Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Many years ago you compiled a list of mail-related songs for someone working for the postal service. I have a similar request.

I want to create a unique CD of motorcycle songs as a gift for my husband, and would be grateful for a list of such songs. Then I could pick ones I think he would like. He even has a CD player on his bike.

Can you help with this?
—Martina Kosmescher, Jupiter, Fla.

DEAR MARTINA: Help just rode in on two wheels.

Not knowing the type of music he prefers, I selected some tunes with "motorcycle" in the title, and ones from several genres and eras. All are easily available online for you to audition and download.

When more than one artist is shown with the same title, they are completely different songs.

Alphabetical by title, with the artist whose recording I verified, they are:

"Bad Motorcycle" (Storey Sisters)
"Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" (Cheers)
"Chrome Plated Motorcycle Man" (Cyril May)
"Dream Motorcycle" (Marty Balin)
"Girl on a Motorcycle" (Basement Tape)
"Girl on a Motorcycle" (Crokodile Tears)
"Girl on a Motorcycle" (Lola Dutronic)
"Girl on a Motorcycle" (Mark Lucas and the Dead Setters)
"Motorcycle" (Iggy Pop)
"Motorcycle" (Love & Rockets)
"Motorcycle" (Paul Simon as Tico and the Triumphs)
"Motorcycle" (Vinyltones)
"Motorcycle Alligators" (Jimmy Hasser)
"Motorcycle Baby" (Rocket 3)
"Motorcycle Baby" (Rockin' Scoundrels)
"Motorcycle Blues" (Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry)
"Motorcycle Blues" (David James Vasquez)
"Motorcycle Blues" (Jesse Colin Young)
"Motorcycle Boy" (Gutterball)
"Motorcycle Day" (Frank Tribes)
"Motorcycle Daydream" (Bedroom Eyes)
"Motorcycle Dreamer" (Menudo)
"Motorcycle Drive By" (Third Eye Blind)
"Motorcycle Driver" (Joe Satriani)
"Motorcycle Girl" (Giants)
"Motorcycle Girl" (Cruzados)
"Motorcycle Irene" (Moby Grape)
"Motorcycle Journey" (Big Room)
"Motorcycle Loretta" (Crown of Thorns)
"Motorcycle Mama" (Allan Benoit)
"Motorcycle Mama" (Natchez)
"Motorcycle Mama" (Neil Young & Nicolette Larson)
"Motorcycle Mama" (Pocket)
"Motorcycle Mama" (Sailcat)
"Motorcycle Man" (Hot Sugar)
"Motorcycle Man" (Riptones)
"Motorcycle Man" (Townsend & Tucker)
"Motorcycle Michael" (Jo Ann Campbell)
"Motorcycle Millie" (William Garrett)
"Motorcycle Riding D.J." (James Maddox)
"Motorcycle Rose" (Heart Shapre')
"Motorcycle Song" (Arlo Guthrie)
"Motorcycle Song" (Billy Joel)
"Motorcycle Song" (Loaded Dice)
"Motorcycle Song" (Ron Overcash and Nu Blooz Band)
"Motorcycle Ways" (Arizona)
"Motorcycles" (Hank Vegas)
"Motorcycles and Music" (Red Herring and South Boston Popps Orchestra)
"My Motorcycle" (Larry Siegel)
"Poppity Pop Goes the Motorcycle" (Royal Crown Revue)
"Really Like My Motorcycle" (Wolf and Gypsy Band)
"Red Motorcycle and a Blue Tattoo" (Courtney Hogan)
"She's a Bad Motorcycle" (Surf Sluts)
"Silver Motorcycle" (Union)

There should be enough here to put together something for your Easy Rider.

DEAR JERRY: Some people ask you about songs because they remind them of an old flame or good friend.

My connection with a song is based on a very different memory, one not nearly as romantic or pleasant.

Due to an unfortunate series of events in the summer of 1968, I spent some time in the East Lansing Police Jail.

There I met a homeless guy who actually preferred jail to life on the streets, and I remember him referring to incarceration as providing "three squares and a cot."

Coincidentally, there was a hit song at the time about three squares.

I have not heard it since that summer, but sure would enjoy hearing it again. What was it?
—Steven Mendez, Royal Oak, Mich.

DEAR STEVEN: While you were a guest of Michigan's capital city, and the three squares and a cot at the E.L.P.J., radio WJIM (AM 1240) was spinning "Three Squares," by Jimmy Gilmer (Atco 6583).

It was in fact exactly 45 years ago this month when the WJIM Sound Power Survey listed "Three Squares" in Lansing's Top 10. Jimmy Gilmer had several hits in the '60s with the Fireballs, including the million-selling No. 1 hit, "Sugar Shack." But he recorded "Three Squares" solo, though he was still with the Fireballs. As a group, they had three chart hits in 1968, including the Top 10 entry, "Bottle of Wine."

Even so, "Three Squares" must have been a disappointment. Packed with potential, it deserved more than just regional hit status in a small market.

Unfortunately, what happened in Lansing stayed in Lansing. Not enough other stations jumped on it and it simply fizzled nationally.

At first, one might think the tune is about three not-so-hip people. That is not the case, as indicated by the complete title: "Three Squares (And a Place to Lay Your Head)."

It really is about three meals daily, plus a cot (of sorts), but does not involve being taken into custody.

Jimmy's song is an attempt to reason with his love interest. She apparently is involved with someone for no reasons other than food and shelter.

The first verse adequately summarizes the story:

"The memories of a tenement room
The desperate hours of perpetual gloom
It's all built up inside you, baby I know
That's why you think there's no place else you can go
Don't let him buy you, girl
No don't destroy your world for
Three squares and a place to lay your head
Three squares and a soft feather bed
Three squares can't be all you're livin' for
When love is so much more"

IZ ZAT SO? Bob Montgomery, a close friend and one-time singing partner of Buddy Holly's, wrote "Three Squares (And a Place to Lay Your Head)."

Montgomery is credited with over 100 songs, including "Love's Made a Fool of You"; "Heartbeat"; and "Wishing," all first recorded by Holly, then by others.

Montgomery also wrote "Misty Blue" (Dorothy Moore, Eddy Arnold, others) and "Back in Baby's Arms" (Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Sissy Spacek, others).

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368 E-mail: t Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

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