Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: It has come to my attention that one of my 45s from the 1960s might now be valuable.

It is “My Neighborhood” backed with “Where Have You Been” (Constellation 156), by a pair named Mike & Michael, whoever they are.

I bought it for a buck or so about 40 years ago. What is its value now?

Did Mike & Michael make any other records?
—Frank Rogers, Tunica, Miss.

DEAR MR. ROGERS: Indeed, it's shaping up to be a beautiful day in your neighborhood!

Chicago-based Mike Cavallo and Michael Tomasetti first recorded “My Neighborhood” for Manhattan Records (M-36).

Despite the New York reference, this Manhattan outfit, like Constellation, was a Chicago label.

The Manhattan original is about $60, but your Constellation release still fetches half that.

These two Mikes are on several other 1960s and '70s recordings, though “My Neighborhood” is the only one credited to Mike & Michael.

Together with Louis “Chick” Stella, and recording as the Nobles, the three friends released “That Special One” (USA 788) in 1964.

The following year, now as Chick and the Nobles, they issued “I Cry” (USA 772).

In 1966, Louis and both Mikes put out “Showdown” (United 98), which is credited to the Taylor Brothers.

As you now know, these fellows are neither Taylors nor are they brothers.

Back again in '68, the same trio returned as the Chicago Fire, with “Candy and Me” (USA 898). For this session they added John McCafferty.

The greatest success for Stella and Tomasetti came in the summer of 1970, when they hooked up with Elen and Elaine (a.k.a. “The Twins”), Billy Mendes, Russ Rickman, Joe Evans, Billy Charmello, and Bobby Brostoski.

Known collectively as the Neighborhood, this nine-person assemblage's waxing of Joni Mitchell's “Big Yellow Taxi” became a Top 30 hit.

You could say we've come full circle with Michael Tomasetti, traveling from “My Neighborhood” to the Neighborhood.

In a big yellow taxi, no doubt.

DEAR JERRY: For years I have been haunted by a disco-era song, but you just might be able to free my mind and identify it.

I don't know how popular it became but it did get played on the radio and in the dance clubs in the summer of '77.

The lady singing tells of going to a party where she doesn't know anyone. She is put off by oogling men making passes, but then the man of her dreams wanders in and rescues her. (Just so you'll know, it's not “Rescue Me.”)

Finally, the two sweethearts slip away and create their own private party, and true love is born.

One of the best records of the 1970s and I haven't a clue as to its identity. Please see what you can do.
—Lorena Jennings, Pottsville, Pa.

DEAR LORENA: Haunted as you are, it is as though you are screaming “Save Me!” Coincidentally, that exclamation is the title of your mystery song.

By Merrilee Rush, this summer '70 hit perfectly matches the description you provide.

Besides the seven-inch single (United Artists 993) and 12-inch disco single (United Artists 152), “Save Me” is also the lead track on the “Merrilee Rush” album (United Artists LA-735).

IZ ZAT SO? Merrilee Rush zoomed into the nation's Top 10 in June 1968 with “Angel of the Morning” (Bell 705).

Nine years later, Rush moved to United Artists. Among the 10 tracks recorded there for her self-titled LP is a brilliant version of “Angel of the Morning,” so true to the original that one must listen close to know it isn't.

Inexplicably, the U.A. single discussed above, “Save Me,” came out twice — first backed with “Easy, Soft and Slow” (1977) and a few months later with the new “Angel of the Morning” on the flip.

For her U.A. sessions, Merrilee is joined by two members of Elvis Presley's TCB Band: James Burton (lead guitar), and Jerry Scheff (Fender bass).

In early 1977, during a short break between Presley concert tours, this talented duo found time to pick for Merrilee.

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