Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Glad to see you occasionally include questions and commentary about picture sleeves for singles. They are important pieces of pop culture, and usually more valuable than the record they contain.

In my Motown sleeve collection are nine for the Supremes (featuring Diana Ross) and another nine for Diana Ross after she went solo.

Until a few days ago, I thought no others existed, at least not ones made in the U.S.

This recent grapevine buzz is about a very rare Motown promotional picture sleeve for “The Boss,” a 1979 hit and one of Diana's many singles never issued with a commercial sleeve.

So far, no one seems to be able to describe this one, picture it, or provide any details. Asking you about it seemed like a good idea to me.
—Jackie DeLancy, Wauwatosa, Wisc.

DEAR JACKIE: How could you, an admitted Motown aficionada, miss the opportunity to say “I heard it through the grapevine”? Yes, I know about this extremely bizarre sleeve. After finally seeing it, I even did some research into its history.

Though the back side clearly reads “Record insert … The Boss by Diana Ross, courtesy of Motown Records,” it seems Motown had very little, if anything, to do with this picture sleeve. For one thing, there is no other mention of Motown or Diana Ross, and no company logo.

Based on the text provided, we know this paper sleeve, along with a promotional copy of “The Boss” (Motown 1462), were made specifically for a record industry party in Chicago, possibly a gathering to announce Diana's new release to local record distributors.

The event details are printed on the sleeve, almost like an R.S.V.P. invitation: “A Party! Saturday, June 23, 1979, 10 p.m., 3257 N. Sheffield.”

The timing makes sense, as just three weeks later “The Boss” made its national chart debut.

Now for the really bizarre parts:

The front has a black-and-white photo of six white, nude from the waist up, so-called warlocks (male witches). With their all-white eyes — having neither iris nor pupil, only sclera — these guys look more like extras from “Night of the Living Dead.”.

Across the top is, “A Bunch of Queers Presents Warlock.”

On the back side is a black zombie-like warlock, along with many lines of gobbledygook text. Here are just two thought-provoking definitions:

“Warlock: a practitioner of black magic; a satanic being known to have intercourse with the dark forces.”

“Solstice: a highest point, culmination or limit; the summer solstice, when the sun is at the zenith of the Tropic of Cancer.”

We know of a few bands named Warlock, but there is no connection between them and anything on this sleeve.

If this Warlock ever recorded, or planned to record, songs titled “Warlock” and “Solstice,” then why is their sleeve used in conjunction with “The Boss”? I'm sure hundreds of photos of Diana Ross were easily available for use with her record.

As for 3257 N. Sheffield, it's not exactly the banquet room at the Hyatt. Today, the long-standing three-story brick building appears to be mostly vacant, with prominent “For Rent” and “For Lease” signs on walls and windows.

The only active business there now is Heaven's Morning Cleaners, so I called and spoke with the attendant on duty. She politely indicated she was too busy to talk about zombies and warlocks from 31 years ago.

Maybe I should have asked for the boss.

IZ ZAT SO? For now, only one copy of the Warlock “The Boss” picture sleeve is known to exist. One would think more were made, especially if intended to be an attention-getting way of circulating promo copies of Diana's new release. Perhaps there were more at the party, and only this one survived.

Drooling Motown collectors are calling it a monster and they don't mean in the zombie, science-fiction sense.

They refer to its possible four-figure value, if ever offered for sale.

Having “The Boss” promo only adds about $10 to the package.

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

Vinyl Record News & Notes, Did You Know?

The Rolling Stones To Release Singles Box Set

Record Store Day Special Vinyl Release Also Slated

The Rolling Stones are scheduled to release a box set in April, 'The Rolling Stones Singles (1971-2006),' that will feature 45 singles by the legendary group.  Starting with "Brown Sugar," which was released in 1971, the box set will contain 30 plus years of singles from the group.

The package itself will contain a total of 173 tracks, including 83 that never had an 'official release.'  There will also be a 32 page booklet, which will boast an essay by journalist and Stones expert, Paul Sexton, as well as an interview with former bassist for the band, Bill Wyman.

It was also announced that The Rolling Stones will be releasing a limited edition vinyl of "Brown Sugar" to coincide with this year's Record Store Day - an annual celebration of independent record stores across the country - on April 16th. The vinyl will include original B-sides, "Bitch" and "Let it Rock."


Superchunk and Coliseum Cover Misfits' For Limited Edition 7-inch

Superchunk and Coliseum will release a limited edition 7-inch covering Misfits' Horror Business b/w Bullet for release on Record Store Day - April 16th.

The 7-inch will be issued on three different colors of vinyl: yellow w/ black splatter; magenta w/ black splatter; and standard black (500 copies of each) and available exclusively in record stores.


The Cars Reveal Cover Art For ‘Move Like This’

It's their first new album in 24 years. The seminal Boston new-wave vets have reunited with frontman/creative force Ric Ocasek and will release their new album 'Move Like This' on May 10 via Concord Music. This is the first album from the original band -- Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson (minus the late Ben Orr) -- since the band officially broke up 23 years ago. "Sad Song", a retro-sounding single from 'Move Like This' drops mid-March.


Check this out!

