Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Regarding your piece on Flying Giraffe's "Bring Back Howdy Doody," here is some little-known background info:

In 1968, when I was on staff at Super K (Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz) Productions, Gary Willet and I wrote that song and then made a demonstration disc of it, not intended for release but only as a joke.

Later that year, Kasenetz and Katz dug up our silly demo. They changed the title from "Bring Back Howdy Doody" to "Pow Wow," and then put it on the B-side of "Indian Giver," an eventual Top 5 hit for the 1910 Fruitgum Company (Buddah 91).

But in hopes that the dee jays would focus only on "Indian Giver," K&K reversed the entire "Howdy Doody" track, meaning when played the usual way on an ordinary turntable — from the outside in — everything is heard backwards.

Unexpectedly, the nonconforming novelty of it made dee jays curious about "Pow Wow," and since radio stations had the necessary hardware to restore it to normal play that's what they did.

Once they played it properly listeners started requesting it.

Seeing that, Kasenetz & Katz ran back into the studio and rerecorded the song using another one of their K&K groups: Lt. Garcia's Magic Music Box.

Specifically for release of "Bring Back Howdy Doody," they changed the artist credit to Flying Giraffe.
—Steve Dworkin, via messaging

DEAR STEVE: Thank you so much for sharing the fascinating story behind both "Bring Back Howdy Doody" and the mysterious Flying Giraffe.

Wonder how they came up with that moniker?

Hopefully, being a co-writer of one side ("Pow Wow") of a million-selling single ("Indian Giver") resulted in a nice payday for you and Gary, thanks to what was once just a joke.

DEAR JERRY: I may have jumbled the names, but am I correct that Little Miss Sharecropper and Little Miss Cornshucks are the same singer?
—Elliot Whitfield, Jackson, Miss.

DEAR ELLIOT: Nope. They are two different people, each of whom recorded as a "Little Miss."

First came Little Miss Cornshucks (née Mildred Cummings) (May 26, 1923 - November 11, 1999).

Among her most memorable songs are "So Long" (1946) and "Waiting in Vain" (1952).

Little Miss Sharecropper (November 11, 1929 - March 10, 1997) was a stage name used briefly by Lavern Baker.

In 1949, she was billed this way on RCA Victor records: "Eddie Sugarman Penigar & His Band - Vocal by Little Miss Sharecropper."

The two tracks she and Penigar collaborated on are "I Wonder Baby" and "Easy Baby."

As Lavern Baker from 1955 to 1966, this soulful songstress landed 30 different records on the charts.

Among those are three R&B and R&R classics: "Tweedlee Dee" (1955); "Jim Dandy" (1956); and "I Cried a Tear" (1958).

DEAR JERRY: Your quest to document records that reached No. 1 regionally, but never made the national Top 100, got me searching through my old surveys.

I did find one atop the WLW hit list for Nov. 23, 1964. It is "Hey-Da-Da-Dow," by the Dolphins. I doubt many people remember this one-hit group.

Do they qualify for your list?
—Milt Johnson, Cincinnati

DEAR MILT: When translated, "Hey-Da-Da-Dow" means "don't put me on your smash and crash list!"

Don't worry Dolphins, despite "Hey-Da-Da-Dow" only reaching No. 69 nationally, that's good enough to guarantee your safety.

Other than blockbuster hits found near the top of the charts, it is somewhat unusual for all three of the main charts in the mid-'60s to report a record as having an identical peak position. For "Hey-Da-Da-Dow" (Fraternity 937) it reached No. 69 on Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World.

If this sweet little tune's success was limited to just southern Ohio, it likely would not have appeared on the national charts, but it was also on regional Top 40 surveys in about a dozen other states.

That the Dolphins, featuring Carl Edmondson, did so well in Cincinnati is not surprising. Both the group and the Fraternity label were based there.

Also, WLW was not the only Queen City Top 40 station with "Hey-Da-Da-Dow" at No. 1. Their main rival, WSAI, was in complete agreement.

IZ ZAT SO? As far as adding to our Smash/Crash list, the Dolphins are spared, but the Jerms are ceremoniously welcomed.

On August 8, 1965, "Good Feelin' Yea," by the Jerms, was No. 1 on KEWI 1440-AM, Topeka, Kan.

Four years later, the Jerms just barely had a Top 100 success with their revival of "Green Door," the Jim Lowe hit in 1956. It peaked at No. 97 on Record World, but couldn't crack anyone else's Top 100.

FYI: We frequently add new discoveries to our "Regional Smash - National Crash" list.
Click here to see the current version.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page