Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Back in the 1970s, I saw a Burt Reynolds movie titled “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.”

It also starred Connie Smith and Jerry Reed, among others. Not a particularly great movie, but it does have a great song that the band sings at the end of the movie.

In the film, they perform this tune on the Grand Ole Opry stage. I just love it, but can't find it — especially not knowing any of the important details.

Do you know the name of the song? Was it made available for purchase?
—Roger, McDonough, Ga.

DEAR ROGER: Thank you for pointing out that the song is at the end of the film. That saves me having to run the complete thing just to get where I need to be.

For the record, the actress starring as a member of the Dixie Dancekings is Conny Van Dyke, not Connie Smith.

Both Connie and Conny were very attractive blondes; however, Connie Smith had many hits to her credit. Conny Van Dyke did make a couple of albums, but had no charted hits.

Jerry Reed wrote the song you seek, which is titled “A Friend.” He and Conny Van Dyke sing it together in the film. Then, immediately after the Grand Ole Opry scene, “A Friend” is heard again as the closing credits scroll across the screen.

The movie came out in early 1975, as did a soundtrack album. The LP, “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings” (20th Century 103), does include “A Friend.”

DEAR JERRY: I have a video tape of “Roy Orbison and Friends — A Black and White Night,” and I would really like to know where and when this concert took place.

Didn't Roy die in 1988?
—Mike Milczarek, Milwaukee, Wis.

DEAR MIKE: Originally broadcast in 1987 as a Showtime cable TV special, the “Roy Orbison and Friends — A Black and White Night” concert was filmed at the now-demolished Coconut Grove, in Los Angeles.

Joining Roy on stage are T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Jennifer Warnes. The concert gets its name from Roy and friends being filmed in black and white — at night.

You're right. Roy passed away December 6, 1988, at the age of 52.

DEAR JERRY: I really hope you can help me find out the details of a mysterious song. I believe it came out in the late '50s. The solo singer is a female, and the prominent name mentioned in the lyrics is Lisa.

Lisa apparently wrote a love letter to a man, which was intercepted and read by his wife or girlfriend. The singer tells the story from his distressed mate's point of view. It is part singing and part narration.

Any help you can provide will be appreciated.
—Kathy Kelton, Oak Forest, Ill.

DEAR KATHY: That Lisa turned out to be quite a little troublemaker, didn't she? No wonder Jessi Colter, in 1975, was so quick to declare “I'm Not Lisa.”

This Top 50 soap opera hit from 1960 is appropriately titled “Lisa,” and the singer-narrator is Jeanne Black (Capitol 4396).

In the lyrics, Black claims to have burned the letter from Lisa, thus leaving the fellow in this triangle unable to prove mail tampering charges.

IZ ZAT SO? Most “answer songs” fail to chart, and the few that do usually languish near the bottom of the charts.

One remarkable exception is “He'll Have to Stay,” Jeanne Black's answer to “He'll Have to Go,” by Jim Reeves. “He'll Have to Go” got as high as No. 2 of the Pop charts, with “He'll Have to Stay” peaking at No. 4 — both in 1960 of course.

And how strange is it that the aforementioned “I'm Not Lisa” — another country song by a female singer — also made it to No. 4 on the pop charts.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page