Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: This question has stumped many a dee jay, including Larry Lujack at Seattle's KJR.

For awhile in the mid-'60s, KJR played a song based on the old "It's Howdy Doody Time" TV theme. I went to The Record Shop in West Seattle and bought a copy, which was later lost in a move over 30 years ago. Now I don't even remember the correct title or who recorded it.

All of my Internet searching has turned up nothing, so it may have been a local band not known outside western Washington.

Can you help me?
—Bill Malgren, Moscow, Idaho

DEAR BILL: It is a pleasure to assist a fellow northwesterner.

Most likely that 45 you dashed off to purchase is "Bring Back Howdy Doody" (Bell 801), from those famous bubblegum music maestros, Kasenetz & Katz and their Super K Productions.

The artist credit on the label is Flying Giraffe, but it wouldn't surprise anyone to discover they are some of the same singers as in the Ohio Express, Lemon Pipers, 1910 Fruitgum Company, or Kasenetz-Katz Super Circus.

To the credit of the Super K team, "Bring Back Howdy Doody," sung to the music of the original "Howdy Doody Time" theme, salutes all of the main characters, be they wooden or human.

In order mentioned, they are: Howdy Doody; Flub-a-Dub; Chief Thunderthud (Bill LeCornet); Princess Summer-Fall Winter-Spring (Judy Tyler); Dilly Dally; Phineas T. Bluster; Buffalo Bob (Bob Smith); and Clarabell the Clown (Lewis Anderson).

Fortunately, "Bring Back Howdy Doody" can be brought back to your collection for five to nine dollars. Several are available now on eBay in that price range.

DEAR JERRY: One of my uncles had a 45 rpm record that I really enjoyed when I was young. It was an instrumental titled "Thunder" that begins with the sound of actual thunder.

I don't remember the name of the band, but it was probably around 1958.

I once thought it might have been released by Old Town Records, out of New York City, and that it was a New York area regional hit, but not heard nationwide, but that may not be the case.

Any thoughts on my dilemma?
—Maurice J. Dalton, Manhasset, N.Y.

DEAR MAURICE: Two thoughts, but I quickly dismissed the first one.

The only "Thunder" I knew that was issued in 1958 is by Bob Taylor and the Counts (Yucca 102). But when I played it and heard nothing similar to the sound of thunder I knew it was time to move on.

What I did gain from listening to Taylor's "Thunder," and the flip side, "Taylor's Rock," is that they are two excellent instrumentals.

Thought number two was to slide into 1959, beginning with the January releases.

I guess you could say I was thunderstruck, because right there it was, the "Thunder" you seek, about as close to 1958 as it could be. In fact, "Thunder," and the flip side "Tarantula" (Sundown 114), were both recorded in '58.

Not only does it kick off with the sound of a thunderstorm and a god-like voice saying "thunder," but there is another brief storm sound at the end of the track.

Sandwiched between the stormy sound effects is a blazing guitar instrumental by a band appropriately named the Storms.

IZ ZAT SO? The "Thunder" Storms were also heard on several tracks by Jody Reynolds, of "Endless Sleep" fame, a Top 5 hit in 1958.

Fronting these Storms was the legendary "Surfin' Hootenanny" guitarist, Al Casey.

I suspect that both Jody Reynolds and Al Casey are leading the Storms on both "Thunder" and "Tarantula."

Supporting that suspicion is that both sides were co-written by Reynolds, and, more importantly, in mid-1961, the same two sides were released on the Indigo label (IND-127), but credited to Jody Reynolds and the Storms.

IZ ZAT SO? When Tom T. Hall wrote "Harper Valley P.T.A." he could never have imagined what a cultural phenomenon he'd created.

Not only did Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 recording top both the pop and country charts in the U.S. and Canada — the first time ever accomplished by a female — but that one little phonograph record inspired a feature film (1978) AND a TV series (1981). That too had never happened before.

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