Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: After reading of Patti Page's unsuccessful revival of Patsy Montana's “I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart,” I did a little research on this song.

Turns out Patsy Montana's signature song is widely regarded as the first million-selling single ever by a female!

Hoping to find a 78 rpm of the original version, I scanned eBay, but was surprised and confused by the results.

I found this song on eBay on four or five different labels (Columbia, ARC, Melotone, etc.) and no explanation by anyone as to which is the first issue, or which ones, if any, were recorded years later and would not sound the same as the original hit.

Curiously, one is on the Montgomery Ward label. I didn't know this store also had a record company. I can't imagine competing stores selling records made by them.

Can you guide me through this Montana maze?
—Imogene Chamberlain, Beloit, Wisc.

DEAR IMOGENE: Saddle up, our maze extrication adventure begins August 16, 1935.

That's the day Patsy Montana (née: Ruby Rose Blevins) recorded “I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart,” for the Vocalion Record Company.

By January 1936, the track that would become the most famous and recognizable yodel song in history was in the Pop Music Top 10, and headed for unprecedented success.

Shortly after release of the original recording (Vocalion 03010), in what was an extremely common practice for then, the American Record Company (ARC) leased the original master and rights to produce records for their family of budget labels.

Rather than sell to record stores, ARC distributed their pressings to department stores with an area for record sales, and at prices discounted as much as 75% off what the major labels charged.

Music lovers could choose from higher quality records, in this case Vanguard, for about a buck, or an ARC reproduction for 25- to 39-cents, depending on where one shopped.

Though the cut rate companies produced records using lower grade materials, resulting in lower audio fidelity and a shorter playing life, we must not forget the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. In all areas of life, less expensive alternatives were mighty appealing.

That any record sold a million copies under those economic conditions makes the feat even more extraordinary.

By the end of 1935, ARC-produced 78 rpms of “I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart” were available on ARC itself, plus at least six other variations:

ARC (5-11-56); Oriole (5-11-56); Romeo (5-11-56); Banner (5-11-56); Melotone (5-11-56); and Perfect (5-11-56).

Notice all of these labels have the same selection number, 5-11-56. The actual record number is really 56, but the 5-11 tells us it came out in 1935, during November.

ARC also made two of the above labels specifically for what were known as dime stores: Romeo for S.H. Kress & Co. 5-10-25 Cent Stores, and Oriole, which proudly states right on the sleeve “Sold only at McCrory's” (Five and Dime Stores).

Another ARC product, with a different name and selection number (Conqueror 8575), was offered exclusively by Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Which leads to your comment about the Montgomery Ward label. Unlike Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Ward stores leased the music directly, eliminating the middleman (ARC). They effectively created their own discount label, active from 1933 to 1941.

Ward did issue two Patsy Montana singles, “When the Flowers of Montana Were Blooming” (MW 4322) and “Montana Plains” (MW 4484). Neither contained “I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart.”

The Columbia 78 you found is also the original Vocalion master, but didn't come out until 1947 (Columbia 37602).

For best quality reproduction, you can't go wrong with either the Vocalion or Columbia 78.

IZ ZAT SO? There will never be a better time to identify some of the other record labels manufactured exclusively for nationally known retailers: Macy's (Cameo); McCrory's (Oriole); S.H. Kress (Muse; Romeo; Tremont); Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Challenge; Conqueror; Harvard; Oxford; Silvertone; Supertone); W.T. Grant (Bell; Diva); and Woolworth's (Crown).

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 & Did You Know?

Amon Amarth: New Album Cover Art, Track Listing Revealed

Swedish metalheads Amon Amarth are set to release their eighth studio album, 'Surtur Rising,'  in North America on March 29 (Metal Blade Records). Named in tribute to Surtur, leader of the fire giants of Muspelheim ("flame land") and the oldest being in the nine worlds of Norse mythology, the record, which was listed among Decibel magazine's most anticipated albums of 2011 and features 10 tracks of sword-wielding, fist-pumping, hyper climactic battle anthems. The follow-up to 2008's monolithic "Twilight Of The Thunder God" full-length was recorded again at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden with Jens Bogren and features strikingly brutal cover art by Tom Thiel.

Read more HERE


WHITESNAKE: New Album Details Revealed

WHITESNAKE, the legendary rock 'n' roll legacy founded and formed by renowned singer/songwriter David Coverdale, will release its new album, "Forevermore" on March 29 in North America (March 25 in Europe ) via Frontiers Records. The band's eleventh studio album was recorded, produced and mixed by Coverdale, guitarist Doug Aldrich and Michael McIntyre at Snakebyte Studios and Grumblenott Studios & Villas in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with additional work at Casa Dala, Sherman Oaks, California.

