DEAR JERRY: Since I read your column religiously, I have always wondered if you have knowledge of a singer named Lovelace Watkins.
I saw him once on the Ed Sullivan Show in the '60s, I believe, and thought he had one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard.
Did he make any recordings?
Thomas D. Joyce, Chicago, Ill
DEAR THOMAS: Rarely in the 1960s did Lovelace Watkins NOT have a record out. His tunes on 45 rpm, issued from 1960 through 1969, can be found on several major labels, including: MGM, RCA/Groove, Sue and Uni.
Watkins even had a couple of albums, one at the beginning and one at the end of the decade: (1960) “The Voice of Lovelace Watkins” (MGM 3831), and (1969) “Love Is” (Uni 73068).
Some of his impressive single releases are: “When I Fall in Love; But Not for Me; Tender Love; I Won't Believe It; Who Am I;” and “A Man Without a Dream.”
Despite several record deals and fabulous television exposure, such the as Sullivan show, Lovelace never managed to place a record on any of the charts.
He would surely be pleased to know you remember him so fondly.
DEAR JERRY: Buried among my vast collection of vinyl records from the 1950s and '60s is the “Johnny Ace Memorial Album.”
It really has a funky old look to it and, based on the popularity of “Pledging My Love,” might it have some noteworthy value?
If not, as Bo Diddley once said, “I'm strong enough to take the message.”
Leo M. Grant, Southern, Conn.
DEAR LEO: Several variations exist of that Johnny Ace album, and, not knowing which you have, I'll just list them all.
This historic collection first came out as a 10-inch LP (Duke DLP-70) in March 1955, just three months after Johnny Ace died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This first pressing now sells for $600 to $650.
Two years later (1957) a standard 12-inch version appeared (Duke DLP-71), which can fetch $150 to $250. This cover has a photo of Johnny Ace but does not picture the ace of hearts playing card, which is shown on a later reissue.
Duke reissued the 1957 version in 1961, picturing Ace as well as the ace of hearts. Value this one at $50 to $75.
A third 12-inch pressing came along in 1974 but is easy to identify by its “DLPX-71” selection number (the “X” being the difference). This issue can be had for $8 to $12.
Of course, this album features the No. 1 hit “Pledging My Love,” but several other exquisite Johnny Ace tunes round out the set.
DEAR JERRY: There is a song titled “I Like to Lead When I Dance,” which I thought to be recorded by Frank Sinatra, but I can't find it on any of his albums.
Am I mistaken about it being by Sinatra? Perhaps Tony Bennett, or someone else, sang it.
I teach ballroom dancing and this song would be perfect for use in my classes. Can you find it for me, preferably on CD?
Carol Pierce, email@example.com
DEAR CAROL: Follow me as I lead you to “I Like to Lead When I Dance.”
You are right about it being by Frank Sinatra, but it is considerably more difficult to locate than his standard catalog releases.
This tune is one of 11 recorded especially for the 1964 film and soundtrack album, “Robin and the Seven Hoods.” Coupling “I Like to Lead When I Dance” with another song from the film, “My Kind of Town,” Reprise issued a 45 rpm single (Reprise 0279). Unfortunately, neither side made any of the charts.
I did locate one CD that includes both of these tracks, and 20 others: “Sinatra Sings the Songs of [James]Van Heusen and [Sammy] Cahn” (Reprise 9-26723-2).
IZ ZAT SO? Working in front as well as behind the camera, Frank Sinatra produced “Robin and the Seven Hoods.” He is joined in the film by Rat Pack (and other) co-stars Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, Peter Falk, Barbara Rush, and Victor Buono.