debut To Be Made Available In Three Different Formats

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION — the Anglo/American rock supergroup featuring vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, TRAPEZE), drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN), Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER) and blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa — will release its self-titled debut album in Europe on Monday, September 20 via Mascot Records and North America on Tuesday, September 21 through J&R Adventures. The CD was produced and mixed by Kevin Shirley (BLACK CROWES, AEROSMITH, LED ZEPPELIN), and mastered by the legendary Bob Ludwig. It was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in early 2010.

"Black Country Communion" will be available in the U.K. in three different formats:

** Format #1 - Limited-Edition 2-Disc CD/DVD

Featuring the 12 album tracks on CD, complete with an additional DVD jam-packed with band member interviews, exclusive studio and live images, Kevin Shirley's album production notes, "The Great Divide" music video, behind-the-scenes in-studio footage, plus live tracks as performed by BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION at Riverside, California.

** Format #2 - Single-Disc CD

Regular 1 disc CD edition

** Format #3 - Vinyl

Double-sided 12" vinyl album edition


New Michael Jackson Album To Be Released
Producer Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins reveals...

by Jason Gregory over at

An album of new Michael Jackson songs is set to be released, producer Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins has revealed.

Jerkins said he was about to start working on the album, which will contain previously unreleased material.

He told VladTV: "It's definitely going to come, but it takes time. You got to do a lot of the red tape but there's definitely going to be an unreleased Michael Jackson [album].

“There's definitely going to be stuff to come and hopefully I'll be a part of that."

Jerkins, who worked with Jackson on his 2001 album 'Invincible', said the experience had been a “blessing”.

He added that he still missed “dearly” the singer, who died last June at the age of 50.

Jackson is understood to have been working on a new album when he died. The star's back-catalogue also contained a wealth of previously unheard material.

This Date In Music History - July 28


Jonathan Edwards ("Sunshine") is 64

George Cummings - Dr Hook (1938)

Simon Kirke - Free, Bad Company (1949)

Guitarist Steve Morse was born in Hamilton, OH. Aside from a solo career, Morse had a short stint with Kansas and a lengthier stay with Deep Purple. He replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple following Blackmore's second departure, in ‘94. (1954)

Rachel Sweet (1962)

Nick Banks - Pulp (1965)

Texas Axile -Transvision Vamp (1965)

Dan Warton - Neds Atomic Dustbin (1972)

Jacoby Dakota Shaddix - Papa Roach (1986)

DeAndre Cortez Way (Soulja Boy) (1990)

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1949, Steve Took, percussion, T Rex. Took died on October 27, 1980.

Marge Ganser from The Shangri-Las died of breast cancer in 1996. The group scored over ten hits during the 60's including the 1964 US #1 "Leader Of The Pack."

Born today in 1949, Peter Doyle, singer, The New Seekers. Doyle died on 13th October 2001.

Soul singer George Williams from The Tymes died of cancer in 2004. Had the 1963 US million seller "So Much in Love."

Born on this day in 1945, Rick Wright, keyboards, vocals, Pink Floyd. 1973 album 'Dark Side Of The Moon', spent a record breaking 741 weeks on the US chart. Pink Floyd have sold over 200 million albums worldwide. Wright died on Sept 15, 2008 (age 65) from cancer. Wright appeared on the group's first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in 1967 alongside Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and Nick Mason.


Johann Sebastian Bach died in 1750 after an unsuccessful eye operation.

The first singing telegram was sent in 1933. It was given to Rudy Vallee on his 32nd birthday.

Judy Garland recorded "Over the Rainbow" in 1939.

The first press interview with 19-year-old Elvis Presley was published in the 'Memphis Press- Scimitar' in 1954.

In 1956, Gene Vincent made his first appearance on national TV in the US on The Perry Como Show. Vincent had released "Woman Love" the previous month, but it was the B-side, "Be-Bop-A-Lula," that eventually made the top 10. The song had been purchased from a fellow hospital patient when Vincent was recovering from leg injuries. A demo of the song made its way to Capitol Records as part of an Elvis sound-alike contest and a re-recorded version gave Vincent a hit.

