Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Not long ago, in the midst of a terrible cold, my nose was completely out of control. While constantly blowing it and going through one tissue after another, I kept singing this line from an old song: “Turn off the water works baby.”

Unfortunately, I haven't a clue which song has this line, though I do believe it is by a blues-type singer, and was a hit around 1960.

There may be no cure for the common cold, but I am hoping you can solve this mystery for me. I want to buy a copy and have it handy next winter when my next cold arrives.
—Darlene Stock, Bridgeport, Ala.

DEAR DARLENE: Ah yes, one of the all-time nasal classics. The recording with “turn off the water works baby” — which refers to the lady's tears, not mucus — is titled “Honey Hush.” The artist is the “Boss of the Blues,” Joe Turner.

Turner's 1960 hit (Atlantic 2044) of “Honey Hush” is actually a remake. His original hit (Atlantic 1001) came out in 1953, went to No. 1 on the R&B charts, and ranks as one of that year's five biggest hits.

There are several Joe Turner compilations and anthologies on compact disc that include “Honey Hush.”


DEAR JERRY: Around 1941, I discovered a Fats Waller tune on a juke box, the title of which is “The Rump Steak Serenade.”

I have since seen a supposedly complete discography of all Fats Waller recordings, including piano rolls, but there is not a mention anywhere of “The Rump Steak Serenade.”

Any chance you have some information about this recording?
—Ermin D. Narehood, Manchester, Pa.

DEAR ERMIN: Fats Waller recorded “The Rump Steak Serenade” in Hollywood on July 1, 1941, and it came out on record in early October that year. On the B-side is “Sad Sap Sucker Am I,” a number left over from a May 13 session in New York.

Though extolling an appreciation for essentially same the feminine asset “The Rump Steak Serenade” (“Nice and fat and juicy dandy”) predates Sir Mix-A-Lot's “Baby Got Back” by 50 years. Some things never change.

DEAR JERRY: Seemingly forever I have been trying to identify the trumpet solo recording, frequently played in the background during the film, “Rio Bravo.”

I believe you are the one to help me.
—Dane Nakashima, Chicago, Ill.

DEAR DANE: You came to the right place. The haunting Mexican instrumental heard throughout “Rio Bravo” is titled “De Guello.”

Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra — particularly his trumpeter — recorded “De Guello” for the film, and they also released it on a 45 rpm single in 1960 (Capitol 4448).

“De Guello” means “no quarter,” or (not literally) “take no prisoners.” Reportedly, General Santa Ana played it continuously for over 24 hours during the battle at the Alamo.

DEAR JERRY: I have some questions about the 1950s tune “Twenty Flight Rock.”

Who originally sang it and did it become a hit? If so, how high did it chart?

Also, did the Beatles ever record this song?
—J.W., Milford, Conn.

DEAR J.W.: Amazingly, “Twenty Flight Rock” is one of those rock and roll classics that never became a chart hit.

Eddie Cochran co-wrote and first issued “Twenty Flight Rock” (Liberty 55112) in 1957, his follow-up to “Drive In Show.”

Former Beatle Paul McCartney included “Twenty Flight Rock” on at least two of his albums: “Tripping the Live Fantastic” and his Russian issue, “Choba B CCCP.”

IZ ZAT SO? Prized by Golden Age Rock collectors, Eddie Cochran's “Twenty Flight Rock” can now sell for $200 to $300. Only his Crest single, “Skinny Jim” ($500 to $600) is more valuable.

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