Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

Now in our 28th year (1986-2014) — Over 2,800 Questions Answered
Most recent column here — 16 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 28, 2014

DEAR JERRY: We just finished watching the excellent 12-hour series, "Titanic: Blood and Steel."

Since one of the girls in the Italian family is named Violetta, I was thinking they might figure a way to include all or part of "Violetta," a popular song in the early 1960s, but they didn't.

That's the only other time I've ever heard this lovely name.

There could be many reasons they missed the opportunity to tie-in with this tune, such as they didn't even know it existed.

Do you know "Violetta"?
—Melanie Goodrich, Portsmouth, N.H.

DEAR MELANIE: I do, both Violetta Silvestri, beautifully played by Valentina Corti in "Titanic: Blood and Steel," and "Hear My Song, Violetta," the recording by David Whitfield (1960: Decca 7036) and Ray Adams (1962: Laurie 3118).

Neither version did well in the U.S., though both were huge hits in many other countries, from Norway to Australia.

Big sales means more copies in circulation, so either disc is likely to be found on eBay, and probably for under ten bucks.

Even if the producers knew of "Violetta," they would not knowingly have a record from the 1960s playing when the Titanic was under construction, circa-1910. That would be known in filmese as a flub.

DEAR JERRY: There is one line in Brenda Lee's "One Step at a Time" that has me befuddled.

As with some of her earlier songs, she uses an occasional hiccupping delivery, a bit like Buddy Holly does at the beginning of "Rave On," and that's the problem with this mysterious verse.

All I know is it has something to do with a hound dog.
—Sean Callahan, Patterson, N.J.

DEAR SEAN: Music is my life, but dogs and hiccups are among my other areas of expertise.

When "One Step at a Time" came out, in early 1957, Brenda was just 12, and obviously influenced by hiccupping rockabilly artists.

The befuddling verse is "every old hound dog once was a pup."

DEAR JERRY: Long ago my grandfather worked for a local record distributor, one having an association with the Gennett company.

Handed down from him to my father, then to me, is a collection of Gennett 78s, all still in their paper sleeves.

A few of the songs are familiar, but I don't recognize any of the musicians, and I do not have a phonograph.

I once tried to get them appraised on the Antiques Roadshow, but they said there were too many for them to deal with.

Can you help me determine if I have anything of value?
—Orville Sigler, Richmond, Ind.

DEAR ORVILLE: You don't say how many Gennetts you have, other than enough for the Roadshow to lose interest.

I do know that the more you own the better your chance of having some of the big ticket items. Also, those authentic Gennett Records company sleeves will make your stash even more attractive to buyers.

Gennett set up shop in Richmond in the early 1920s, and remains one of the more desirable record labels.

Take a look and see if you have any of these sought-after artists, grouped in Gennett's three main categories: Jazz, Blues, and Country.

Even though these folks all recorded for Gennett in the 1920s and '30s, I'm thinking you will at least spot two or three names you recognize:

Jazz and Big Band:
Bix Beiderbecke (a.k.a., Bix and His Rhythm Jugglers)
Hoagy Carmichael
Deppe's Serenaders (with Earl Hines)
Duke Ellington
Fletcher Henderson
Jelly Roll Morton
New Orleans Rhythm Kings
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (with Louis Armstrong)
Andy Preer and the Cotton Club Orchestra
Red Onion Jazz Babies
Johnny Silvester and His Playmates
Sioux City Six, Featuring Bix (Beiderbecke)
State Street Ramblers
Alphonse Trent
Frank Trumbauer
Wolverine Orchestra
Zach Whyte and His Chocolate Beau Brummels

Blues:
Black Birds of Paradise
Big Boy Cleveland
Jaybird Coleman
Sam Collins
Jesse C. Crump
Tiny Franklin
Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey)
Daddy Moon Hayes
Henry Johnson and His Boys
Horace Smith
Lizzie Washington

Country:
Gene Autry
Blue Ridge Mountaineers
Vernon Dalhart
Bradley Kincaid
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts
Rutherford and Foster
Ernest Stoneman
Virginia Mountain Boomers (with Ernest Stoneman)

IZ ZAT SO? For interested collectors who would like some recent sales prices on records by a few of the above named artists, here are just 10 that fetched four figures. Keep in mind that with 78s, rarely are they found anywhere close to near-mint condition:

$7,656: Daddy Moon Hayes and His Boys - "Two Little Tommie Blues" / "Gang of Brown Skin Women" (Gennett 6122)
$4,500: Black Birds of Paradise - "Muddy Water" / "Sugar" (Gennett 6211)
$2,551: Rutherford and Foster - "She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage" / "There's No One Like the Old Folks" (Gennett 6777)
$1,902: Blue Ridge Mountaineers - "Old Flannigan" / "Old Voile" (Gennett 6870)
$1,652: Jesse C. Crump - "Mister Crump Rag" / "Golden West Blues" (No Gennett number used)
$1,593: Jaybird Coleman - "Man Trouble Blues" / "Trunk Busted, Suitcase Full of Holes" (Gennett 6245)
$1,358: Black Birds of Paradise - "Bugahoma Blues" / "Tishomingo Blues" (Gennett 6210)
$1,250: Horace Smith and the Patent Leather Kids - "Going Away and Leave My Baby" / "Clickity Clack Blues" (Gennett 7056)
$1,136: Henry Johnson and His Boys - "Hawaiian Harmony Blues" / "Blue Hawaii" (Gennett 6156)
$1,136: Georgia Tom - "Six Shooter Blues" / "Second Hand Woman" (Gennett 7130)

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Previous 2014 columns
January 6 January 13 January 20 January 27
February 3 February 10 February 17 February 24
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April 7 April 14 April 21 April 28
May 5 May 12 May 19 May 26
June 2 June 9 June 16 June 23 June 30
July 7 July 14 July 21

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