Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Thirty years ago, while working in England, I was very moved by a song played on the radio there. Unfortunately, I never knew who recorded the tune, but I would love to know so that I could look for a 45 or LP of it.

In the way of helping you identify this song, all I can offer is that it's about “two little boys with two little toys.”

The song's story continues with the boys growing up and going off to war, which mirrored my own experience with a best friend of many years.

I would love to know something about this recording.
—Richard L. Rockstroh, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR RICHARD: This tune, written nearly one hundred years ago (1903), is one you must have heard a lot in late 1969 and early '70, since it remained No. 1 in the U.K. for six weeks.

“Two Little Boys” is by Rolf Harris, the Aussie star whose “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” spent much of the summer of 1963 at or near the top of the charts.

Despite being so popular with the British, the U.S. issue (MGM 14103) failed to crack the Top 100, though it did get played in a number of markets here.

DEAR JERRY: This is a follow-up to your recent discussion of Linda Laurie, and her hit recording of “Ambrose (Part 5).”

Linda did write and sing “Ambrose,” but she had a partner named Susan Yellin who helped her a lot. Together, Linda and Susan performed as the Not Sisters.

Another of Linda's compositions, one not mentioned in the column, is the theme song for the television program, “Land of the Lost.”

How do I know all of this? Because Susan Yellin is my cousin. I even took Linda Laurie on a date in 1958 to see the then-new film, “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”
—Bruce Miller, Spring Hill, Fla.

DEAR BRUCE: Thanks for sharing that piece of trivia. The Not Sisters is a great name for singing sisters who aren't.

And I'll bet no one else can claim to have taken Linda Laurie to see “The Incredible Shrinking Man.” I trust you didn't conclude your date with a walk in the subway.

DEAR JERRY: In the late '40s or early '50s, when it was my turn to clean the house, I would put on a record of “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate,” and dance my way through the house cleaning.

Now, many years later, I would like to clean to that beat again. Can you tell me the artist and any other information helpful in finding this recording?
—Mary Jeske, Nashotah, Wisc.

DEAR MARY: The version of “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” that helped keep your house clean is likely one of these three: Francis Faye (Capitol 2278), Korn Kobblers (MGM 10022), or Muggsy Spanier (RCA Victor 40-0139).

All are from the time period you reference.

DEAR JERRY: I have a bet with my brother and we both hope you can settle it. What was the Beatles last original album issued? I say “Let It Be,” and he says it's “Abbey Road.”

Also, release dates would be helpful.
—Rick Brown, Winter Haven, Fla.

DEAR RICK: Since the official release date of “Abbey Road” is October 1, 1969, and is May 18, 1970 for “Let It Be,” we can declare you the winner by about five months. (For the record, “Let It Be” was actually recorded before “Abbey Road,” but that's another story and does not seem to be what you're asking.)

IZ ZAT SO? Sometimes timing is everything. When first issued in 1960 (20th Century-Fox 207), “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” attracted no attention whatsoever. It's doubtful any radio station gave it even one spin.

Two years later the same novelty tune, re-recorded for a different label (Epic 9596), reached the Top 3.

Interestingly, a reworking of the flip of the 20th Century-Fox disc, “Nick Teen and Al K. Hall,” became Rolf's (Epic 9615) 1963 follow-up to “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.”

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