Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of your recent columns has a question about the Kingston Trio's Christmas Album, “Last Month of the Year.”

While true this was once available on CD, it is now out of print, as per Folk Era Records. So, how do we find an out-of-print album, other than cruising every record shop and web site around?
—Grundy, Tacoma, Wash

DEAR GRUNDY: Unfortunately, there is no single solution or source - gold is where you find it.

Having internet access as you do is a bonus. There are thousands of sites offering tens of thousands of selections, eBay among them. Not every out-of-print release can be found right away, but most can eventually be had.

DEAR JERRY: From a crude blues-type duet I heard many decades ago, I can still recall humorous references the man says to the woman: “You don't smell right … you smell like a skunk … you must of stayed in a garage or slept out in the potato patch.”

Meanwhile, the lady maintains some degree of innocence by admitting nothing. She keeps coming back with lines like “search me, I don't know … I don't know where I stayed.”

I seriously doubt this would have been played on the radio, what with the racy double-entendres and street talk involved. I don't even remember where I first heard it, maybe at a party.

From following your musical sleuthing escapades over the years, I have faith you can identify this uncelebrated recording.
—Duane Papallo, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR DUANE: Faith well-placed my friend.

Your mystery song is “Where Did You Stay Last Night,” a 1930 release by Georgia Tom (nee Thomas A. Dorsey). Tom is joined on this ribald number by Jane Lucas. Records of this type were not intended to contend for chart-hit standing. The most likely place to hear them would have been on a juke box, one more apt to be in some little joint in Harlem or on Beale Street than at the Waldorf.

Other similarly entertaining tracks by Georgia Tom and Jane Lucas that come to mind include: “Terrible Operation Blues” (“Gee doctor but I feels better. I feel like I wanna do a little mess-around”); “Selling That Stuff” (“Aunt Jane stayed out all night long, she didn't go home till the break of dawn. She was selling that stuff”); “Beedle-Um-Bum” (“It'll make a dumb man speak and a lame man run, you sure miss something if you ain't had none … my beedle-um-bum”); “What's That I Smell” (it's not a cherry pie) and “Fix It” (anything can happen when the fix it man shows up).

On original 78 rpms (1928-'30) most of these sell for $200 to $400. I know of no CDs yet with the essential Georgia Tom tracks. If and when any are made they most assuredly will be made in Europe.

You folks continue to surprise me. I would have bet against ever getting an inquiry about this tune, or, for that matter, any recordings by Georgia Tom.

DEAR READERS: Shortly after this column appeared, the following update arrived from Dick Safirstein:
The Georgia Tom numbers you mentioned are available now on discs. As you suggested when you said if they were ever made they'd be made in Europe ... they are. It's “Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1, Sept., '28 to 5 Feb., '30,” (BDCD-6021) and “Complete Recorded Works Vol 2, 5 Feb. '30 to 22 March, '34” (BDCD-6022).

IZ ZAT SO? His bawdy duets notwithstanding, Georgia (born in Villa Rica, Ga., 1899) Tom is the son of a Baptist minister who, as a boy, sang in the church choir. He is generally credited as the person who coined the term “Gospel Music.”

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