Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Many years ago I heard a song that uses the names of states in a cute way, such as:

“What did Tennessee? Is that what Arkansas? What did Delaware? Why did Wisconsin?,” etc. What can you tell me about this? Was there really such a song? If so, by whom? What are the other state names used in this tune?
—B. Moritz, West Bend, Wisc.

DEAR B.: A Top 30 hit in early 1960 by Perry Como, the title of this novelty is just “Delaware” (RCA Victor 47-7670).

If we jettison the unrelated lyrics, here are the silly state statements:

“What did Della wear (Delaware)? She wore a brand New Jersey. Why did Callie phone ya (California)? She called to say how are ya (Hawaii). What did Misses sip (Mississippi)? She sipped a mini soda (Minnesota). Where has Ore gone (Oregon)? If you want, I'll ask her (Alaska). She went to pay her taxes (Texas). Well, how did Wiscon sin (Wisconsin)? She stole a new brass key (Nebraska). Too bad that Arkan saw (Arkansas) boy and so did Tennessee. It made poor Flora die (Florida). You see she died in misery (Missouri).

I can't help but think of a few more they could have added:

What if our boss cans us (Kansas)? What does Ariz own-a (Arizona)? Who did that con Eddie cut (Connecticut)? What did Ida hoe (Idaho)? You say I owe what (Iowa)? Who did Mary land (Maryland)? Please take Okla home-a (Oklahoma). You talk (Utah) too much. There are many ways to use Maine, Finally, one for my home state, “Get the washing done! (Washington)”

DEAR JERRY: Maybe you can answer a question for me. I have a 78 rpm of “Swanee” on both sides, by Al Jolson. The record is in a paper sleeve, with instructions printed all over it telling the projectionist how to play the record along with the movie.

Is this item worth anything? Where might I sell it?
—Mike Kaufman, Branford, Conn.

DEAR MIKE: As you no doubt know, Al Jolson sold a lot of records which makes his material fairly easy to come by. Add to this the reality that old time pop 78s overall are in very low demand and you will understand when I tell you it may be hard to get much more than a few dollars for such artifacts. Most folks wind up donating their older 78s to a thrift shop, since the cost of advertising them often exceeds the prices obtained.

Having said that, we do have an Internet site, appropriately named Osborne Collectibles, where you can list items for a one time charge of two dollars for a twenty word ad. Then the entire online world can see what you have to offer. To get there quickly, click on the banner below:

IZ ZAT SO? Some may find it surprising that, when it comes to vocalists, only the great Bing Crosby outsold Perry Como in the 1940s and the first half (pre-rock) of the '50s.

Trailing behind “Mr. C” in that category are such legendary stars as Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Andrews Sisters, Vaughn Monroe, Dick Haymes, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Eddie Fisher, and Doris Day.

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