Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I am a picker who is drawn to unusual items, the weirder the better.

That's why, even with no way to play it, I couldn't resist picking up a 78 rpm when I noticed it was by Katherine Hepburn. I found it at a junk store across the river in Cincinnati, and it was only a buck.

The number is X-103, the company name is Alcoa, and the label gives a Los Angeles address.

Affixed under her name is a piece of paper with “NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY - NOT TO BE RESOLD” typewritten with an ancient black and red ribbon.

I suspect the song title is underneath, but the warning notice is secured with cellophane tape and any attempt to remove it would tear the label right off.

I never heard Hepburn sang, so there must be a story behind this record. Who better than you to fill in the blanks?
—Jody Watkins, Covington, Ky.

DEAR JODY: Before we get to the blanks, proofreaders out there should know you spelled Katharine's name exactly as it is shown on the label. The mistake is the manufacturer's, not yours.

Your one flub, however, is confusing the aluminum products outfit (Alcoa) with Alco Recording Co.

Hepburn did sing occasionally, mostly in brief film scenes, yet she does not sing on the Alco recording. Rather, it is a speech she delivered in 1947.

The disc you found in Cincy is only half of the original set, in which the spoken words are divided into four parts, using two 78s.

You're right about leaving the labels just as they are, especially since I am about to tell you exactly what is printed under the typed notice:

“Katherine Hepburn Speaking for Freedom at the Henry Wallace Meeting of 30,000 People at Gilmore Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif., May 19, 1947. Presented by Progressive Citizens of America.”

The Progressive Citizens of America backed the Progressive Party, whose 1948 presidential nominee was Henry A. Wallace, formerly the 33rd vice-president (1941-1945), under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Wallace was the intended keynote speaker, but Kate stole the show and therefore attracted nearly all of the media attention. Newspapers and magazines showed no interest in printing Wallace's message.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Citizens of America claimed to have printed and distributed over three million copies of Katharine Hepburn's speech. They also blitzed radio stations with rebroadcasts of her discourse, the same message as on the 78 album, “Katherine Hepburn Speaking for Freedom.”

Among those denounced, at the meeting and on the recording, by Hepburn and Wallace are: President Truman and his Democratic supporters; the Republican Party en masse; Attorney General Tom Clark (D) (later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court); the House Committee on Un-American Activities; Chairman J. Parnell Thomas (R); the California Legislature's Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities; California Senator Jack B. Tenney (R) (writer of the hit song, “Mexicali Rose”); the Hollywood Motion Picture Alliance; and others responsible for a “plot to foist thought control on the liberal and progressive people of America.”

The Progressive Party, as well as the Gilmore event, was openly supported by the American Communist Party, a fact successfully used against them in the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats.

Pulling off history's greatest presidential election upset, incumbent Harry S. Truman (D) defeated heavily favored N.Y. Governor Thomas E. Dewey (R).

Progressive's Henry Wallace received only 2.4 percent of the popular vote and failed to carry even one state.

One dollar for the one record is picker pleaser, though the complete Alco package can sell for about $100.

IZ ZAT SO? There is an unexpected connection between the Progressive Party supporters in 1949 of Boston mayoralty candidate, Walter A. O'Brien, and the Kingston Trio's 1959 hit, “M.T.A.”

O'Brien could not afford media ads, so he recruited a folk group to write and sing songs, among them a “Vote for Walter O'Brien” rendition of “M.T.A.”

The Kingston Trio changed the candidate's first name to suggest a “Vote for George O'Brien” will get poor Charlie off the M.T.A. .

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 & Music Notes

16 Days Till Record Store Day!

here's a couple of more additons to the evergrowing RSD releases. you can find the full list, in convenient pdf format right HERE

Radiohead announce 12 inch for Record Store Day

Dengue Fever Announce Record Store Day Release


Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello and Wanda Jackson Among Performers For the 52nd Newport Folk Festival

One of the oldest festivals in the U.S., the Newport Folk Festival, has announced their lineup for the 52nd edition, to be held on July 30 and 31 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI.

The festival, started in 1959, has long been a gathering of great folk, blues, bluegrass and country performers. In the last few years, the format has expanded to include such modern genres as Americana and folk punk.