Read more HERE


Protest The Hero Reveals Cover Art For Upcoming Full Length

Canadian progressive metal titans Protest the Hero have revealed the cover artwork for its forthcoming full length album. The new album, titled "Scurrilous," was produced once again with producer Julius 'Juice' Butty and will see its release on March 22, 2010 through Underground Operations in Canada and through Vagrant Records in the United States.


Lower Than Atlantis Album Cover Art

Lower Than Atlantis have posted the album art for their upcoming album WORLD RECORD which is to be released on the 4th of April.

“The cover art for ‘World Record’ was hand drawn by the very talented Mr. Paul Jackson of Tank.Axe.Love, and it bloody works!” says frontman Mike Duce. “I’m pretty into it because it’s almost like a photo of my own hands – I think it’s supposed to be to do with being in a band and being poor but if you ask me, he’s got a load of cool shit there! A pick for playing guitar so he can write songs, the means to make a cigarette because smoking’s cool and enough money for a couple of penny sweets to keep his energy up while writing said songs! When we first saw the art we were all in total shock at how great it was. Could not be happier with Paul’s vision and the results of his work.”


Lost Highway Records Celebrates 10th Anniversary

NASHVILLE-based LOST HIGHWAY RECORDS celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a special vinyl reissue series and a much-anticipated showcase during the SOUTH-BY-SOUTHWEST MUSIC CONFERENCE in AUSTIN.

LOST HIGHWAY will commemorate its anniversary throughout 2011 by releasing 20 different titles from its extensive and diverse catalog on limited-edition clear vinyl. This series will begin on JANUARY 25th with releases of RYAN ADAMS’ "Gold" and the soundtrack of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" That will be followed on FEBRUARY 15th with releases of HAYES CARLL’s "KMAG YOYO" and DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS’ "Southern Rock Opera." MARCH will see the vinyl releases of LUCINDA WILLIAMS and BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS’ newest releases.

On MARCH 18th, LOST HIGHWAY will team up with BMI to hold a concert at the new AUSTIN CITY LIMITS studio called THE MOODY THEATER. Artists performing include WILLIAMS, ROBERT EARL KEEN, CARLL, LEWIS and special guests.


My Chemical Romance To Release Limited Edition Colored Vinyl

My Chemical Romance will release its current album, "Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys" on limited-edition colored and black vinyl on February 1. In the U.S., 500 colored vinyl discs will be available for purchase exclusively at MCR’s webstore at  while 2,500 black vinyl discs will be available for purchase at retail outlets, the band’s website, and

Released by Reprise Records on November 22,the album claimed the No. 1 spot on Soundscan’s Rock and Alternative Album Charts, and debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart..


Still Busted At Oz

Permanent Records’ Lance Barresi talks about re-issuing the classic Chicago punk compilation

by Leor Galil

Three decades ago, a fledgling Chicago label called Autumn Records released Busted At Oz, a compilation record that documented the city’s punk scene. Recorded live at Oz, a venue that hosted many of Chicago’s first punk acts, the compilation features early recordings from Strike Under, Da, Silver Abuse, Subverts, Naked Raygun, and the Effigies.

Busted At Oz has long been out of print, and it has become a collector’s item for Chicago punk enthusiasts. It has been hard for most folks to hear the record, until now. That’s because Ukrainian Village record store and label Permanent Records is reissuing the compilation on vinyl: 500 copies of the newly minted Busted At Oz will be available at the end of the month. Before the reissue hits store shelves, The A.V. Club spoke to Permanent co-founder Lance Barresi about the record, why it’s taken so long to reissue, and why he thinks it’s the quintessential Chicago punk document.

Read the rest HERE


Domenic Romeo

A389 Records owner talks about the heavy music scene and the endurance of LPs

A389, perhaps Baltimore’s premier active heavy-music record label, celebrates its seven-year anniversary this weekend with a blowout, ear-caving show at Sonar. Sporting a roster ranging from pure New York hardcore brutality to heavy-tonnage sludge to whatever you call Baltimore’s Oak, the label’s catalog offers a tour of extreme music—though, like much of the city’s extreme music, A389 is a mite undersung on its own turf. City Paper talked to label founder/owner Domenic Romeo, who also plays guitar in hardcore band Pulling Teeth, last week over the phone during a break in his workday about supporting heavy music, evictions, and why metal and punk fans still actually buy records.

