DEAR JERRY: A hot topic of conversation at the last Houston record convention was a 45 rpm recording by an unknown blues singer named Herb Milburn.
One fellow was wondering if Herb is simply a stage name used by blues legend, Amos Milburn. Regardless, it seems this little oddity may be one of the most valuable records ever made in Texas.
Please share with us as much as you can about this item.
Barry Kelp, Pasadena, Texas
DEAR BARRY: I can supply enough information about this record so that you can enlighten the others at your next gathering of music collectors.
His Lone Star buddies may call him Herb but the actual credit on the label reads “Herbert Milburn and the LeSabres.”
Issued in 1959 by Zebra Records (No. 711), the title is “They Say.”
Since most small companies wanted to be accessible to anyone wanting to buy product, they often printed their contact information right on the record. From this label, I see that Zebra's Houston location to be 3326 Proswimmer. Their phone number, HI-7-3358, predates the use of seven-digit numbers. The “HI” prefix probably stood for something like Highland, Hilltop, Hickory, etc.
Being in that area, you might drive by that address and see what, if anything, stands there today. It certainly will be something other than the home of Zebra Records.
Herbert and Amos are completely different Milburns, though there is an interesting connection here.
William Grindley, the Floridian who owns the only known copy of this single, bid on it in an auction only because he thought it might actually be Amos Milburn recording under another name. At that time, apparently no one in the hobby knew of this recording, making it simply a pot luck purchase.
What Grindley ended up with is a track that, thanks in part to the backing of the LeSabres, is more R&B than blues, and is so rare that even the owner of Zebra doesn't own a file copy.
Thus far, the lucky buyer of “They Say” is holding on tight to it, though he indicates he has already turned down offers of $10,000 for this little Texas Zebra.
DEAR JERRY: About a dozen years ago I bought a huge collection of all of the Rolling Stones albums, all in one box. The manufacturer is Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.
Now that I have the boxed 4-CD set of all their singles, plus other albums on compact disc, I no longer need the MFSL vinyl box.
Before I put it up for auction, can you provide an estimate of its current value? I'm sure a Stones vinyl collector would love to have it.
Lon Whitman, Tacoma, Wash.
DEAR LON: There always seems to be anxious buyers for just about any of those Mobile Fidelity audiophile, half-speed mastered issues, whether vinyl or on compact disc.
If like new and still with the bonus booklet and other inserts, that self-titled, 11-LP boxed set has recently been selling in the $750 to $1,000 range.
It's only Rock 'N' Roll, but with that windfall you can probably Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out with Some Girls at the Voodoo Lounge, over a hot bowl of Goat's Head Soup.
IZ ZAT SO? “England's Newest Hit Makers” just barely missed the Top 10 on the album charts, peaking at No. 11. However, every one of the next 26 Rolling Stones charted LPs reached the Top 10.
Over a dozen artists managed to chart more albums than the Stones, though not a one comes even close to their streak of 26 in the Top 10.
Just as impressive is that no other act has more career Top 10 LPs than the 34 claimed by the Rolling Stones.