Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR READERS: This feature debuted December 26, 1986, meaning we have just begun the 25th consecutive year in syndication of MR. MUSIC columns.

Perhaps most amazing to see is how, week after week, we continue to get fresh inquiries covering topics not previously asked. This week is no exception.

Thanks for all the fun questions ... thanks for reading what we have to say ... and let's continue meeting like this!

DEAR JERRY: Throughout the second season of “Damages,” we were treated to many carefully edited teaser scenes, making viewers think that Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) shoots Patty Hewes (Glenn Close).

Of course, in the season finale, we discover she pulled the trigger but did not aim directly at Patty.

Accompanying these scenes each time is the same jazz-style song. Its lyrics mention things being a thrill, probably to tie in with Ellen seeking revenge. After all, Hewes just confessed to having someone try to kill Parsons, an associate at Patty's law firm.

I've heard snippets of this “thrill” song so many times, and now I want to find it and have the complete recording, without the talking.

If you watch “Damages,” you'll know the one I mean.
—Doris Winchell, Cudahy, Wisc.

DEAR DORIS: I know, and you will be thrilled to know that of all the inquiries we received about this “thrill kill” song, we chose yours.

Kudos to “Damages” music editor, Robert Cotnoir, for picking “Just for a Thrill,” by Ray Charles, and weaving it in and out of the most compelling moments in the series, at least so far.

This beautiful piece came out in 1960 on both LP, “The Genius of Ray Charles” (Atlantic 1312), and 45 rpm (Atlantic 2055).

Brother Ray's single cracked the R&B Top 20, but no one has ever known the thrill of making the Top 100 Pop charts with “Just for a Thrill.”

Numerous other versions exist, by a diverse group of recording artists. Some of those are: Peggy Lee; Ink Spots; Ray Brown & Milt Jackson; Aretha Franklin; Ronnie Milsap; J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding; Nancy Wilson; Don Shirley; Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra Featuring Helen O'Connell; Hank Crawford; Shirley Horn; Boilermaker Jazz Band; Jim Byrnes (a convincing Ray Charles sound-alike); Lettermen; Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones' bassist) & His Rhythm Kings; and Phil Humphrey with the Fendermen (of “Mule Skinner Blues” fame).

You'll never again hear this tune and not picture Ellen twirling her pistol around, keeping viewers in suspense.

DEAR JERRY: One of my all-time favorite holiday songs is “Cool Yule,” by Louis Armstrong.

When I first discovered it online, just last year, I was blown away. The orchestration is fabulous, and the lyrics right on point. Did Armstrong write it?

Was it issued as a regular record? If so, when, and why have I never ever heard this treasure on the radio?

Tell me all about “Cool Yule,” and also have one.
—Barry Jorgen, Manchester, N.H.

DEAR BARRY: I will, and I did. Thank you!

Written by legendary TV star Steve Allen, “Cool Yule” is one of five tracks Louis and his band, the Commanders, recorded at Decca's New York studio, on October 22, 1953.

About three weeks later, this tune, and the other seasonal number from that session, “Zat You, Santa Claus,” came out back-to-back on a single, both 45 and 78 rpm (Decca 28943).

Preposterous as it seems, “Cool Yule” did not become a hit of any degree, not even regionally, not even on the easy-to-make Christmas favorites list, not that year or any other.

In their November 21, 1953 issue, Billboard's new release reviewers gave “Cool Yule” a 72 rating, ranking it in the “excellent” category, along with this glowing comment: “This Jazzy Christmas greeting from the fabulous Louis is quite a production, one his fans will want.”

Possessing the components to practically guarantee a hit record — big name artist; extraordinary recording; major label; good press and reviews; and perfect timing — one might be left with nothing but the fickle finger of fate to blame for a pick to click that didn't click after being picked.

IZ ZAT SO? Satchmo's first recordings, under his own name and fronting his own combo (Louis Armstrong's Hot Five), were made in 1925 for the Okeh label.

Louis didn't have to wait long to see his name on the charts. In the summer of '26, his third record, “Muskrat Ramble,” backed with “Heebie Jeebies,” (Okeh 8300) ranked among the 10 best-selling singles.

From then to early 1999, when a remixed “What a Wonderful World” (Arista 13710) made the Adult Contemporary chart, makes for a 73-year chart span r— a seemingly unmatchable feat.

Among consistent hit-makers, the two runners-up, Bing Crosby (48 years: 1927-1975) and Frank Sinatra (44 years: 1940-1984), are far behind in this event.

Not included in our calculations are the infinite revivals of this pair's Christmas catalog.

