Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of your columns, published around last Thanksgiving, dealt with Johnny Cash. Now I have a question of my own about a Johnny Cash performance.

At Thanksgiving many years ago, Johnny appeared as a guest star on TV in an episode of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” During this show, he sang a song about a prayer of thanksgiving.

I videotaped the episode but have since recorded over that program.

Can you identify the name of the song, and is it available on vinyl or CD?
—Bill Freisleben, Waukesha, Wisc.

DEAR BILL: Many years indeed. This episode, appropriately titled “Thanksgiving,” originally aired November 19, 1994.

Portraying the character Kid Cole, Johnny had somewhat of a recurring role in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” He appeared in four episodes between 1993 and '97.

In “Thanksgiving,” as well as two other episodes, Johnny's real-life wife, June Carter Cash, is cast as Sister Ruth.

As for the featured song, it is “Thanksgiving Prayer,” also known as “I'm Thanking the Lord He Made You,” with words and music by Josef Anderson.

Update: After this column originally ran, I was pleasantly surprised to get this nice note from Mr. Josef Anderson regarding this song:

“I happened to come across your column on “Thanksgiving Prayer,” and want to add that I was honored that Johnny Cash performed my song on Dr. Quinn. He also asked my permission to perform the song in his holiday show in Nashville, which of course I granted.”

A commercially available recording of this track is not easy to come by, but I did learn of one import CD that has it: “Johnny Cash — Unsurpassed American Masters” (OTA-007).

Though I have not heard this disc, chances are good that this “Thanksgiving Prayer” will be a recording taken from either a “Dr. Quinn” VHS tape, or an audio tape made directly from a TV.

DEAR JERRY: For a long time I have been wondering who the female singer is who duets with Chuck Berry on “Come On.”
—Jiri Tieftrunk, Ostrava, Czech Republic

DEAR JIRI: The mysterious lady you hear joining Chuck on the “Come On” chorus is his sweet sister, Martha Berry.

I can see how this track got your attention, since most Chuck Berry tunes feature only his voice.

Also, as far as I can recall, your letter is now the one received from the greatest distance.

DEAR JERRY: Who sings the vocal version of “Casino Royale” that plays during the credits at the end of the film? Is it Peter Sellers?
—Mike Fleischmann, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

DEAR MIKE: Sometimes the shortest questions are the toughest.

Working against us is that the vocal rendering of “Casino Royale” is not included on the original soundtrack recording, nor is any credit for it given in the film.

Peter Sellers has done some singing, mostly in conjunction with comedy skits, so I certainly can't exclude him. Still, I have heard nothing by him that sounds enough like “Casino Royale” to declare it to be him.

Some of the people who worked on the film have since died, and of those that I have spoken to not a one recalls this singer. This fact may point to it being an unknown session vocalist.

Countless internet searches have turned up nothing other than a handful of soundtrack reviewers who are also baffled by this mystery man.

Once each year I feature a question for which we have no answer, and this is the one for 2003. In years past, there has always been someone lurking out there with the information we seek.

Let's hope our manhunt results in this uncredited “Casino Royale” performer finally being credited.

IZ ZAT SO? As nonsensical and disjointed a film as “Casino Royale” is, its Burt Bacharach-Hal David score is very highly regarded — especially “The Look of Love,” by Dusty Springfield.

This tune received a 1968 Grammy nomination in the Song of the Year category, though Bobby Russell's “Little Green Apples” turned out to be the winner of that particular golden gramophone.

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