Read more:


this must be a juicy, dirt filled writing, otherwise, who'd be interested in an old rocker's life?

Sammy Hagar's Book is Number One on New York Times Best Seller List

Former Van Halen and current Chickenfoot singer Sammy Hagar's new autobiography, 'Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,' landed the number one spot on the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Best Seller list this week.

The Red Rocker made quite a bit of noise and generated a boatload of publicity when he talked about being abducted by aliens on The Howard Stern Show and during interviews with MTV.


talking about listening to records, it is an experience, not just filler background music!

The Return of Vinyl

Jared Lucas Nathanson fondly recalls his creamsicle-colored plastic record player; he would prance all over the house with it listening to the Mister Rogers album “Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe” when he was just three years old. When he was eight, Nathanson graduated to funk band Heatwave and Saturday Night Fever, then as a teenager onto Men At Work. He’s been a record collector ever since. Nathanson is now 38 and plays in Boston-based blues, pop-rock band The HeartSleeves and dreams of distributing his music on vinyl: “When you put your soul into your music, wouldn’t you rather someone listened to it in that thoughtful and respectful context if you could?”

Nathanson is not alone. More and more Boston audiophiles are buying vinyl records in the age of digital music.

Read the rest at


wait, this is a vinyl record blog, right? why post this? well, maybe this is the way of the future with digital music, poor souls

7digital to offer first 24-bit new album release

British rock band Radiohead are now offering an exclusive better-than-CD-quality version of their new album The King of Limbs via 7digital.

The online music retailer has confirmed that it is now selling a 24-bit FLAC version of the album, a world first for a major artist.

It is now available to customers in 32 territories, including the US, and is also being offered in 16-bit FLAC and 320kbps MP3 formats.

7digital chief executive Ben Drury said that the company is pioneering 24-bit releases and will continue to support them.

"The Radiohead album was recorded in 24-bit digital audio and it's great listeners will now be able to download and hear the album in the quality it was recorded at," Mr Drury noted.

FLAC is an open source audio compression format that is lossless because, unlike with MP3, no audio elements are lost when creating a digital file from its source.


Deep Purple To Tour North America With Orchestra

Jermy Leeuwis

DEEP PURPLE have announced their first tour in North America in four years, and the pioneering rock band--featuring classic members Ian Gillan (lead vocals), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums, percussion)--will perform for the first time in North America with a symphony orchestra in each city (except San Francisco). Launching June 3 and wrapping June 25, the tour is called “DEEP PURPLE: The Songs That Built Rock,” with stops in New York (two nights at the Beacon Theatre), Los Angeles (Greek Theater) and Montreal (Bell Centre).

Fans can expect to hear the band’s trail-blazing iconic hits--including “Smoke On The Water,” “Highway Star,” “Hush” and “Space Truckin’”--plus other favorites achieve a new dimension of sound with the added heft of a symphony orchestra.

Read more and get the tour dates at


Appleseed Cast Prep New EP

By Josiah Hughes

Long-running emo unit the Appleseed Cast have continued their evolution as a forward-thinking rock band, most recently with their 2009 album Sagarmatha. Showing no signs of slowing down, they will return this June with a follow-up EP called Middle States via Graveface Records.

According to a press release, the group set up a home recording studio for Middle States, finding a "relaxed pace and familial setting." Ultimately, the write-up explains that "Middle States gives insight into a band that is constantly reinventing itself and growing stronger with each passing year."

Members of the Graveface Record Club will get the vinyl on orange crush/baby blue A-side/B-side vinyl, while regular customers will receive it on milky clear/aqua blue A-side/B-side vinyl. Either way, the record will be a different colour on each side, which is pretty awesome.

Both the CD and LP version will come with a promotional poster featuring the album art, while the first 500 CD and LP orders will be hand-numbered and also include a non-album art poster.

Read more and get the tour dates at


another charming story of how the 'younger' generation are turning on their turntables and playing records!

In a digital age, teens discovering charms of vinyl records


In most ways, Sarah McCarthy is your average high schooler. She has a job, college plans, but also a peculiar passion for a 16-year-old: She's a vinyl junkie.

