Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I have the original 1959 Crystalette single (724-X) of “Pink Shoe Laces,” by Dodie Stevens, but it doesn't answer the question I've had for over 50 years. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any book, blog, or forum anywhere that identifies the man providing the voice of Dooley.

He has only this one line: “Just before the angels come to carry me, I want it down in writin' how to bury me.”

Often, guest voices are credited on the labels, but the only names Crystalette mentions here, besides Dodie Stevens, are Bobby Hammack and Mickie Grant. Might Dooley's line be by one of those two?
—Dean McKeag, San Leandro, Calif.

DEAR DEAN: Bobby Hammack and His Orchestra just provide the music, and Mickie Grant is the writer of “Pink Shoe Laces,” so it's neither of those.

Also on the session, but not credited, are the Jack Halloran Singers. More about that in a moment.

Even with my endless reference sources, I too find no mention of who sings the part of Dooley, which makes me even more curious.

But sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know. And I know someone who was in the studio when “Pink Shoe Laces” was recorded: Miss Dodie Stevens.

I figured if anyone would know Dooley, it would be the one who introduces his line in the song, and probably stood next to him as he spoke.

So I sent your question on to Dodie, and here is her prompt reply:

Hi Jerry! I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you a very Happy New Year.

As for Mr. McKeag's question: It was neither Bobby Hammack nor Mickie Grant (Mickie is a female). Dooley's voice in the song was provided by one of the Jack Halloran Singers. They sang background on the session.

I don't recall the name of exactly who did it, but I would assume it was the bass singer in the group.

I don't even know who's idea it was to add Dooley's part, though I do know it was not mine.

Since I was only 12-years-old when I recorded “Pink Shoe Laces,” I didn't have a lot of session input. I just did what everyone told me to do.

I do remember that the “woo hoo, ooo ooo ooo” I sang at the end of every chorus was the idea of my vocal coach, who also attended the session. That part became the hook of the song.

Have a wonderful day!
—Dodie Stevens, San Diego

Thank you so much, Dodie. Unless he, or someone else from that session, sees this and comes forward, we may never know who verbalized Dooley's dying wish.

Come to think about it, I can't recall a solo artist who received a Gold Record Award for a million-selling single for a song they recorded at a younger age than you (12), for “Pink Shoe Laces.”

DEAR JERRY: One of my faves from the 1960s psychedelic era is “Naturally Stoned,” by the Avant-Garde. I notice Chuck Woolery is credited as the writer. Is this the “Wheel of Fortune” game show host? Did he also sing with the group, or just write the song?
—Merilee Norgran, Portland, Maine

DEAR MERILEE: Chuck accounts for one-half of the Avant-Garde, his partner being Elkin “Bubba” Fowler.

Woolery wrote “Naturally Stoned” (the song, not his condition while writing), and sings the lead.

Yes, this same Chuck Woolery hosted numerous game shows. Some of the more memorable ones are: “Wheel of Fortune”; “Love Connection”; “Scrabble”; “The Dating Game”; “Greed”; and currently on the Game Show Network, “Lingo.”

IZ ZAT SO? If asked to name the female singer with the biggest hit single of 1959, one's first pick would likely be Connie Francis.

Makes sense. Connie had eight hit songs that year, four of which were Top 10. Definitely the overall No. 1 female star of 1959.

However, the No. 1 single for a girl in '59 is “Pink Shoe Laces,” by Dodie Stevens, which ranked ever so slightly ahead of Connie's (2) “My Happiness” and (3) “Lipstick on Your Collar.”

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 2011 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Exclusive Permission

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