Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: When is a Blues song not a Blues song?

My answer is when it is by Little Jimmy Boyd.

But Jimmy did have a song in the '50s that I would like to locate, and I recall it having the word “blues” at the end of an exceptionally long title. It may even be one of the longest.

Much to my surprise, this song does not appear on the CD “The Best of Jimmy Boyd.” With 26 tracks you'd think it would be there.

I have been told you are the one to solve this, so please don't let me down.
—Rick Danville, Winchester, Tenn.

DEAR RICK: How could I? Especially after that build-up.

There are a million titles ending with the word “blues,” but I can't recall one longer than this 1953 release: “I've Got Those Wake-Up, Seven-Thirty, Wash Your Ears They're Dirty, Eat Your Eggs and Oatmeal, Rush to School Blues” (Columbia 40138).

Since this qualifies as a regional hit, it is surprising they didn't bump one of the less-worthy tracks and include this tune in the “Best Of” collection.

Unless of course they find the prospect of an egg and oatmeal breakfast as unappetizing as I do.

A few folks wrote to ask about the Hoagy Carmichael WW2 composition “A Cranky Old Yank,” sometimes listed with the longer title: “I'm a Cranky Old Yank, in My Clanky Old Tank, on the Streets of Yokohama, with My Honolulu Mama, Doin' Those Beat-o, Beat-o, Flat-on-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues.”

But did it get released back then?

We know Bing Crosby sang it in the mid'40s. His track appears on a CD of Crosby's V-Disk, but with the much shorter title: “A Cranky Old Yank.”

The tune is also on a Hoagy Carmichael album, but again as “A Cranky Old Yank.”

Certainly no one ever had a hit with this number — regardless of title length. In fact, if anyone even released it as a 78 rpm single in the '40s, it would be great to confirm it, as well as know its exact title.

DEAR JERRY: A fellow music lover and I were quizzing each other when he asked me to name as many Top 20 Beatles hits NOT written by one or more Beatles.

The only one I can come up with is “Twist and Shout.”
—Sandi Jefferson, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR SANDI: You are not the only one wondering about this. An e-mail from Michael Costanza asks pretty much the same question.

If the criteria were either No. 1 or Top 10 hits, your answer would have been complete.

By adding another 10 chart positions, we must now include “Ain't She Sweet,” written in 1927 by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager, and “Matchbox,” a Carl Perkins composition.

DEAR JERRY: Whatever happened to 1960s singing star, Trini Lopez?

Is Trini still alive? If so, is he active in the recording business?
—Walter Franko, Chicago

DEAR WALTER: Though over 40 years since his last hit album, Trini is still very active, performing on stage as well as in the studio.

In fact, you can expect Trini's 61st album soon, one he describes as being “an all American Rock and Roll collection.”

Also of interest to Lopez fans is the recent (April 21) Icon's of Music auction and charity event Benefiting Music Rising, conducted by Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles.

According to Julien's web site, U2 guitarist Bono donated his favorite guitar, a 1975 Gibson Trini Lopez model. Bono's Trini guitar raised about $288,000 for Music Rising.

You can keep up with Trini Lopez online at

IZ ZAT SO? Little Jimmy Boyd is one of a trio of solo artists to score a No. 1 Pop hit during their first year as a teenager.

And he's not the only one on this short list named “Little.”

By age they are:

1. Little Stevie Wonder (b: May 13, 1950), 13 years, two months, 28 days when “Fingertips, Part 2” reached No. 1 (August 10, 1963).

2. Donnie Osmond (b: December 9, 1957), 13 years, nine months, 2 days when “Go Away Little Girl” reached No. 1 (September 11, 1971).

3. Little Jimmy Boyd (b: January 9, 1939), 13 years, 11 months, 13 days when “I Saw Mommy Kissin' Santa Claus” reached No. 1 (December 27, 1952).

Though past 13, another “Little” deserves mention here — the youngest girl to top the charts.

Little Peggy March (b: March 8, 1948), 15 years, one month, 19 days when “I Will Follow Him” reached No. 1 (April 27, 1963).

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