Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF March 1, 1999

DEAR JERRY: Here is one of those goofy musical questions that just could not be answered by anyone else:

My favorite Elvis Presley tunes have always been when he sings the blues. Naturally, I bought his all-blues album, “Reconsider Baby.”

One of the tracks on it is the old Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup song, “So Glad You're Mine,” which Presley recorded in 1956. I know you are familiar with it.

Anyway, right in the middle of the first instrumental bridge, at exactly 1:09 into it, is a mysterious squeaking sound.

It only is heard for a split-second, but it clearly is not being made by any of the instruments in use (guitar, bass, piano, drums, etc.). It does sound a bit like a horn, except there are no horns used on this session, nor would any part for a horn appear for a half-second.

Knowing what a perfectionist Elvis was with his sessions, and that only the top people were used by RCA Victor, I find it odd that this blooper made it on the finished recording. Although, it is so brief they all may have missed it.

Do you have an opinion as to the nature or purpose of this momentary squeak?
—Gene McWilliams, Chelmsford, Mass.

DEAR GENE: Since first issued, on LP and EP in 1956, this little blip has been on “So Glad You're Mine.” Yet I didn't notice it until 1978, at which time I wrote a piece about it for the “Record Digest” magazine.

I did not know then what caused this noise, and I don't know now. I even asked Elvis' drummer, D.J. Fontana, about it and he had not noticed it, nor did he have a guess as to what it might be.

One opinion that is hard to rule out is that it could be the sound of the legs of a wooden chair scraping across a wood floor, or something similar.

Now that the topic is again raised, let's see if anyone reading this cares to venture a guess.

DEAR JERRY: Recently I happened to see an ice skating competition on television. A couple was performing their routine to an odd song, the title of which sounded like “I Put a Spell on You.” The singer sort of sang and growled the song out.

Can you possibly identify this song and tell me the singer's name?
—A Fan of Your Column in Milwaukee, Wisc.

DEAR FAN: Though I did not see the ice skating competition, from your description it seems you heard “I Put a Spell on You,” by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

Considering this recording neither sold well nor made any of the charts, it has been used in several films and, obviously, chosen for at least one skating routine. “I Put a Spell on You” (Okeh 7072) first came out in late 1956.

In 1968, Creedence Clearwater Revival revived “I Put a Spell on You” (Fantasy 617). Their version, which has John Fogerty doing the growling, floated around the bottom half of the Top 100 for a few weeks.

DEAR JERRY: It seems that among my group of friends, I am the only one who has ever heard a recording by Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson.

I don't know the title but I think it came out around 1986. Please prove me right.
—Rosemary Picani, St. Petersburg, Fla.

DEAR ROSEMARY: Tell the gang that you are right! Barbra Streisand and boyfriend Don Johnson had a Top 25 hit, in late 1988, with “Till I Loved You” (Columbia 08062).

IZ ZAT SO? In 1966, Columbia issued an album (OS-2920) featuring songwriter Harold Arlen singing songs that he had written. The credit on the LP reads “Harold Arlen and Friend.” The uncredited “Friend” is none other than Barbra Streisand.

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