DEAR JERRY: I never realized how much insanity there is in the world until I started reading your column seeing how many people write you saying how some mysterious song is driving them nuts.
Now I find myself among your loyal but crazed followers, and hoping for a cure.
Around the time all the twist records dominated the music scene, I grew quite fond of a novelty type tune. Part of the story it tells is about two young country bumpkin boys who, apparently for the first time, discover men's magazines at the newsstand in the big city. One says to the other, “them gals wear things that we ain't seen beneath them gingham gowns.”
Unfortunately, none of these words offer a clue to the title, which means I have no chance to find it. Granted it's a long shot, but perhaps you'll recognize this silly tune.
Arlie Baldwin, Detroit, Mich.
DEAR ARLIE: I'm glad to see my mail-order degree in psychiatry is finally paying off.
I have seen cases like yours before. In fact, Terry Ryan, of St. Petersburg, Fla., writes seeking a similar cure because of this exact same song.
The correct title is “I Won't Go Huntin with You, Jake (But I'll Go Chasin' Wimmin'),” and it is the B-side of one of the biggest hits of 1961: “Big Bad John,” by Jimmy Dean (Columbia 42175).
Next patient please.
I think everyone is aware that he sings on the Beach Boys' hit version of the song, as well as Jan & Dean's version. The most recent version of “Barbara Ann” is by Dean Torrence & the Vertikals.
Any idea if this statement of Dean's is accurate?
Trish in Byesville, Ohio
DEAR TRISH: Let's cut Dean some slack and not take his claim to mean he sings on “every” recording made of “Barbara Ann.”
As a huge hit twice including reaching No. 1 by the Beach Boys and one of the most popular party songs of the mid-'60s, numerous bands recorded “Barbara Ann” without any help from Dean.
It is accurate to state that Dean is featured on every “hit” version of “Barbara Ann,” except, of course, the original hit by the Regents.
DEAR JERRY: Oh Obi-Wan, you are not just my last, you are my only hope!
One of our friends swears he once had a record titled “Thunder Wagon,” though he cannot remember the name of the band. This topic has come up many times over the years, and now I have been elected to seek out the truth about “Thunder Wagon.”
It may even be by a local group that attracted very little attention outside Wisconsin.
Trying to settle the matter, I have checked many record stores and numerous catalogs, but nothing by that titles can be found.
Does such a record exist? As I said, you are my only hope.
Kathy Smith, Milwaukee
DEAR KATHY: Building a sense of hope is essential to your Jedi training, so let's get started.
I can't confirm that your friend once owned “Thunder Wagon,” but it definitely does exist. A 1959 issue, backed with “Dragon Walk,” it is by the Nobelmen (USA 1213).
Your hunch is correct about the Nobelmen (a.k.a. Noblemen) being a Badger State band, and not well known elsewhere. Still, “Thunder Wagon” enjoyed significant distribution in England (Top Rank 155).
IZ ZAT SO? Apart from the performances themselves, there is another variance between the two hit versions of “Barbara Ann.”
The labels on the Regents singles show the title as “Barbara-Ann,” whereas those used on the Beach Boys' waxing do not hyphenate “Barbara Ann.”
Copies of the original Regents issue of “Barbara-Ann” (Cousins 1002) can now bring around $400.