Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: In the 1950s there was a song about black slacks with lyrics like “B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-black slacks” repeated over and over again.

Who sang this unforgettable ditty? Were they a one-hit wonder act or did they chart other songs during those formative years of Rock & Roll?

My parents gave me a red and white Packard-Bell radio in 1956 or '57, and I remember listening to this tune on it.
—Joe Rocheleau (

DEAR JOE: The tune on your Packard-Bell was “Black Slacks,” a Top 20 hit in the fall of '57.

Some industry buffs require an artist to have at least one follow-up hit to crack the Top 40 to disqualify them as a “one-hit wonder.” Using that criteria Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones qualifies as such, since their one other hit, “Penny Loafers and Bobby Socks,” only reached No. 42.

My personal one-hit wonder rule is more literal — that the artist have only one hit and no other Top 100 chart records period.

DEAR JERRY: About 10 years ago, on a late-night radio show in Chicago, I heard a bluesy song that I am hoping you can identify for me. Here's what I recall about it:

By a woman who sounded somewhat like Aretha Franklin, the clever thing about this composition is that it is made up of a lot of everyday-type cliches, with meanings reversed. I may not have the words right, but some examples are “you can have your cake and eat it too” and “I put all my eggs in one basket.” Another has to do with “putting your foot in your mouth.” I guess you get the idea.

From this sparse bit of information, can you tell me what song I heard that night that keeps haunting me?
—Larry Browne, Ridge Manor, Fla. (St. Pete)

DEAR LARRY: You are not the first over the years to inquire about this soulful act, known as Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women. This integrated trio consists of Gaye Adegbalola, Ann Rabson and Andra Faye McIntosh. Since their record debut in 1990, they have become one of the world's top acoustic blues groups.

Each of the ladies is an accomplished musician and they also write much of their own music.

Many of their tunes are laced with tales of the pains and pleasures of life in general, as well as of their mid-life licentious adventures. It's really great stuff!

The track you heard is from their second album, “Hot Flash” (AL-4796). The title is “Two in the Bush Is Better Than One in the Hand.” Words to live by no doubt.

For more information on releases by Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women, write to Alligator Records, PO Box 60234, Chicago, IL 60660, (312) 973-7736. You can, of course, get some gator aid from their web site:

For an even more direct connection to Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women, visit their personal site:

What's it Worth? Get fast appraisals by e-mail!

DEAR JERRY: I would love to surprise my husband with a recording of “I'd Be Lost Without You,” our favorite song when he courted me in the summer of 1946.

Unfortunately, I no longer recall who recorded “our song,” nor does anyone else I ask. So I am turning to you.
—Ruth J. Kempa, Winter Haven, Fla.

DEAR RUTH: Two versions of “I'd Be Lost Without You” made the charts in the summer of '46, and chances are you heard both of them.

The (slightly) bigger hit of the two is by Guy Lombardo (Decca 18901). The other is by Frankie Carle and His Orchestra, featuring vocalist Marjorie Hughes (Columbia 36994).

IZ ZAT SO? Though not widely known, the female singer in the spotlight on many of Frankie Carle's hits, Marjorie Hughes, is actually Frankie's daughter.

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