Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I follow your column faithfully, but here is an item I have never seen you discuss. Both “Quarter to Three,” by U.S. Bonds, and “The Bristol Stomp,” by the Dovells, both mention a swinging cat named Daddy G. Is he fictional? I hope not.

I imagine him to be a well-known east coast music personality, popular in the early days of rock and roll.
—Michael McGovern, Cedar Grove, Wisc.

DEAR MICHAEL: Daddy G is the nickname given to Gene Barge, a Norfolk-based tenor saxophone virtuoso. Though not a popular music personality, in the sense you mean, Gene “Daddy G” Barge is best known for being named in other people's songs — most notably “Quarter to Three.”

Now let's tie up all these loose ends:

The founder of Legrand Records, Frankie Guida, once owned a record shop (Frankie's Birdland) located on Church Street, in Norfolk.

An instrumental group called the Church Street Five — named after that thoroughfare — issued “A Night with Daddy G” (Legrand 1004) in February 1961. This single didn't crack the Hot 100, though it did receive regional air play and made several local charts.

Realizing this instrumental's potential, Guida had Gary Anderson — recording as U.S. Bonds — sing the vocal known as “Quarter to Three” over an instrumental track nearly identical to the Church Street Five's “A Night with Daddy G.”

Again, as on the Church Street Five recording, Gene Barge provides the tenor sax. Essentially, “Quarter to Three” (Legrand 1008) is “A Night with Daddy G” with lyrics. Issued in May 1961, “Quarter to Three” roared right to the No. 1 spot on all the sales charts.

You will note that in “Quarter to Three,” The Church Street Five is mentioned, along with the swingest song there could ever be, “A Night with Daddy G.”

About three months later, when the Dovells recorded “The Bristol Stomp,” Daddy G had become better known, perhaps, than anyone who managed to remain virtually unknown despite having their name mentioned repeatedly in song and on the radio.

Oh yes, for those unfamiliar with Bristol, this Pennsylvania city is a located bit northeast of Philadelphia, on the Delaware river. As you know, the kids there are sharp as a pistol (but hopefully not carrying one).

DEAR JERRY: Would you please settle an issue I have with my brother-in-law to be?

He says that Gary Lewis, of Gary Lewis and the Playboys, is related to the famous comedian, Jerry Lewis. He says he is Jerry's stepson. I disagree, and we'd like you to tell us who's right?
—Albert Perrino, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR ALBERT: Neither of you are one hundred percent accurate, but your soon to be brother-in-law is nearly correct.

Gary Lewis (born Cary Levitch), is the natural son — not a stepson — of Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch).

Gary is one of very few recording artists whose very first single release, “This Diamond Ring,” went to No. 1 nationally. His next two releases came as close to No. 1 as possible, without hitting it. Both “Count Me In” and “Save Your Heart for Me” peaked at No. 2.

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IZ ZAT SO? The first 11 hits by Gary Lewis and the Playboys were arranged by Leon Russell, one of his many recording session credits in the 1960s. Russell, in 1972, moved to the other side of the microphone and began a successful singing career of his own with the Top 15 hit, “Tight Rope.”

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