Mr. Zero's Pop-Culture Heaven

Rik Schwinden's store offers nostalgia trip

By Cyn Collins

Mr. Zero's entertainment shop is stranger than fiction. As you approach the purple, '70s-font sign and stride past the window display with a vintage mannequin surrounded by 45s and life-size rock-star cutouts, you feel like you're entering another dimension. And as you step through the portal, your mind whirls from the phantasmagorical array of posters, instruments, vinyl-record mobiles, and wall-to-wall vinyl with out-of-this-world cover art—from the Suburbs to Iggy Pop to the Runaways to Black Sabbath—beckoning music lovers with their siren call against the sonic backdrop of KISS blasting out of the stereo.

Read the rest of the journey HERE


more about the rock and roll detective:

Beatles expert Jim Berkenstadt is a rock 'n' roll detective

The band hired him to piece together their story

By Will McClain

When Jim Berkenstadt first heard about the Beatles, he thought they were a comedy troupe. There they were, four grown men, cavorting together in a bed to advertise their 1964 TV debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. Berkenstadt tuned in to learn who the Beatles really were, and he never tuned out.

Though he's hobnobbed with rock royalty, James Berkenstadt, 54, is as Midwestern as they come. He was born in Illinois and attended Northwestern University before relocating to Madison, Wisconsin, where he took the job of corporate lawyer for—get this—a cheese company. While outwardly he became "the man" his musical idols railed against, life never hardened his rubber soul.

Read the rest at


the LATimes has an interesting piece of history and an amazing video:

Thousands Of Sinatra And Other WWII Vinyl Records Discovered At Army Base

More than 8,000 records were found hidden between a narrow 16-inch wall space

James Lynch
Q13 FOX News Reporter


Thousands of pieces of history was discovered at the 'Old Madigan Hospital' complex during renovation efforts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Officials say more than 8,000 vinyl records were found hidden between a narrow 16-inch wall space. The vinyl recordings were dated from 1942 to 1960.


Read the rest LATimes


Rumors Point to New Van Halen Album in August

After a hugely successful reunion tour, Van Halen is back in the studio with David Lee Roth putting together their first new album since 1984. Now, rumors are circulating.....

Read more:


BON SCOTT's 'Round And Round' Due This Month; Audio Samples Available

Starline Media Entertainment has set a February 22 release date for Bon Scott's "Round And Round", featuring rare recordings made prior to the singer joining Australian hard rock legends AC/DC.



this from

Rise Against Announce North American Headline Tour

Rise Against sets out on a tour of North America beginning April 5th in Las Vegas, NV. The tour, featuring special guests Bad Religion and Four Year Strong, will hit major markets across the United States throughout the spring, including two nights at New York City's Terminal 5 in early May. Joining the line-up for a special performance at the Long Beach show on April 7th will be California punk-band The Descendents. The April 7th show will be The Descendents' first Los Angeles area show in 14 years.

Get the tour dates and the rest of the story at


Great article about James Blake and his new LP at paste magazine:

James Blake

British dubstep-minimalist artist, James Blake, has brought his unique sound Stateside with the release of his self-titled debut album. His trio of 2010 EPs—Klavierwerke, CMYK and The Bells Sketch—garnered so much attention that Blake was named runner-up for BBC’s Sound of 2011, which highlights buzzworthy up-and-coming artists.

Read the rest at


New Release: Sugar Hill to Release Nickel Creek Titles for Record Store Day

Read about it at Cybergrass


Did You Know?

more stuff everybody should know...

From the age of thirty, humans gradually begin to shrink in size.

George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.

Gilligan of Gilligan's Island had a first name that was only used once, on the never-aired pilot show. His first name was Willy. The skipper's real name on Gilligan's Island is Jonas Grumby. It was mentioned once in the first episode.  I did not know that...

Human hair and fingernails do not continue to grow after death.

Did you know you share your birthday with at least 9 other million people in the world.

Cat's urine glows under a black light.

Hummingbirds can't walk.

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes. that, I did not know.....


In the State of Kansas, you're not allowed to drive a buffalo through a street.  This is a problem?

and in music today:

In 1959, Lloyd Price reached number one on the Billboard Pop chart with "Stagger Lee", an up-dated version of an old Folk song called "Stack-O-Lee". Wilson Pickett would take the song to number 22 in 1967.

In 1963, Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, who were billed as Paul and Paula, had the top tune in the US with "Hey Paula".

In 1964, The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was watched by over 73 million people (60% of the viewing audience). The Fab Four performed "All My Loving", "Till There Was You", "She Loves You", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Also performing on the show is a future member of The Monkees, Davy Jones, who appeared as part of the cast of Oliver.

In 1972, Paul McCartney's Wings make their concert debut at Nottingham University in England.

In 1976, Percy Faith, who led his orchestra to the top of the Billboard Pop chart with "Theme From A Summer Place" in 1960, died of cancer at the age of 62. Between 1950 and 1973, Faith charted in the US Top 40 sixteen times.

In 1981, Rock and Roll pioneer, Bill Haley died of a heart attack at the age of 55. He was still a big star in Europe and in Mexico where his "Twist" album was the best selling LP of all time for many years. Haley was getting ready to release a new Country and Western album when he passed away in Harlingen, Texas. He had been suffering from a brain tumor and had given his last concert in South Africa in April of 1980. During his career, Bill Haley sold over 60 million records.

Prince's "Little Red Corvette" was released in 1983.

and birthday wishes to the peerless Carole King (1942)