Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of my favorite music stores has a special section where each week's Top 10 CD albums are displayed.

It was no surprise to see Adele's "21" at No. 1, but the shocker was finding the Beach Boys at No. 3, with "That's Why God Made the Radio."

Unlike many "new" albums by famous 1950s and '60s artists, most of which are anthologies, "best of" compilations, and repackages of older releases, their album contains very recent recordings.

Since their debut album was close to 50 years ago, is there anyone else on the this year's charts, with previously unreleased recordings, whose first LP pre-dates that of the Beach Boys?
—Hans Van Ardsley, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR HANS: Oh yes, and by 13 years!

From "Surfin' Safari" (1962) to "That's Why God Made the Radio" (2012) is indeed 50 years. FYI: My favorite cut on their CD is "The Private Life of Bill and Sue."

If your question asked "is there any GROUP," the answer would be no. But with the competition open to "ANYONE else on the charts this year," the answer is the venerable 88-year-old Doris Day, who earlier this year raised the bar in this category to the stratosphere.

After four years as the featured female vocalist with the Les Brown Orchestra, Columbia, in mid-1949, gave Doris her first solo LP, "You're My Thrill" (Columbia CL-6071). As the number indicates, this is the 71st LP from Columbia, the company that invented the long-playing record a year earlier. Like most others in the "Popular Music" 6000 series, "You're My Thrill" is a 10-inch disc with eight tracks.

Most in the music world were indeed thrilled to see Doris Day back on the album charts, this time with "My Heart" (Arwin Productions 656C6KK), and nearly 63 years after "You're My Thrill."

Another angle to the story of Doris Day's resurgence is the 47-year gap between "My Heart" and "Love Him" (1964), Doris Day's last charted LP. That span is not likely to be surpassed.

DEAR JERRY: Is there an early '60s tune by Roy Orbison called "Walk Away"? The only title I found that comes even close is "Go Away," but when I heard it I knew it is not the right one.

My only other clue is it was played on the radio at the same time as Pat Boone's "Speedy Gonzales."
—Sharon Moss, Kodiak, Alaska

DEAR SHARON: I'm surprised you were able to unscramble as much as you did, what with both songs playing at once.

On a more serious note, your referencing "Speedy Gonzales" (Dot 16368) was a huge clue because it pointed to the summer of 1962, and that led to a speedy solution.

The full title is "I Can't Walk Away" (Dot 16367), and it happens to be the Dot single issued right before "Speedy Gonzales."

Complicating your search considerably is that "I Can't Walk Away" is actually by Chase Webster, who some might say sounds a bit like Roy Orbison at times."

IZ ZAT SO? Just one year before Chase Webster and Pat Boone had consecutive Dot singles, their soggy paths first crossed.

In March 1961, Chase's own version of a song he wrote, "Moody River" (Southern Sound 101), came out to glowing reviews. Billboard included it with their "Special Merit Spotlight" singles, gave it a four-star rating, then added: "A strong performance of a tragic story about a girl who drowns in Moody River. Song casts a moving spell and Webster sells it with feeling. Watch out [for this one]!" Nevertheless, Webster's original version never got off the ground.

Pat Boone's nearly identical cover followed a month later, and by mid-June reigned as the nation's No. 1 song.

Because he earned a songwriting royalty, on sales by Pat Boone and everyone else who recorded it, Webster at least got a substantial slice of the "Moody River" pie.

We're not sure if he's above same river, but in "I Can't Walk Away" the despondent singer is on a bridge contemplating a jump. That is the temptation from which he couldn't walk away.

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 2012 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Exclusive Permission

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