DEAR JERRY: I have unearthed a single of “Gloria's Dream ('Round and 'Round)” backed with “The Secret Police.” It is credited to the Belfast Gypsies.
The odd thing about “Gloria's Dream” is how much it sounds like a sequel to “Gloria,” the garage band classic by Them featuring Van Morrison.
The lead on “Gloria's Dream” sounds a bit like Morrison, and the instrumentation is just like that in “Gloria.”
Who are these guys? Dean Singleton, York, Pa.
DEAR DEAN: I'll tell all, but first let's add this question to the mix:
DEAR JERRY: Everyone knows the different versions of “Gloria,” but I remember a similar song that I think is titled “Gloria's Dream.”
I have no idea who recorded it, or if it even exists. Perhaps my memory is as bad as my golf game. Can you help? Joe Diedrich, Troy, Mich.
DEAR JOE: Possibly, but first I'll need to analyze your swing.
As for “Gloria's Dream,” your memory is correct. Now comes the rest of the story: “Gloria,” written by Van Morrison, came out early in 1965, credited to the group Them, whose lead vocals feature Morrison.
Other Them members then are Bill Harrison, Alan Henderson, Pete Bardens, and brothers Pat and Jackie McAuley.
What one remembers about “Gloria” probably depends on where they lived at the time. In some areas “Gloria” became a big hit, while in others, such as the UK, only the flip side, “Baby, Please Don't Go” charted. Of course some regions played both sides.
Becoming a much bigger hit in the US is the remake by the Shadows of Knight, issued about one year after the Them single.
That same year (1966), Van Morrison left Them. Without its vocal identity, the band split into two acts, one of which is another Them, formed by Alan Henderson.
The other, assembled by Pat and Jackie McAuley and produced by Kim Fowley, is the Belfast Gypsies, a name reflecting their home town in Northern Ireland.
The Gypsies, who you now know did not include Van Morrison, chose “Gloria's Dream ('Round and 'Round)” to be their first single (Loma 2051). Unfortunately, it received very little attention on either side of the Atlantic.
One more single, “People, Let's Freak Out!” (Loma 2060), followed but also without success.
Being two-fifths of Them, the McAuley brothers had no trouble recreating the “Gloria” experience.
DEAR JERRY: I sang with the Jack Halloran Singers during the '60s, and one evening when we went out for coffee after rehearsing, Jack mentioned about his having done the first recording of “Little Drummer Boy.”
I thought he said it was Johnny Mann [not Harry Simeone] who copied his arrangment. Am I not remembering properly? Rod Stephens, Redding, Calif.
DEAR ROD: I'm guessing you are responding to the letter from Jack's daughter, Dawn.
I find no recording of this song by the Johnny Mann Singers, and, since the most popular “Little Drummer Boy” is by the Harry Simeone Chorale, I'd have to think he referred to Simeone and not Mann.
DEAR JERRY: On July 3rd, I got an excited phone call from Bob, a buddy of mine who lives in Florida. He is a former Long Island guitar picker, whose band I played in 1961.
Bob says, “Davey!” (He is the only person in the world who calls me Davey.) “You made the newspaper this morning! The headline on Jerry Osborne's music column reads: “Lynne Nixon added splash to Aquatones.”
I'm writing now to thank you for the mention. And for spelling all of our names correctly, I am impressed.
The group that appeared on the PBS-TV show is the current Aquatones foursome, of which I'm the only original member.
Other original members, Larry Vannata and Gene McCarthy, are alive and well, and remain good friends of mine, though geographical separation prevented us from working up an act after I'd discovered Colette Delaney. Like me, Colette lives here in Louisville.
Fortunately, I managed to conscript two local guys, Rich Hornung and Paul King, to sing with this new incarnation of the Aquatones.
For about 35 years, I was completely out of the music business, but when I heard Colette sing it was impossible to resist the temptation to reform the Aquatones.
For the record, Larry and Gene are heard on our “40 Years Later” CD (released in 2001). This was a transition period in which I'd recruited Colette, but hadn't yet put together a performing group.
The Aquatones are working on a new CD as I write this, and we hope to have it out later this year. These tracks will feature the voices of the current group (Colette, Rich, Paul, and me). Dave Goddard, Louisville, Ky.
DEAR DAVE: Good news travels fast, and I am grateful to Florida Bob for bringing our feature to your attention, and to you for writing.
When it comes to the Aquatones, a more reliable source of information does not exist.
Please let me know when that new album comes out.
IZ ZAT SO? Though not credited at the time, and never an official Them member, it is guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy Page that makes tracks like “Baby, Please Don't Go” and “Mystic Eyes” so musically dynamic.
Shortly after the Them sessions, Jimmy joined the Yardbirds. A couple of years later, he and Robert Plant formed Led Zeppelin.