Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I had never heard of Sly Stone until 1968 when "Dance to the Music" was a hit, but even that was actually credited to Sly and the Family Stone.

Yet someone on the Doo-Wop satellite channel played an authentic 1950s style group harmony tune, titled (I think) "Since You've Been Gone," then said it was by Sly Stone.

I figure if this really is him then it's a released or unreleased recording from long ago, or one made in the '70s or '80s by him with the Family Stone doing a throwback style.

Which is it, and are there others where this came from?
—Dale Williams, Savannah, Ga.

DEAR DALE: Your first assumption is the right one, and it really is Stone. It's just not credited that way.

Contributing to the lack of accurate information on Sylvester Stewart's early years is the many different names used pre-1967, and the arrival of Sly and the Family Stone.

Beginning in 1952, when Sylvester was just nine years old, we shall review his early recordings and their current values:

1952: The Stewart Four - "On the Battlefield" (Church of God in Christ G-101)
Extremely rare disc on the Church's own label, and probably not sold elsewhere. Issued on 78 rpm only. For this record, Sylvester is joined by siblings Freddie, Rose, and Vaetta Stewart ($750 to $1,000).
1959: The Stewart Brothers (Sylvester and Freddie Stewart) - "The Rat" (Ensign 4032) ($75 - $125)
1959: The Stewart Brothers (Sylvester and Freddie Stewart) - "Sleep on the Porch" (Keen 2113) ($75 - $125, includes black-and-white cartoon picture sleeve)
1960: Danny (Sly) Stewart - "A Long Time Alone" (Luke 1008) ($400 - $600)
1961: Danny Stewart - "Are You My Girlfriend " (Luke 1009) ($300 - $500)
1961: Sylvester Stewart - "Long Time Alone" (G&P 901) ($200 - $300)
1961: The Viscaynes and the Ramblers - "Stop What You Are Doing" (Trop 101) ($200 - $300)
1961: The Viscaynes - "Stop What You Are Doing" (Trop 101) ($100 - $150)
1961: The Biscaynes and the Continental Band - "Yellow Moon" (VPM 1006) ($40 - $50)
1961: The Viscaynes - "Yellow Moon" (VPM 1006) ($30 - $40)
1964: Sly Stewart - "I Just Learned How to Swim" (Autumn 3) ($10 - $20)
1965: Sly - "Buttermilk" (Autumn 14) ($30 - $40)
1965: The Viscaynes - "Pauline" (Veep 1221) ($15 - $25)
1965: Sly - "Temptation Walk" (Autumn 26) ($20 - $30)

"Since You Been Gone" (note slight title correction) is one of the R&B tracks on the 1977 LP, "Wanted: Vintage Sly" credited to Sly & the Viscaynes (Subbarao 14058) ($20 - $40). Listen to "Since You Been Gone" here!

DEAR JERRY: My question came about as I was playing some of my old 45 rpms. When I got to "Rock and Roll Lullaby," by B.J. Thomas, it suddenly struck me how much his guitarist sounds like Duane Eddy.

I suppose it could even be Thomas doing the twanging, but either way it duplicates Eddy's style.

I checked the label (Scepter SCE-12344), but the only credits shown are for B.J. Thomas, the song writers (Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil), the producers (Steve Tyrell - Al Gorgoni), and the strings arranger (Glen Spreen).

Since they say nothing about any session personnel, I hoping you will know the answer.
—Samantha Skinner, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR SAMANTHA: Your ears were definitely in tune with the twang.

Even though "Rock and Roll Lullaby" is a 1972 recording, and it had been nine years since Duane Eddy's last Top 40 hit ("Boss Guitar"), it is indeed the twang master himself you're hearing.

Other than some contractual concern, I can't imagine why Scepter wouldn't want it to be known that the No. 1 instrumentalist of vinyl's Golden Age was a featured guest on "Rock and Roll Lullaby."

IZ ZAT SO? Also on the "Rock and Roll Lullaby" session, and providing backing vocals, are the Blossoms and David Somerville, the original lead singer of the Diamonds.

Perhaps they just didn't have room on the label for all of the participants.

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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