Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A blues song with a 1950s or '60s sound to it has kept me running in circles, searching online as well as offline. Now I turn to you for help, though I can't give you much to go on.

I do not know the singer's name, but I do know my search is made more difficult because of its title, which I'm sure is “P.S. I Love You.”

As you know, there are two other very familiar songs with this exact same title — one by the Hilltoppers, and another by the Beatles.

The tune I seek has nothing whatsoever to do with either of these others. One noteworthy difference is that this one actually begins with the words “P.S. I love you.”
—Edith Poole, Carlisle, Pa.

DEAR EDITH: You have provided just enough essential details, such as the peculiarity of a postscript (P.S.) being used first, before the actual correspondence.

Your “P.S. I Love You” is by the Mighty Flyers, and is a popular track from their 1985 album, “From the Start to the Finnish.”

Dedicated to their European tour coordinators, and their many Scandinavian fans, “From the Start to the Finnish” came out first in Finland (BRB Records), then quickly in the UK (Red Lightnin' Records). The following year, Pausa Records released , “From the Start to the Finnish” in America.

The Mighty Flyers are fronted by Rod Piazza (vocals and blues harp), who is joined by Miss Honey (piano) and Bill Stuve (bass).

The easiest way to corral “P.S. I Love You” is to get the “Mighty Flyers - The Essential Collection” (Hightone HCD-8041), a 1992 CD that includes tracks from three of the trio's 1980s albums: “Radioactive Material (1981), “File Under Rock” (1984), and “From the Start to the Finnish.”

DEAR JERRY: Boy, am I glad to have stumbled upon your column. No one I know has been able to help me solve my music mystery, nor have I been able to find the answer online.

In the late '80s or early '90s, a female singer remade an Isley Brothers classic, and did a very good job of it.

The song is “Voyage to Atlantis,” and her version is better than the original, which I don't really like that much.

Who is this woman?
—Mikki in Buffalo, N.Y.

DEAR MIKKI: Her first name rhymes with yours, and she is Nicki Richards.

Miss Richards first claim to fame is her grand-prize-winning performance on TV's “Star Search,” with a stirring rendition of “You Bring Me Joy.”

Shortly thereafter (1991), Nicki's debut CD album, “Naked (To the World)” (Atlantic 82230) came out, as did two hit singles: “Naked” and “Summer Breeze,” both of which are on the CD.

Also on “Naked (To the World)” is “Voyage to Atlantis,” the track you seek.

As for the Isley Brothers' original of “Voyage to Atlantis,” it will never be regarded as one of their classics. It may surprise you to learn that this 1977 single ranks as the group's least successful R&B hit of their first 19 years (1962-1981) on the charts.

For the record, “Voyage to Atlantis” never made the pop charts — by the Isley Brothers or anyone else.

DEAR JERRY: I have a tape recording of a ballad from the late '50s or early '60s, which I believe is titled “In Times Like These.”

I can't for the life of me identify the artist, though he sounds like Gene McDaniels. Could it be him?
—Jim Bettonville, Las Vegas, Nev.

DEAR JIM: It could be and it probably is Gene McDaniels.

Liberty orginally released Gene's version of the tune in 1960, as his first single (55231), backed with “Once Before.” It did not chart.

Though a very unusual tactic at the time, for an artist with no hits to his credit, they also issued an LP of the same title: “In Times Like These” (LRP-3146/LST-7136).

Early in 1961, “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” sold a million and kicked off a two-year string of hits for McDaniels, including two follow-up Top 10 tunes: “Tower of Strength” and “Chip Chip.”

The label decided to give “In Times Like These” another chance, in 1964, this time backed with “Make Me a Present of You” (Liberty 55724). Again, the disc failed to chart.

IZ ZAT SO? In the late '90s, along with doing background vocals for Mariah Carey, Nicki Richards dabbled a bit in acting. She had a part in an otherwise insignificant 1999 film titled “Colorz of Rage.”

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