Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: My cousin in England is looking for a record so he can learn the words to “Throw a Silver Dollar.”

They have been trying to sing it at their local pub, The Prince Consort in Netley Abbey, Hampshire England.

We believe it was a record from early in the 1950s, and would appreciate any help on identifying the recording of this song.
—Susan Hegner, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR SUSAN: I can hear the merriment at The Prince Consort now. “Silver Dollar” (the full title) is a summer 1955, Top 20 hit for Teresa Brewer (Coral 61394).

You will find this pub-worthy track on “Music! Music! Music! The Best of Teresa Brewer,” an 18-track CD collection (Varese Sarabande VSD-5616) that is easily available.

Interestingly, “Silver Dollar” did not chart in the U.K., as many of Brewer's other hits did.

DEAR JERRY: I was recently involved in a discussion about a group named Coven. As the conversation continued, it became apparent (to me, anyway) that not everyone was talking about the same artists.

I remember a group known simply as Coven, who had the hit single “One Tin Soldier,” from the original Billy Jack movie.

Others spoke of a band named the Coven, and one participant seemed adamant that these bands are one and the same.

All the resources available to me have yielded nothing more than a list of singles and albums. So, like so many before me, I turn to you for the definitive answer.
—Dave Slagenweit, Kansas City, Mo.

DEAR DAVE: The adamant participant knew best. Coven, with or without the article “The,” is essentially the same band.

As with nearly all groups, Coven endured an occasional shift in personnel. Still, their lead vocalist, Jinx Dawson, remained.

The single “One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)” is the only hit for Coven, although it managed to chart three different times — a most extraordinary feat.

The first release came out in 1971, along with the film. Then, “One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)”made the Top 30. A newly recorded version in mid-1973 also charted, as it a late-'73 reissue of the '71 original. Coven had no other chart hits, whether singles or albums.

DEAR JERRY: After reading your column for many years, I note that that the values you provide are for records in near-mint condition.

Realistically, though, most used records show signs of weat and tear, and are below near-mint? So approximately how much does one deduct for flaws and blemishes?
—Douglas, McCain, Tinley Park, Ill.

DEAR DOUGLAS: It is true that most records display some signs of wear. Though vinyl is designed for repeated playing, it is how they're played (condition of stylus, needle, etc.), cared for, stored and handled that causes depreciation.

A good rule of thumb is that a near-mint record can be valued at 10 times that of one that is is rough shape. The same standard applies to the covers of LP albums and extended plays (EPs) as well as for picture sleeves of singles.

Each of our record and memorabilia price guides has a chapter on grading, with explanations of the different levels of “condition” and commonly used grading terms. Click here to learn more!

IZ ZAT SO? Two years before Coven's remake of “One Tin Soldier,” the original version, also a Top 40 hit, came out by a Canadian group known as the Original Caste. The combination of being the first issue, and on a tiny label (T-A 186), the Original Caste's disc brings more than double ($10.00) the ones by Coven.

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