Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Around the time “Sherry” and “He's a Rebel” were big hits, another tune I dearly loved got a few spins, then vanished forever.

I subscribe to a satellite oldies channel, which seems to have an enormous catalog of music, yet they have never played this number.

The title probably contains the name Aladdin, as he and his magic lamp are the topic.

The male singer has a marvelous voice, and the orchestration — especially the string section — is first rate.

Can you provide a clue or two about this obscure song and its singer?
—Jean Manderscheld, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR JEAN: “Aladdin” is the one-word title of this delightful hit, and the vocalist is Canadian-born Bobby Curtola.

Though “Aladdin” did chart briefly in the US, it and nearly three dozen other Bobby Curtola tunes made the Top 10 in Canada.

From 1960 through '67, teen idol Curtola sold millions of records and clearly enjoyed superstar status in his homeland.

You're right about time of release. “Aladdin” came out in October 1962, when both “Sherry” and “He's a Rebel” were in the Top 5.

Bobby's degree of success in Canada could not be duplicated south of their border, though he did have Top 50 hit in the states, “Fortuneteller” (Del-Fi 4177), in the summer of 1962.

You'll be pleased to know “Aladdin” and “Fortuneteller,” along with 31 other Curtola hits from the 1960s, are available on the import CD “Meet Bobby Curtola” (Marginal 035).

It is commonly reported that Marginal made just 500 copies of this disc, yet it routinely pops up for sale on eBay for about $20, which seems to be a bargain. However, I am told this is because the quality is not so great.

DEAR JERRY: You answer many obscure questions, so I hope mine one isn't too far out.

Living in England in the '70s, I was exposed to American folk music, from Simon & Garfunkel to Leo Kotkee.

I also heard a female singer whose name is, I believe, Jessie Whitron. She released an album there around 1974, that includes a song with the following refrain: “Oh Lord, please give them a day when they can wake up and see the sun shine on them.”

Contrary to what one might think from the lyrics, this is not a religious song. It is just a cheerful little ditty.
—Tony Pettipiece, Chicago.

DEAR TONY: You have provided enough clues to solve this musical mystery.

The singer is Jaki Whitren, not Jessie Whitron, and the LP is her 1973 UK release, “Raw and Tender” (Epic EPC-65645). Its 12 tracks are: “New Horizon; Oh Little Boy; Little Bit Extra; Country Life; To a Friend; But Which Way Do I Go; Give Her the Day; Ain't It Funny; I've Thought Hard About It; As That Evening Sun Goes Down; Human Failure;” and “Running All the Time.”

The title that best matches your description is “Give Her the Day,” which is also the track Epic released as a single in both the UK and USA. It did not chart on either side of the Atlantic.

Here is the next chapter in the effort to alphabetically document many of the 1950s and '60s record labels named after individuals behind the company.

The quantity of information requires we present this feature in segments. This week we have R and S:

Rae-Cox (Ted McRae Edward Wilcox); Ralph Johnson (Ralph Johnson); Ram (Buck Ram); Randy's (Randy Wood); Ransom (Howard Ransom); Ray's (Ray Robinson); Red Robin (Bobby Robinson); Richard Dyer-Bennet (Richard Dyer-Bennet); Robbins (Marty Robbins); Robin (Bobby Robinson); Roland (Joe Roland); Rork (Ernest & Ray Rork); Ross (Ray Ross); Roy Milton (Roy Milton).

Seva (Seva Foullan); Shad (Robert Shad); Shan-Todd (Tom Shannon & Phil Todaro); Shelby Singleton Sun (Shelby Singleton); Shur (John Suhr a.k.a. John Shur); Sims (Russell Sims); Spector (Phil Spector); Spiro (Alex Spiro); Sully (Gene Sullivan); Sulton (Mort Sulton).

IZ ZAT SO? Smack dab in the midst of the British Invasion, it is Ontario's Bobby Curtola who claimed Canada's 1965 Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.

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