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 NOVEMBER 24, 2014

DEAR JERRY: I desperately need your help with a pending transaction.

I collect R&B 45s from the 1960s, and I have been corresponding with someone whose passion is LPs by '60s and '70s garage and psychedelic bands.

In my inventory is the rare self-titled 1967 Stonewall album (Tiger Lily 14013), and he is offering as an even trade a 1965 single of "Lady in Green" by the Magnetics (Bonnie 107374).

I would love to have the Bonnie single, but would like to know your thoughts on whether or not it's a fair exchange. We both want a win-win swap.

Both records are in excellent condition, though neither would be graded mint.
—Alvin Byrd, Indianapolis

DEAR ALVIN: You are wise not to jump into this deal without considering all of the factors.

What you do not mention is whether or not each of you has personally inspected the other person's offering. If not, you should, even if it means one or both of you taking a little trip (at least you are somewhat centrally located).

The remaining detail, and it's a biggie, is whether or not you have the promotional pressing of the Stonewall LP. With just one glance it's easy to know.

Prominently printed on both sides of the promo edition labels is "For DJ Use Only - Not for Sale." Stock copies make no mention of this.

Should you have the promo made for DJ use, this is not a good trade for you. The most recent sale of this variation realized over $14,000 in a recent eBay auction.

If you do not have the promotional copy — the more likely possibility — the trade is fairly even for you and your trading partner. Both the Stonewall LP and the Magnetics 45, have sold in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.

DEAR JERRY: In the mid-'90s, my sister brought home an album titled "Yodelling the Classics," by Mary Schneider.

When she played it for me my jaw dropped. Who could have even imagined any type of vocal rendering of Rossini's "William Tell Overture" or Offenbach's "Can-Can," much less yodeling to the music.

I have long been a fan of yodelers in the western field, but one thing I had never heard is a complete song with no vocal other than yodeling, and that's what Mary Schneider does on this album.

Is she the first person to record using that gimmick?
—Carla Keller, Columbia, S.C.

DEAR CARLA: If you mean is she the first to yodel the venerable works of Brahms, Strauss, Mozart, and other creators of the classics, then yes, at least on records.

However, if you refer to recording a standard length vocal with all of the singing being of the yodel variety, it's been done at least once before, in the U.S. and on a major label.

I make that last distinction because Mary Schneider, born in Rockhampton, Queensland, and known as Australia's Queen of Yodelling, has made at least five albums, but none issued in the U.S.

The only 100 per-cent yodeling vocal recording that comes to mind is "Nola," a 1952 single (MGM 11329), by Carolina Cotton (née Helen Hagstom).

This blonde bombshell was a traditional western singer and yodeler, whereas Mary Schneider was more linked with Swiss Alpine yodeling, although both sirens possessed magnificent voices and could sing in any style.

"Nola" was an interesting choice for Carolina Cotton to vocalize, er, yodelize, since all five popular versions before 1952 are instrumentals:

1922 (Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra; Carl Fenton and His Orchestra)
1937 (Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra)
1950 (Les Paul; Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians)

Carolina's recording did not chart, and, though unique, was regarded more as a novelty. Let's face it, no one could sing along with her version.

For the next six years, the "Nola" style was somewhat swept away by rock and roll, but then in early 1959 two new versions — both vocals in the traditional sense — hit the charts: first by Billy Williams with Dick Jacobs and Orchestra (Coral 62069), then by the Morgan Brothers (MGM 12747).

"Nola" made quite a comeback that year.

Before the year's end, six more singles — two additional vocals and four instrumentals — came out, bringing the total to eight.

None of the latter six charted.

IZ ZAT SO? On his top-rated TV show in the mid-1950s, Liberace often took requests from his audience. He thoroughly enjoyed the request portion of his performances and delighted in displaying his ability to spontaneously play anything asked of him.

Even more impressive is that he never used sheet music, always playing by ear.

During one show, he said that "Nola" was his single most requested song.

He then proceeded to play it again … and again ... and again.

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Jerry Osborne: Background and Publishing History


Previous 2014 columns
January 6 January 13 January 20 January 27
February 3 February 10 February 17 February 24
March 3 March 10 March 17 March 24 March 31
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 July 28
August 4 August 11 August 18 August 25
September 1 September 8 September 15 September 22 September 29
October 6 October 13 October 20 October 27
November 3 November 10 November 17

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