To this senior from Centreville, Md., there's nothing like the raw crackle and the depth of sound she can spin from the dusty stash of records she found in the basement of her grandfather -- yes, grandfather.

"He gave me his receiver and speaker system and told me to listen to it the way it was made to be listened to," McCarthy says. "I've turned a lot of my friends on to it."

Sure, she has an iPod, but she also has a vinyl collection of 250 records and counting. Sure, there's a broader '70s renaissance in the air, but buying bellbottoms doesn't touch the commitment of teens unearthing old turntables and records.



a new record store in kansas city!

Midtown is next for a Vinyl Renaissance

By TIMOTHY FINN The Kansas City Star

The rumors have been confirmed, with a few alterations.

A record store will open in midtown, but not in the site of Streetside Records at 4128 Broadway in Westport, which closed in January.

Dan Phillips will open his second Vinyl Renaissance & Audio at 1415 W. 39th St., in the old Boomerang building. The grand opening is scheduled for April 16, which is also National Record Store Day.

Phillips also owns the Vinyl Renaissance at 10922 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee. Phillips said he chose the 39th Street spot over the old Streetside store for two reasons: location and size.

Read more:


and in music history for today:

In 1957, Buddy Knox became the first artist in the Rock 'n' Roll era to write his own number one hit when "Party Doll" topped the Billboard chart. Buddy would go on to place four more songs in the Top 40 between 1957 and 1961.

In 1963, 16 year old Lesley Gore recorded her breakthrough hit, "It's My Party". Producer Quincy Jones hurried Gore into the studio when he found out that Phil Spector was going to cut the song with The Crystals. The single would reach #1 in the US and #9 in the UK.

Also in 1963, The Chiffons enjoy the first of their five Billboard Top 40 hits when "He's So Fine" climbs to #1.

In 1967 - The cover of the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was staged and photographed.

The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian gurus. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Bob Dylan, Issy Bonn, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles' bass player, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Pete Best said in a later NPR interview that Lennon borrowed family medals from his mother Mona for the shoot, on condition that he did not lose them. Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out, even though a cutout of Hitler was in fact made.

For a complete list of everyone on the cover go to Sgt Pepper

Also in 1967 - During an appearance by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Top of the Pops to plug their latest single, “Purple Haze,” a technician mistakenly put on the backing track to Alan Price’s “Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear,” to which Hendrix responded, “I don’t know the words to this one, man.”

In 1992, the soundtrack to Wayne's World was the number 1 album in the US. It featured the return to the charts of Queen's, "Bohemian Rhapsody", actually making the song a bigger hit the second time around. Tracks by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, as well as a new version of "Dream Weaver" from Gary Wright, were also included on the LP.

Pink Floyd released the album "The Division Bell" in 1994.

In 2007, a man was arrested after trying to force his way into Paul McCartney's mansion, screaming: "I must get to him." The man, driving at high speeds, burst through security patrols and drove across fields and gardens until he was finally halted by trees and a fence just yards from Sir Paul's six-bedroom home at Peasmarsh. The man fled as teams of police arrived, but gave himself up after a three-mile chase. He was later detained under the Mental Health Act and did not face any criminal charges.

birthday wishes to Norah Jones (1979), Tracy Chapman (1964), the immortal Eric Clapton (1945) and Jim Dandy Mangrum of Black Oak Arkansas (1948), among others.


On Tuesday, March 29th Third Man Records will release the latest offering by comedian / vocalist / beatboxer / improviser / musician REGGIE WATTS on LP vinyl.


Last summer, Watts met Jack White (Third Man’s owner) while on tour as the opening act on Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour. The two struck up a friendship and late last year Watts traveled to the Nashville-based label’s and recorded Live From Third Man Records in front of a live audience.

Reggie will celebrate the release of Live at Third Man Records with two performances at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg this week. The first show sold out so quickly that a second show later that night has been added!

3/30/11 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY (early show 8:30) SOLD OUT!!

3/30/11 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY (late show 11:30)

Tickets -

The LP and limited edition black/blue vinyl is available for purchase at the Third Man Records store in Nashville or online at