Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne

DEAR JERRY: I have "The Latin World of Edmundo Ros" album (London SPA.119), with instrumental versions of 12 pop hits. Any idea what year this came out?

Track 4 on Side 2 is titled "I Talk to the Trees," and it sounds so familiar. Is it possible there is a vocal version from the early 1960s?

Or is it just that Edmundo's melody is similar to the other song and I've confused them?
—Lola Holman, Appleton, Wis.

DEAR LOLA: You are neither mistaken nor confused, at least not about conversing with bark-encased plants.

"I Talk to the Trees" was written in 1951 by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe for the Broadway show "Paint Your Wagon," and sung 18 years later by Clint Eastwood in the 1969 film of the same title.

However, the version you recall is probably by Bud Dashiell & the Kinsmen. Their folk-style rendition was a regional hit of sorts in 1961, as was their self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. that includes "I Talk to the Trees." That LP has recently been issued on CD.

For several years, Bud Dashiell teamed with Travis Edmondson as the folk duo Bud & Travis.

Call it kismet, but your copy of "The Latin World of Edmundo Ros" is a 1970 Canadian pressing, setting up a perfect segue to our next question.

DEAR JERRY: Living in Toronto from 1957 to 1960 is when I fell in love with Top 40 music, thanks in part to CHUM (AM 1050). I still have a few of the CHUM Charts from those days, and I'm looking at one now that raises a question.

In August of 1957, "So Young," by Clyde Stacy and the Nitecaps, was No. 6. I have since learned that it barely made a blip in the U.S.

Mr. Stacy followed "So Young" with other hits in Canada, but I doubt any of them were ever played on the radio, or made anyone's chart, in the States.

At first I thought he must be a Canadian, but not so. He's from Oklahoma.

How many other records back then reached the Toronto Top 10, yet were nowhere near as successful in the U.S.?
—Adrian Smith, Detroit

DEAR ADRIAN: By "back then," I assume you refer to your years in Toronto, thus my research will cover that period.

As for the other Canadian hits by rockabilly singer Clyde Stacy, they are: "Dream Boy" (1957), "Baby Shame" (1958), and "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor" (1958). None made it quite as high as "So Young."

Here are a dozen Top 10 tunes, in chronological order (peak Canadian position noted). Each of these accomplished significantly less success in the USA (also indicated) than in our northerly neighbor.

1. Clyde Stacy and the Nitecaps, "So Young" No. 6
Billboard: No. 68
Cash Box: Never charted

2. Midnighters, "Oh So Happy" No. 5
Billboard: Never charted
Cash Box: Never charted

3. Jackie Wilson, "Reet Petite" No. 10
Billboard: No. 62
Cash Box: No. 35

4. Paul Anka, "Tell Me That You Love Me" No. 10
Billboard: Never charted
Cash Box: Never charted

5. Jimmy Edwards, "Love Bug Crawl" No. 10
Billboard: No. 78
Cash Box: No. 35

6. Otis Williams, "Oh Julie" No. 7
Billboard: Never charted
Cash Box: Never charted

7. Vanda King, "Randy" No. 10
Billboard: Never charted
Cash Box: Never charted

8. Kendall Sisters, "Yea, Yea" No. 10
Billboard: No. 73
Cash Box: Never charted

9. Terry Roberts, "Oh Lonesome Me" No. 6
Not issued in the U.S.

10. Tri-Lads, "Cherry Pie" No. 2
Billboard: Never charted
Cash Box: Never charted

11. Leigh Bell and the Chimes, "Terry" No. 3
Not issued in the U.S. until 1961

12. Ralph De Marco, "Old Shep" No. 10
Billboard: No. 91
Cash Box: No. 56

IZ ZAT SO? It is not unheard of for a recording artist's death, especially an unexpected one, to inspire fans of the decedent to rush out and buy their records.

The pattern has also been that surging posthumous sales are directly proportional to the status of the fallen star.

As most everyone knows, on February 3, 1959, the small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper crashed, killing everyone on board.

Buddy Holly, and to a lesser extent the Big Bopper, had been in the spotlight for awhile, but Ritchie Valens was just a 17-year-old newcomer, who happened to have one of the hottest records in North America: "Donna" backed with "La Bamba."

In the most unusual of circumstances, on the day of the crash, both "Donna" and "La Bamba" shared the No. 1 position on the CHUM Chart. Having both sides of a single already at No. 1 when that person dies clearly negates any surge factor.

If there is another occurrence on record of that specific confluence of events, I can't think of it.

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.

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