DEAR JERRY: Forever, it seems, I have searched for an obscure LP that came out about 30 to 40 years ago.
What I remember most about it is that the lady singing deliberately sings every song off key (sharp, I think), and the accompanist intentionally plays piano riffs marked with one blunder after another. It is quite hilarious.
Since the anomalies are very understated, you'd almost have to be a musician to detect the satire.
Apart from the sketchy clues above, I can also tell you the LP title had something to do with Paris.
Ray Horst, Arlington, Ky.
DEAR RAY: No doubt about it, the LP in question is “Jonathan & Darlene Edwards in Paris” (Columbia CL-1513).
Not at all obscure at the time, this album won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Musical Comedy Performance. “Jonathan & Darlene Edwards in Paris” is actually the pair's second collection of wacky music. Their first, “The Piano Artistry of Jonathan & Darlene Edwards” (CL-1024), came out in 1957 and caused just as much of a stir, especially among fellow musicians who could truly appreciate the humor.
A third LP, “Sing Along with Jonathan & Darlene Edwards,” came out in 1961 (RCA Victor 2495).
Did you know that Darlene Edwards is really the famous pop star, Jo Stafford, and Jonathan is her real-life husband, Paul Weston?
Recently, I heard this song by Stonewall Jackson, but his rendition of this song is not the same as the one I remember from long ago.
The one I want sounded more like Bill Anderson, but in checking all of Bill Anderson's albums I have come up with nothing.
Hopefully, you can solve this one for me.
Dick Young, Syracuse, N.Y. (email@example.com)
DEAR DICK: Not that it would have helped when searching those Bill Anderson albums, but the exact title of your mystery tune is “Why I'm Walkin.” As you now no doubt know, Bill Anderson is not the singer you heard doing that song. I believe it to be George Hamilton IV, who, in 1960, did have a single release of “Why I'm Walkin'” (ABC-Paramount 10090).
George Hamilton's record, as well as the version by Stonewall Jackson, both came out in March of that year. Jackson's waxing (Columbia 41591) sold very well and wound up in the C&W Top 10. Hamilton's recording, aimed more at the Top 40 market, failed to make any of the charts. Still, it must have gotten some air play, since you recall hearing it at the time.
For George Hamilton IV, 1960 was his transition year. In the '50s, he rode the pop charts with teen-oriented tunes such as “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” and “Why Don't They Understand.”
Shortly after “Why I'm Walkin'” flopped, his follow-up, “Before This Day Ends,” sailed into the C&W Top 5 and kicked off 18 years of country music hits. Among those are “She's a Little Bit Country; Early Morning Rain; Steel Rail Blues; Break My Mind; Fort Worth, Dallas Or Houston;” and his signature song, “Abiline.”
Jackson is named after Civil War fighter, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, from whom he is a direct descendent.
During the war, Jackson acquired his famous nickname. Amidst the Battle of Bull Run, Brigadier-General Barnard E. Bee stated, “There is Jackson standing, like a stone wall.”