DEAR JERRY: Enjoyed your recap of regional hits that never made it big nationwide, and reading it reminds me of a long-forgotten recording.
Besides listening to the Chicago Top 40 stations in the '60s, I often tuned in to a local R&B station, WGES.
The only one of their dee jays I recall is a character who called himself “The Crown Prince.” Don't know if I ever knew his real name.
Anyway, this guy played a soulful version of Joe South's big hit, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” Since then, I have never again heard it. Not even once!.
Care to take a crack at solving this cold case for me?
Claudine Mitchell, Oak Park, Ill.
DEAR CLAUDINE: Another cold case can now be stamped “solved.”
The harebrained dee jay you mention is Richard Stamz, the self-proclaimed “Crown Prince of Disc Jockeys.”
Photos of Stamz often picture him outfitted like a king complete with crown and scepter and the caption “His Royal Highness.”
Chances are excellent the version of “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” you heard is by Willie Hightower. His single (Fame 1465) hit the R&B charts in April 1970, about three months after Joe South's million-selling original.
I trust this information also solves a nearly identical cold case, submitted by Jerry R. Mills, of Winter Haven, Fla.
Jerry writes to ask if that soul waxing of “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” is by Otis Redding.
DEAR JERRY: PBS recently aired the “Four Tops 50th Anniversary Special,” which they filmed in Detroit.
During the performance, they brought their great lead singer, Levi Stubbs, on stage, but in a wheel chair.
When he tried to sing a number with the Tops, nearly everyone in the audience began crying.
Not knowing what happened to him is troubling me, and I'm also curious about his health now?
Will Stubbs be able to sing with them again? They are certainly not the same without him.
Jeanette Peery, York, Pa.
DEAR JEANETTE: About 11 years ago, Levi Stubbs was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which explains the unfortunate situation you and numerous others witnessed.
It is unlikely that Stubbs, now 70, will rejoin the Four Tops in any capacity other than as a special guest.
Theo Peoples, who sang with the Temptations for a spell in the '90s, stepped in six years ago for Stubbs as the lead voice of the Four Tops.
DEAR JERRY: I have always been a fan of guitarist Duane Eddy. I know Duane plays in the background on “Rock and Roll Lullaby,” by B.J. Thomas.
This makes me wonder if there are others for which Duane plays guitar, but whose instrumental accompaniment is not very well known.
Leo Gonzalez, Milwaukee
DEAR LEO: Wonder no more. There are quite a few other singers fortunate enough to have Duane Eddy strumming on their sessions.
How well known Duane's participation is will vary from person to person, but here is the alphabetical roster along with their key tracks on which Duane picks:
Art of Noise (“Peter Gunn”); Sanford Clark (“Sing 'Em Some Blues”); Steve Douglas (“Sashay”); Phil Everly (“Star Spangled Springer” LP); Scott Fitzgerald (“Never Too Young to Rock”); Foreigner (“Until the End of Time”); Emmylou Harris (“I Had My Heart Set on You”); Lee Hazlewood (“The Girl on Death Row”); Mirriam Johnson (a.k.a. Jessie Colter) (“Lonesome Road” and “Making Believe”); J.D. McFadden (“Stand and Cast a Shadow” LP); Susan Marshall (“Don't Play Innocent with Me” LP); Donnie Owens (“Need You”); Frank Porter; Mark Robinson; Ray Sharpe (“Linda Lu”); Sharps (“Have Love, Will Travel”); B.J. Thomas (“Rock and Roll Lullaby”); Threeteens (“Dear 53310761”); and Kin Vassey (“The Bayou Song”).
IZ ZAT SO? In 1955, nearly three years before Duane Eddy's Top 10 debut hit, “Rebel Rouser,” he and Jimmy Delbridge recorded a vocal duet as Jimmy & Duane.
Their teener tune, a Lee Hazlewood composition titled “Soda Fountain Girl” (EB X. Preston 212), provides nary a clue that Duane would soon launch an amazingly successful “twangy guitar” career so much so that Joel Whitburn names him the Number One Rock and Roll Instrumentalist of All Time an honor based on Joel's exhaustive research of the Billboard charts.