Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: In 1963 there was a song with the words “you comb her hair every morning, and put her to bed every night.” I would love to have and hear this song again, but I have no idea who the singer is. Please help me.
—Daniel A. Harris, Chicago, Ill

DEAR DANIEL: You may have heard either or both of two hit versions of “You Comb Her Hair.”

The original, a June 1963 issue by George Jones (United Artists 578), went Top 5 on the C&W charts.

Joey Powers recorded the tune for the pop market (Amy 903), but his fine version didn't chart at all even though it did receive regional airplay.

DEAR JERRY: I follow your column and I really get a kick out of it when you help with your readers problems concerning music. You must have a terrific research dept. assisting you. Kudos to them and you. Test them out on this one.

A male country singer, with a rich baritone voice, made a song about a truck driver driving a lonely, dangerous stretch of road, perhaps in New England.

I can't recall any of the words but the singer had the ability to drop an octave at will. It seems that he sounded a lot like Bob Luman.

I know this is not a lot of help, but it is the best this old brain can come up with. The only thing I am sure of is that it was made before the '60s and after the late '40s. Thanks for whatever you come up with.
—Old Timer (via the net)

DEAR OLD TIMER: You missed it with the time frame, but your mystery tune is “A Tombstone Every Mile, a Top 5 C&W hit in 1965 (Tower 124).

The singer is Dick Curless, and that treacherous stretch of highway (Hanesvllle Woods) he sings about is in Maine. Curless should know that road well, since he is a native of Fort Fairfield, Maine.

DEAR JERRY: My parents often sing a song about drinking rum and Coca-Cola, though they do not know the words and just make them up as they go.

I believe it was by the McGuire Sisters, but I can't find it anywhere.

They would be thrilled if I could present them with a CD that has the real recording.
—Sylvia Pfalz, Elm Grove, Wisc.
DEAR SYLVIA: Wrong sisters. “Rum and Coca-Cola,” a No. 1 hit in early 1945, is by the Andrews Sisters.

Look for “The Andrews Sisters: Capitol Collectors Series” (Capitol 94078)

What's it Worth? Get fast appraisals by e-mail!

DEAR JERRY: I enjoy your column very much. I was a professional musician for 20 years, playing dance music in bars and night clubs, but I have been an avid fan of American popular music for my entire life. I am currently writing my doctoral dissertation in history, dealing with the counterculture of the 1960s, an era in which pop music played an important role as a cultural transmitter. I also appreciate your answers to your readers' many queries.

That said, I must disagree with your recent answer regarding “Rod McKuen's marvelous composition” (“Seasons in the Sun”).

“Seasons in the Sun” is originally the product of the talented and profilic French songwriter Jacques Brel. All that McKuen contributed was a rather poor (in my opinion) translation of the original French lyrics. Let's give credit where credit is due.

The world-weary, resigned-to-fate, and somewhat fatalistic tone of the lyrics is a hallmark of many of Brel's compositions. Readers who are interested in Brel should check out the musical in which many of his wonderful compositions are performed in English, “Jacqes Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” (if my fading memory serves me correctly). Rod Mckuen is at best a third rate poet, and it rankles me to see him get credit for the work of a truly talented songwriter.

Thanks for your time. I really do enjoy your column, despite this one nit I'm picking!
—Gene Smith, Gig Harbor, Wa. (

DEAR JERRY: I am a real music lover, one who knows most of the songs from the '50s through the '70s.

A song I remember hearing as I was growing up is “Cherry Berry Wine.” I would very much like to obtain a copy, so can you please give me the necessary information?
—Lansing Poole, Lake Wales, Fla.

DEAR LANSING: I suspect the “Cherry Berry Wine” you recall is the December 1960 issue by Charlie McCoy (Cadence 1390).

The search is always easier when you have all the details. Now you do.

IZ ZAT SO? Charlie McCoy is another of Nashville's top session musicians, whose name you may not immediately recognize, but whose artistry is heard on hundreds of hits by other people.

McCoy is perhaps the nation's top harmonica player. He is heard on tracks by Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, Boys from Indiana, Bob Dylan, Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie McDowell, Nashville Superpickers, Elvis Presley, and Ernest Tubb, just to name a few.

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