Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I am curious about a record by a person or group named Ginger Time. I recently saw it sell for $250 in an auction, and the seller described it as a "doo-wop girl group" sound. The songs are "Bye, Bye Allen" and "You Told Me a Lie" (Corsair 45-113).

As a collector of vintage girl group records, I wanted to hear this. I searched for it on YouTube but without success.

All I could find is "Bye, Bye Allen" by someone named Claire Terese, and it also turned out to be a doo-wop girl group sound.

With a distinctive title of "Bye, Bye Allen," I figure there must be some connection between these two.

Can you shed any light on this?
—Jewel Ludlow, Panama Beach, Fla.

DEAR JEWEL: Consider this boondoggle sufficiently illuminated, and exposing endless connections.

If you heard Claire Terese's 1960 recording of "Bye Bye Allen" (no comma), then you have also heard Ginger Time's. Claire and Ginger are the same person and the tracks are identical.

The Claire Terese single (Cleveland 109) is more common and can be likely found for about half of what the tab would be for the Ginger Time disc.

As for Ginger's "You Told Me a Lie," this same recording was previously issued on Corsair (45-802), as by Claire Terese, and with the title "He Lied." This too would be in the $100 to $150 price range.

DEAR JERRY: Forgive me, but this may be the toughest question you've ever gotten.

I was stationed in the Houston area in the late 1950s, when I bought Larry Williams' two-sided hit "Bony Moronie" and "You Bug Me Baby."

The peculiar thing about "You Bug Me Baby" is how incredibly similar it sounded like another Houston hit a few months earlier, also by a black singer. What is this mystery song?

I don't have any lyrics, names, or other clues. I told you it would be a toughie.
—Sid Mosier, Lewisburg, Tenn.

DEAR SID: You are forgiven. In fact, were it not for this bizarre inquiry I would never have known the thrill of sorting through most of the 1957 music surveys from radio stations in the Houston area.

One thing that always jumps out at me is finding a record ranked high on a regional chart that never even made a dent on any of the national charts.

Accordingly, seeing Tommy Ridgely's "When I Meet My Girl" holding the No. 1 spot on the July 22, 1957 KNUZ Top 30 ("Houston's Original and Most Accurate") threw me into both investigative and editorial modes.

I mention the latter for two reasons.

First, Tommy's last name is Ridgley, not Ridgely. Regardless, here are three of his later records, issued in different years by three different labels, with his name misspelled in the same way: 1965 "Call on My Baby"/"Pretty Little Mama" (Blue Jay 158); 1970 "Spreading Love"/"Live" (Ridge-Way 0005/0006); and 1976 "Sometimes You Get It"/"What a Mess We're In" (Sansu 10001).

Second, while "When I Meet My Girl" was No. 1, the No. 26 tune was "Angle of Love" by the Four Voices. Of course it should be "Angel of Love." This is not to say that "Angle of Love" couldn't have been a good title for a completely different song.

"When I Meet My Girl" (Herald 501), despite being a huge territorial hit on the Gulf Coast (Houston, Lake Charles, New Orleans, etc.), never appeared on any of the national surveys.

More surprisingly is that not a single one of Ridgley's four dozen singles (1951-1987) earned a spot on any of the best sellers charts.

After just 15 seconds on the turntable, I knew this had to be the tune that has been bugging you for so long.

"You Bug Me Baby" came out about five months after "When I Meet My Girl," but, whether by coincidence or design, one can immediately hear some of the same basic construction as heard on Tommy Ridgley's recording.

Before "Bony Moronie" and "You Bug Me Baby" (Specialty 615), Larry Williams had another two-sided smash, "Short Fat Fannie" backed with "High School Dance" (Specialty 608).

Both sides of his third chart single, "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Slow Down" (Specialty 626), were especially profitable for Williams because the Beatles chose to record them in the mid-'60s. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" is on the "Beatles VI" LP and "Slow Down" came out as a single.

More good fortune came Larry's way with another of his singles, "She Said 'Yeah'"and "Bad Boy" (Specialty 658). "Bad Boy" is also on "Beatles VI," and the Rolling Stones, included "She Said 'Yeah'" on their "December Children" LP.

And the songwriting royalties just keep on comin'.

IZ ZAT SO? There are some exceptions, but overall the most valuable records are ones that were not hits (i.e., big sellers) when originally issued.

As we indicated, Tommy Ridgley never had a national breakout hit, making all of his singles a good investment for those who purchased them decades ago for about a buck.

At the top of that list is "My Love Gets Stronger" backed with "Fly in My Pie" (International City 7102). This little slice of vinyl now sells for $2,000 to $3,000.

IZ ZAT SO? When Tom T. Hall wrote "Harper Valley P.T.A." he could never have imagined what a cultural phenomenon he'd created.

Not only did Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 recording top both the pop and country charts in the U.S. and Canada — the first time ever accomplished by a female — but that one little phonograph record inspired a feature film (1978) AND a TV series (1981). That too had never happened before.

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