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

New Music Releases - December 28, 2010

Not much this week, as always CVR Blog picks are in red:

Alfie Boe - Bring Me Home
Alvin Lee - Detroit Diesel
Andrew Gold - All This & Heaven Too
Billy Lee Riley - Rock With Me Baby
Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong - Bing & Satchmo
Bobby Vee - Rarities
Bon Jovi - Live On Air
Cadillacs - Fabulous Cadillacs / Crazy Cadillacs
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Live & Inedits (2 CDs)
Cocteau Twins - Treasure (Vinyl)
Dio - Dio - The Legend: Live (DVD)
Earl Hines - Electrified
Ella Fitzgerald - Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin
Elvis Presley - Remix Collection (2 CDs)
Four Tops - Reach Out I'll Be There
George Michael - December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
Jay-Z - All Black Everything
Jesse McCartney - Have It All
John Gary Williams - John Gary Williams
Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
Louis Armstrong - Hello Dolly
Michael Jackson - Hold My Hand (Single)
Motorhead - The World Is Yours (Classic Rock Magazine Edition - UK)
Professor Longhair - No Buts No Maybes
Ray Charles - Dedicated to You / Genius Sings the Blues
Ray Sharpe - Gonna Let It Go This Time
Rufus Thomas - Crazy About You Baby
Sanford-Townsend Band - Smoke From a Distant Fire
Sarah Vaughan - Three Classic Albums
Shackleton - Fabric 55: Shackleton

Supertramp - Breakfast in America (2CDs/DVD/Vinyl/Book)

Tokio Hotel - Best of
Triumph - In the Beginning

New Jazz Releases

Remember, if you are a record company and have new releases or know of any I missed (especially vinyl), please email me and I will add your music to the list. I also do reviews of new vinyl, email me for more information.

New Music Releases are put together from a variety of sources by blog owner Robert Benson

Have new music for the list? Email me at  

This Date In Music History - December 29


Ray Thomas - Moody Blues (1942)

Marianne Faithfull (1946)

Charlie Spinosa - John Fred and His Playboy Band (1948)

Yvonne Elliman (1951)

Neil Giraldo - Pat Benatar Group (1955)

Jim Reid - The Jesus and Mary Chain (1961)

Mark Day - Happy Mondays (1961)

Bryan Holland - The Offspring (1966)

Glen Phillips - Toad the Wet Sprocket (1970)

They Are Missed:

Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman died in 1967 at the age of 76.

Singer, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose in 1980. Hardin also appeared at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Born on this day in 1947, Cozy Powell, drummer, Whitesnake, ELP & solo. Powell was killed in a car crash in England on April 5, 1998.


In 1955, Barbra Streisand made her first recording (at age 13).

On his first visit to the UK in 1962, Bob Dylan performed at The Troubadour in London.

The Weavers, who at one time were America's most popular folk group, gave their farewell concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in 1963. The group had hits in the late 40s and early 50s with songs like "Goodnight Irene" and "On Top of Old Smokey."

In 1964, the Liverpool Youth Employment Service announced that some applicants were finding it difficult to get jobs because their Beatle style haircuts and clothing were unacceptable to employers.

In 1966, the Jimi Hendrix Experience made their debut on the UK TV show 'Top Of The Pops' performing "Hey Joe."

Working at Abbey Road studios in 1966, London, Paul McCartney began work on his new song "Penny Lane," recording six takes of keyboard tracks and various percussion effects.

Guitarist and singer Dave Mason quit Traffic in 1967 after differences of musical opinion.

The Doors appeared at The Family Dog, Denver, Colorado in 1967.

The first big rock festival held on the east coast, The Miami Festival, got under way in Hallandale, Florida in 1968. Tickets sold for six and seven dollars and 100,000 people turned out for the three day event. Those appearing included the hottest acts of the day, Jose Feliciano, Procol Harem, Three Dog Night, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, The Turtles, Canned Heat and Joni Mitchell.

Jim Croce scored his second #1 US single of the year (1973) when "Time In A Bottle" went to the top of the charts. Croce was killed in a plane crash on the way to a concert on September 20, 1973.

In 1982, sets of commemorative stamps in memory of Bob Marley were issued in Jamaica.

In 1994 - Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes pled guilty to arson charges for setting fire to and destroyed boyfriend Andre Rison's $1 million Atlanta mansion.

In 2001, Aretha Franklin was suing a US newspaper which alleged that the star had alcohol problems. The singer's lawyers filed a federal lawsuit against the Florida-based Star claiming she was defamed by an article in the paper in December 2000 and were seeking $50m in damages.

Linkin Park and the American Red Cross create Music For Relief in 2004, to assist victims of the tsunamis that flooded southern Asia. "A lot more people are going to die from being homeless and the problems with the water and diseases," says Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson. The group donates $100,000 to the cause.

Pearl Jam wins a legal battle in 2005 over the rights to the domain name The band filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum saying the site's domain holder, Vertical Axis Inc., was using it to link to commercial sites that were unrelated to Pearl Jam.

Marilyn Manson's wife of one year, model/burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese (Heather Sweet), filed for divorce in 2007. Irreconcilable differences are cited as the reason along with Manson's heavier than usual drinking. His reported dating 19-year-old actress Evan Rachel Wood probably didn't help either. "She loved him so much, but he has too many demons," says one of Von Teese's friends. The couple are also locked in a custody battle over their pets. They allow him to have pets?

Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) was sued for copyright infringement in 2009. Vedder recorded "Hard Sun" for the soundtrack of Sean Penn’s film Into The Wild. Composer Gordon Peterson claims Vedder’s lyric changes are "eroding the integrity of the composition." Wonder if Peterson has cashed the royalty check?