DEAR JERRY: Since you are, no doubt, the only person in the world who answers the kind of musical mysteries that drive folks nuts, let me try you with mine.
Every year about this time, as I struggle with the countless income tax forms and schedules, fragments of an old blues song haunt me.
No it's not “Taxman,” by the Beatles, but it is tax related.
In it, the male singer got caught cheating on his taxes. He is arrested and brought before a judge. I recall he asks the judge why he looks so mean.
It may or may not have been a hit, but I would agonize a little less next April if, with your help, I could buy a copy of this tune on CD.
Derrick Bowman, Chicago Heights, Ill
DEAR DERRICK: The tune taxing your memory did indeed become a hit a Top 10 R&B smash in the summer of 1950.
It is “Good Morning Judge” (King 4378), by legendary blues shouter, Wynonie Harris.
Though his bout with the IRS is the segment that sticks in your mind, “Good Morning Judge” actually tells of three separate run-ins with the authorities, and three nights in custody.
As the story goes, each of the following events result in a morning court date, and a light-hearted greeting of “Good morning judge, why do you look so mean, sir?” from Wynonie:
1. Caught in the company of a minor (“I didn't know her pop was a city cop, and she was just 15”). 2. Cheating on taxes (“They'll have to catch me before I pay Internal Revenue”). 3. Divorce and alimony (“I said before I send you a dime, I'll die right here in jail”).
As for tax time next year, you can have “Good Morning Judge” ready to soothe you if you can locate “Bloodshot Eyes The Best of Wynonie Harris,” an 18 track CD collection of hits from 1947 to 1955 (Rhino R2-71544).
This may help you and anyone searching for older music. I have often found bargains on out-of-print CDs at HALF.COM, an eBay company. They always have a great assortment from which to choose.
DEAR SUSAN: Yes there is, and it's not only about Molly, it is titled “Molly.”
A late 1962 release, “Molly” became Bobby Goldsboro's first charted song, and though it only reached No. 70 it kick started a very successful career for Goldsboro.
In early 1964, “See the Funny Little Clown” became an immense hit, winding up in the nation's Top 10. Of more than two dozen charted Bobby Goldsboro singles, only the No. 1, mega-hit, “Honey,” fared better than “See the Funny Little Clown.”
For the record, there is no reference in “Molly” to any specific war Vietnam or otherwise. Since U.S. military involvement didn't officially come about until August 1964 (The Tonkin Gulf Resolution), Bobby would not be making references to it nearly two years earlier.
If I had to guess, I'd say Molly's man lost his sight in either the Korean War, or World War 2.
IZ ZAT SO? From his first chart hit (1946) to his last (1952), Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris had a total of 18 chart hits. Amazingly, every single one that charted landed somewhere in the nation's Top 10, including two that reached
No. 1: “Good Rockin' Tonight” and “All She Wants to Do Is Rock.”
He did, of course, have many other releases that completely failed to chart.
Apparently, the record buying public either liked Wynonie's songs a whole lot, or not at all.