Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Eight years ago, I shared a house with a man who owned a terrific Byrds tribute disc, imported from the UK. The only band on it I can remember for sure is Icicle Works, doing “Chestnut Mare.”

I have no idea what the CD is called, and the tape I had has long since gone missing.

The only other clues I know are that the same label released a Kinks tribute at about the same time. That disc featured, among others, the Mock Turtles.

Can you tell me the correct titles of these tributes, and whether they are still in print?
—Mark Rigney, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR MARK: Both of these musical tribute CDs came out in 1988, and both from the same company, Communion Records, and feature various artists.

One is “Time Between: A Byrds Tribute” (Communion 037613-30112-5). It contains the following Byrds' tunes and the performing artists:

“Draft Morning” (The Chills); “Feel a Whole Lot Better” (Dinosaur Jr.); “Everybody's Been Burned” (Thin White Rope); “Here Without You” (Richard Thompson, Clive Gregson, and Christine Collister); “Mr. Spaceman” (Miracle Legion); “Thoughts and Words” (Primevals); “Triad-Chestnut Mare” (Icicle Works) “Wild Mountain Thyme” (Nigel and the Crosses, Robyn Hitchcock, and Peter Buck).

The other CD is “Shangri La: A Tribute to the Kinks” (Communion 037613-03082-7), and here are those tracks: “Shangri-La” (Mock Turtles); “Rosie” (Chesterfield Kings); “Village Green Preservation Society” (Turn to Flowers); “Who'll Be The Next in Line” (Thanes); “It's Too Late” (Fleshtones); “Days” (Cateran); “I'm Not Like Everybody Else” (Wolfhounds); “Suzannah's Still Alive” (Cardiacs); “This Strange Effect” (Thunderbyrds); “She's Got Everything” (Droogs); “You Shouldn't Be Sad” (Thanes); “I Need You” (Crocadile Shop); “Big Black Smoke” (Patch Up Boys); “Tired of Waiting for You” (Cateran); “Too Much on My Mind” (Fleshtones); “Live Life” (Chesterfield Kings); “Set Me Free” (Wolfhounds); “Lola” (Cud); “Big Sky” (Mock Turtles); “See My Friends” (Reegs).

Neither is still in print, but I located copies of both for sale from various online dealers. Prices for either are in the $25 range.

DEAR JERRY: I think it would be interesting to see a listing of all the '50s, '60s and '70s Christmas albums that reached No. 1. Can you provide such a list?
—Marla Thurman, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR MARLA: And I was having such a difficult time choosing a gift for you this year.

For that 30-year period, here they are: “Merry Christmas” (Bing Crosby, 1950); “Mario Lanza Sings Christmas Songs” (Mario Lanza, 1951); “Elvis' Christmas Album” (Elvis Presley, 1957); “Merry Christmas” (Bing Crosby, 1957); “Christmas Sing-A-Long with Mitch” (Mitch Miller and the Gang, 1958); Holiday Sing-A-Long with Mitch” (Mitch Miller and the Gang, 1961).

As you see, only Mitch Miller and the Gang reached the top with different Christmas releases. The Bing Crosby LP charted No. 1 in more than one year, but is still the same collection of tunes.

DEAR JERRY: I have an extremely eclectic taste in music. I like opera, ballet, classical, romantic, folk, and cowboy classics.

Lately I am intrigued by Bluegrass, but know zip about it.

Can you recommend a few all-time best instrumental CDs? No vocals, just instrumentals — stuff that makes my feet immediately start to beat time to the music. I would really appreciate it.
—Bob Tarlin, via e-mail

DEAR BOB: Your taste in music really does run the gamut, perhaps as much as mine.

Rather than recommend specific CDs, which may or may not be to your liking, let me recommend a site with an entire section devoted to Bluegrass CDs.

It is, where you will find lots of Bluegrass by all the top artists, as well as the opportunity to sample the tunes. You can even download complete tracks legally.

While searching on your behalf, I found that has nearly 1,700 Bluegrass CDs currently listed. Between these two, you should find plenty to get yourself beating time to the music.

IZ ZAT SO? The Country Music Association Awards began 35 years ago, but it would not be until this year that they chose a Bluegrass tune as Single of the Year.

“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” by a group of studio musicians named the Soggy Bottom Boys, is the CMA choice for best single of 2001.

“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” is the feature tune in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

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