DEAR JERRY: I've enjoyed reading the questions and your answers for many years. This time, however, I am the one with a question.
Like many other music lovers, I have been copying songs from my old analog tapes and LPs to CD. Though I did a poor job at labeling some of the tapes, most of the tunes I can either identify or find some information about. But there is one exception, an R&B doo-wop-type song which a friend taped for me about 15 years ago.
This mystery track might be titled “Which One Will It Be,” since that line is a familiar refrain throughout.
It sounds like a late '50s or early '60s issue, much like something by the Earls, or one of those type groups. Please help!
Jon Olsen, Stevens Point, Wisc.
DEAR JON: Your excellent recollection and instincts make this an easy one.
It is definitely “Which One Will It Be,” and it is, as you suspected, a 1959 recording. The group is the Valaires.
Though both sides are good, “Which One Will It Be” is the B-side of this single. The A-side is the oddly titled “Launie, My Love.” You'd almost think it is a typo, and should be “Laurie, My Love.”
First released on the tiny Willet label (No. 114), in late 1959, it was quickly picked up for national distribution by Decca, and issued on their Coral subsidary (No. 62177) in early '60.
For the Coral reissue, the group name is changed slightly to Val-Aires. Still, neither side made the charts.
The big bucks required to buy the Willet single about $500 to $750 reflect its extreme rarity. A Coral copy can likely be found for one-tenth that amount ($50 to $75).
I did find one CD in my collection, “30 Original Historic Doo-Wop Classics” (Lost Gold 3475) with “Launie, My Love,” but it does not include “Which One Will It Be.”
And if you think Launie is an unusual name for a woman, read on:
DEAR JERRY: My name, Malverine, is very unusual, and I have been stuck with it for many years in fact, all of my life. In that time, I have never known of anyone else with this name.
Yet, while hospitalized recently, a nurse noticed my name and asked me if I'd ever heard the song, “Malverine.” She said that a recording by that title inspired her mom's neighbor to name a daughter Malverine.
Do you know of the song the nurse had in mind? Or any song by this title?
Malverine McNutt, Bartow, Fla.
DEAR MALVERINE: It is certainly possible someone in the past 100 years recorded your namesake tune, but I find no Malverine references whatsoever.
If “Malverine” were popular enough to motivate the naming of a child, you'd think it would have made one of the charts, but it didn't. At least not with that title.
Perhaps there is, among our vast readership, someone who can help solve the Malverine musical mystery.
IZ ZAT SO? On the Willett issue of “Launie, My Love” and “Which One Will It Be,” mention is made in tiny print of “Vogue Terrace, McKeesport, Pa.”
While most folks would dismiss this text as either perplexing or unimportant, or both, it is quite significant.
Opened in 1951, the Vogue Terrace became a popular night club in McKeesport. Being a local group (Turtle Creek), the Valaires, plucked their new name, the Vogues, from the Vogue Terrace.
From 1965 through '69, the Vogues ran off 14 chart hits, including four that made the Top 10: “You're the One; Five O'Clock World; Turn Around, Look at Me;” and “My Special Angel.”
As for the Vogue Terrace, it burned to the ground in the mid-'60s.