"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” was Elvis Presley’s second #1 (“Heartbreak Hotel” was the first) in 1956.

Jerry Lee Lewis made his network television debut in 1957 on The Steve Allen Show performing "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On." Afterwards, the song’s sales go through the roof. The appearance was a ratings triumph for Allen. A win-win all the way around.

On their second visit to Sweden in 1964, the Beatles played two shows at an ice hockey arena, the Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stockholm. During the first show, both Paul McCartney and John Lennon received mild electrical shocks from ungrounded microphones. Supporting acts included The Kays, The Moonlighters, and The Streaplers.

James Brown appeared at The Apollo Theatre in New York City in 1966.

In 1969, police in Moscow reported that thousands of public phone booths had been vandalised after thieves were stealing parts of the phones to convert their acoustic guitars to electric. A feature in a Russian youth magazine had shown details on how to do this.

Mick Jagger's "Ned Kelly" movie premiered in Glenrowan, Australia in 1970, near where the film's title character lived.

Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" was released in 1973.

Chicago went to #1 on the US album chart in 1973 with 'Chicago IV', the group's second US #1.

MCA Records introduced Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973. They’d just signed the Southern Rock group.

In 1973, the Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam was held outside of Watkins Glen, New York with The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and The Band. Over 600,000 rock fans attended. Many historians claimed the event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. 150,000 tickets were sold for $10 each, but for all the other people it was a free concert. The crowd was so huge that a large part of the audience was not able to see the stage.

In 1979, 'I Don't Like Mondays' gave The Boomtown Rats their second UK #1 single. Bob Geldof wrote the song after reading a report on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground across the street from her home in San Diego, California. She killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day."

The World Series of Rock was held at Cleveland Stadium in 1979, with Journey, Ted Nugent and Thin Lizzy.

In 1987, the Beatles sued Nike over the use of their song "Revolution" in a TV commercial for the athletic company.

In 1991, almost 100 arrests were made after an estimated 2,000 youths rioted after a MC Hammer concert in Penticon, Canada.

The 10,000 Maniacs played their last show with lead singer Natalie Merchant in 1993. Merchant left the group to pursue a solo career.

In 1995, Jimi Hendrix' father James Al Hendrix won back the rights to his son's name, likeness, image and music after a number of companies had profited from them over the years.

It was announced in 1998 that Toad The Wet Sprocket was disbanding.

Mary J. Blige's first album, "What's the 411?", was released in 1998.

Dave Matthews Band went to #1 on the US album chart in 2002 with ‘Busted Stuff.’

Listen Live Now! allows Rolling Stones fans to hear a direct feed from the soundboard at each of the Stones’ last 15 stops of their European tour in 2006 (starting with their Paris show) via both cell phones and land lines, at $1.99 for seven minutes.

A second edition of Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival was held in Chicago in 2007. Aside from Slowhand, there's B.B. King, the Allman Brothers Band's Derek Trucks, fellow Blind Faith vet Steve Winwood, ex-Band guitarist Robbie Robertson, ex-Yardbirds axeman Jeff Beck and Blues legend Buddy Guy. "Some of it's mapped and some of it isn't," says Eric Clapton, the festival's founder. "We have to leave a little bit of it to chance." Proceeds go to the Crossroads Centre, a rehab facility founded by Clapton on the island of Antigua.

George Thorogood & the Destroyers issue “The Dirty Dozen” in 2009. The 12-track effort (hence the title) has six new recordings and a selection of fan favorites. "This album is . . . a real Rocker, full of songs we've always loved playing," says Thorogood. The album contains "Drop Down Mama," "Tail Dragger" and "Twenty Dollar Gig."

“At Woburn,” a Jimi Hendrix Experience concert CD was released in 2009. Recorded in ’68 at the Woburn Music Festival in Bedfordshire, England, the set includes "Purple Haze,” "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," and a cover of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."