DEAR JERRY: About 10 years ago, a gorgeous new singer named Sofia Shinas appeared on the pop scene.
I bought her self-titled Warner Brothers CD and loved it. I was sure looking forward to hearing more of this young lady.
But not only did I not find another album, I never again heard anything whatsoever about Sofia.
Please try and locate some news of this talented entertainer and find out why she vanished and what she's doing now. I hope she's still with us.
Butch Emerson, Highline, Wash.
DEAR BUTCH: Like you, I got Sofia's CD when it came out in 1992 and it also impressed me, more so when I found she wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks.
I am pleased to report that Sofia Shinas is alive and well in Los Angeles. Since that first album, her focus has been acting but let's let Sofia herself update us:
“Hey Jerry, thanks for contacting me!
“Recording at Warner Brothers was great. Everyone involved was wonderful. My only complaint is that the recording was not properly promoted.
“Unfortunately, my music video was not seen on MTV, or any other station, and I'd still like to know why.
“Questions like this are what caused me to back away from the music industry and start making movies, which is what I've been doing the last 10 years.
“My film debut was “The Crow” (1994) starring the late Brandon Lee. After that came roles in “Terminal Velocity” (1994); Hourglass” (1995); “Ripper Man” (1996); “Hostile Intent” (1997); “Dilemma” (1997); “Red Shoe Diaries” (2000); and “Planet of the Pitts” (2003).
“Along the way I did some television shows, including “The Outer Limits” (1995) and “The Hunger” (1997).
“Still, music has and always will be my passion, and currently I am in the process of searching for writers and producers to collaborate with for my second album.”
So, Butch, when sweet Sofia puts together a new album she will tell me and I'll see that you are among the first to know.
One cute observation: Sofia's e-mail handle is “Strange Cat,” the title of one of the tracks from the debut CD.
Are there any 78 players available, or should we just toss them?
I imagine there are many other folks who have this same question.
Helen Martz, Evanston, Ill.
DEAR HELEN: The question may be the same but the collections will vary.
Anyone thinking of tossing records that are still in excellent condition should at least check their current prices. One will then at least have an idea how much value is being tossed.
If all that stands between you and enjoying your collection is having a player, then be assured 78 rpm turntables are available with many choices of frills and in a variety of price ranges.
One recommended source is Record Finders, 8508 Sanford Drive, Richmond, VA 23228. Phone (804) 266-1154. It seems they have players from $75 to $495.
Another is Garage-A-Records, PO Box 400, 11695 N. Pied Piper Parkway, Cromwell, IN 46732. Phone (888) 800-7597.
They offer just one model, a real beauty, priced at $149.
DEAR JERRY: As a teen in the late '50s, my favorite movies were westerns. I must have seen a thousand of them and can't remember most of their titles.
Not having a title means I can't search for the one that has as its opening and closing theme a song titled “Follow the River.”
There is a film by that exact title, but it is completely different than the one I remember.
This has haunted me for decades, so please end my suffering and tell me who recorded this song, and which film used it as a theme.
Rodger Olm, York, Pa.
DEAR RODGER: Here is the pain relief you seek.
As you accurately recall, “Follow the River” is heard at the beginning and end of a western, the title of which is “Night Passage.”
Starring James Stewart, Dan Duryea, and Audie Murphy, this 1957 movie has more to do with following the railroad than the river.
You may be surprised to learn the singer of “Follow the River,” as well as the other tune heard in the film, “You Can't Go Far Without a Railroad,” is James Stewart.
IZ ZAT SO? James Stewart is not known as a recording artist, but he did dabble at it. One of his more interesting tunes is a 1970 duet with Henry Fonda, “The Cheyenne Social Club.” It is of course from the film of that title, in which Jimmy and Henry co-star.