Read the rest HERE


Restoration of Phil Spector's Catalog Brings 4 New Collections


All titles available at both physical and digital retail outlets starting February 22, 2011, through Phil Spector Records/Legacy

Read the rest of the lengthy press release HERE


Panic! At The Disco Back With New Music

Panic! At The Disco Unveil "Vices & Virtues"; First New Album in Three Years to Be Heralded by First Single, "The Ballad of Mona Lisa," Available at Digital Retailers on February 1st; PATD Also Set to Return to the Stage With Eagerly Awaited Live Sold Out Performance at NYC's Bowery Ballroom on February 1st; "VICES & VIRTUES" Drops Everywhere on March 29th

Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen recording group Panic! At The Disco has announced the release of their hugely anticipated new album. "VICES & VIRTUES" arrives in stores and at all digital retailers on March 29th.

The album's first single, entitled "The Ballad of Mona Lisa," will be available at all digital retailers on February 1st. That same day will see the multi-platinum certified band debuting new music from "VICES & VIRTUES" with a very special live performance at New York City's Bowery Ballroom, tickets for which sold-out in one hour. Furthermore, Panic! At The Disco will also play two European dates, the first a sold-out show on February 8th at London's Bush Hall, followed by a performance on February 10th at Visions Party/FZW in Dortmund, Germany. The band recently shot a music video for the single, "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" in Los Angeles with director Shane Drake, which will be released shortly. Drake previously directed the group's music videos for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and "Nine In The Afternoon."

Produced by Butch Walker (Weezer, Pink) and John Feldmann (Neon Trees, The Used), "VICES & VIRTUES" marks Panic! At The Disco's first new release in three years, as well as their debut outing as a duo comprised of singer/multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith.

"It's been a long time coming," Urie recently told Alternative Press, "but we're really excited about the songs."


Did You Know?

The Platters reached the number one spot on the US Pop chart in 1959 with the immortal "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."

In 1974 - For a mere $4 you could have seen Bruce Springsteen at Kent State University in Ohio as the opening act for Black Oak Arkansas.

In 1993, an inaugural concert is held in Landover, Maryland to honor President-elect Bill Clinton. Aretha Franklin sings "I Have A Dream" and Fleetwood Mac perform "Don't Stop", a tune that the Clinton campaign used as their theme song. Others appearing were Michael Jackson, Judy Collins, Chuck Berry, Michael Bolton and Little Richard.   All just a lead in for Monica......

In 1994 Paul McCartney inducts John Lennon into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saying "The thing you must remember is, that I'm the number one John Lennon fan. I love him to this day and I always did love him."

In 1998, Rock and Roll pioneer Carl Perkins died of stroke related causes at the age of 65. Carl wrote and recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" which went to number 2 for him in 1956, selling 2 million copies. The Elvis Presley version topped out at number 20 the same year.

In 2006, Wilson Pickett suffered a fatal heart attack. During his career, he placed 16 hits on Billboard's Pop chart, including "Land Of 1000 Dances" (#6) and "Funky Broadway" (#8).

At 65 years old, Bob Dylan became the oldest living musician to ever top the Billboard album chart when "Modern Times" entered at #1 in September, 2006.

And in 2008, John Stewart, singer / songwriter who was a member of The Kingston Trio in the early '60s, but more often remembered for writing The Monkees' hit, "Daydream Believer", died following a brain aneurism. Stewart also had a successful solo career which included four dozen albums and a Billboard #9 hit single with "Gold" in 1979.


Even more useless trivia for music buffs

The Artists Who Spent The Most Weeks At #1

Number  Name  Total
1 - Elvis Presley 80
2 - Mariah Carey 61
3 - The Beatles 59
4 - Boyz II Men 50
5 - Michael Jackson 37
6 - Elton John 34
7 - Janet Jackson 33
8 - Madonna 32
9 - Whitney Houston 31
10 - Paul McCartney 30
11 - Bee Gees 27
12 - Stevie Wonder 25
13 - Puff Daddy 24
14 - George Michael 23
15 - The Supremes 22
16 - Santana 22
17 - Pat Boone 21
18 - Debby Boone 21
19 - Lionel Richie 21
20 - Rod Stewart 20
21 - Diana Ross 20
22 - Jennifer Lopez 20
23 - Four Seasons 18
24 - Olivia Newton-John 18
25 - Celine Dion 18
26 - TLC 18
27 - Goo Goo Dolls 18

No one will top Elvis at 80!