Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: My grandmother was born in 1879, near Lancaster. My mother, one of her six children, was born in 1903, and remembers Grandma singing a funny song to her when she was a young child.

In more recent years, we heard Natalie Cole say that her famous father, Nat King Cole, sang this same song to her when she was young.

Then my mother heard this same song being played at a nursing home, after which I searched through mom's record collection for it, without success.

Our family is Pennsylvania Dutch, but this song might be of Negro or Indian origin.

Regardless, our entire family would really like to get this song, or at least learn the details of it. Can you help?

Here is what we can remember of the lyrics:

Kee mo, ki mo, dare you wear
Mahee, ma hi, ma ho.
Mit a rum sittle bottle
And a sod buck polly waddle
Lynch cat, nit cat
Sing song kitty
Won't you carry me ho
—Lois M. Gibble, Manheim, Pa.

DEAR LOIS: About once a year I choose an eccentric question, for which I have no answer, to throw out for readers to tackle. Yours is the one for 2001.

Though the only turn-of-the-century I lived through is the same as for you, I do have reference materials on popular music beginning in the late 1800s. However, in checking all of the possible titles found in the seven lines you provide, nothing registers.

There are just no songs listed with a title like “Lynch Cat” or “Sod Buck.”

Still, I am confident one or more in our studio audience recalls the same song Grandma used to sing.

DEAR JERRY: My musical mysteries are about two 45 rpm records I owned in the '50s, that are long gone. And I can no longer recall the names of the artists.

One is “Ace in the Hole,” by “Red” somebody. The other is “Blanche.” They may have been flip sides of better known songs.
—M. Kull, Pinellas Park, Fla. (Lakeland)

DEAR M.: Two quick questions, two equally quick answers:

“Ace in the Hole” (1955) is by Somethin' Smith and the Redheads” (Epic 9106), which probably explains why “Red” stuck in your mind.

“Blanche” (1956) is a sweet rock-a-ballad by the Three Friends (Lido 500). Neither tune made the national charts, although “Blanche” did do quite well in some regional markets.

DEAR JERRY: I am trying to find the best way to care for record albums, and am hoping that you will advise me on how to clean the vinyl?
—Kathy via e-mail

DEAR KATHY: To clean vinyl or polystyrene records, I recommend a liquid soap used with cool or lukewarm water. Then dry them with a soft, lint-free cloth, or let them drip dry. Never use commercial household cleaners or solvents.

One word of caution: do not use water on non-vinyl 78 rpms, most of which are shellac and will be damaged by water. Wipe 78s clean with a cloth, lightly dampened by a shot of water from a spray bottle. You do not indicate you have 78s, but I mention this for those readers who do.

When in doubt, clean only the side of the disc containing the song you like least. Then, if need be, you can abort the mission.

Those with large collections to clean may even want to invest in a record cleaning machine, and there are some good ones available.

IZ ZAT SO? Most people first heard Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole 10 years ago, with the release of the studio-created duet of “Unforgettable.” But this is not Natalie's first duet.

On the 1957 release, “Good Will” (Capitol 3246), Natalie is joined on the session by Beth Norman, who supplies a narration.

And though the picture sleeve for this single credits Natalie and Beth, the photo is of 7-year-old Natalie and Nat — not Norman. Someone involved with the project must have had a degree in marketing.

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