Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of my favorite classic rock and roll groups is the Crests, featuring the wonderful lead vocals of Johnny Maestro. I was thrilled, last year, to find a nice collection of their best tunes on a CD.

Among their 45 rpm records I have is their first hit, Pretty Little Angel. What I would like to know is whether or not the copy I have is an original or, egad, a counterfeit. How can one tell? For what its worth, mine looks old.
—Ray Washburn, Anderson, Ind.

DEAR RAY: Easy. Just take a peek at the vinyl trail-off area. If the identification numbers are mechanically stamped — not hand-etched — into the plastic, you've got a 1958 original of a $100 to $200 record.

Your what looks old?

DEAR JERRY: Around 1950, a friend gave me a record of "Are You Lonesome Tonight." Along the way, I lost the record and don't recall any of the details about it, not even the name of the singer.

The only vocalists I have ever heard singing "Are You Lonesome Tonight" are Elvis Presley, of course, and Roger Whittaker. Elvis' came out years later and is very different than the one on the record I had, and Roger Whittaker wasn't recording back then.

Is there a chance you can identify the person whose recording I had so long ago?
—Helen Lowe, Dayton, Va.

DEAR HELEN: I have located five recordings of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" issued circa-1950, and the one you once owned may be among them: The Red Caps (Mercury 8174); Don Cornell (RCA Victor 3749); Blue Barron (MGM 10629); Al Jolson (Decca 27043); and Ken Griffin (Columbia 38827).

Do any of these names sound familiar?

If you think only men recorded "Are You Lonesome Tonight," here's a hot flash. The very first chart hit of this tune came out in 1927, by Miss Vaughn Deleath (Edison 52044). How many women do you know with Vaughn for a first name?

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page