Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF September 3, 2001

DEAR JERRY: Where on earth can I find “Three Thirty-Three,” an R&B oldie by the Drifters. It doesn't seem to show up on any of their albums, and I have been told I would like it a lot. It is one of the only Drifters titles I lack.
—Stanley Ferguson, Chicago, Ill.

DEAR STANLEY: You will be pleased to learn that “Three Thirty-Three” is included on the double CD set, “The Drifters' Greatest Hits 1953 - 1958” (Atlantic A2-81927). If you like the early works of Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, this 40-track collecton is a must.

Though recorded in 1954, “Three Thirty-Three” remained unissued until 1971, no doubt because a song about a house of prostitution — whose address is 333 (sorry, don't know the exact street) — would have been a bit too much for radio stations then.

DEAR JERRY: Like most every teenager in the early '60s, I bought a 45 rpm of Chubby Checker's “The Twist” on the Parkway label, though I'm not sure if it is a first pressing. How can I tell? I would also like to know its value.
—Warren Dark, Seattle, Wash.

DEAR WARREN: Since Parkway issued “The Twist” twice, the value of your disc depends on which you have. The 1960 release, on a white label and with “Toot” as the flip side, is $15 to $25.

If you waited a bit and bought the 1961 reissue of “The Twist,” with an orange label and “Twistin' U.S.A.” on the flip, expect $8 to $12.

For the sake of being comprehensive, there is also a colored vinyl promotional copy, made in 1961, that can bring $30 to $50.

DEAR JERRY: While in the armed forces in 1962, I heard a song about two sisters named Sarah and Sally. One was attractive and had many marriage opportunities. The other was rather plain, and “would be grateful for any” offers from the local gentlemen.

From these sketchy details, can you identify this tune?
—John R. St. Croix, St. Petersburg, Fla.

DEAR JOHN: Sure can. By the Kingston Trio, it is titled “Take Her Out of Pity,” and is fairly easy to track down. You can find it on two of the Trio's '60s albums (“Close Up” and “Best of the Kingston Trio”), as well on several of their compact discs.

Now go somewhere and have yourself a hootenanny!

DEAR JERRY: I get sure steamed by the mush brain employees that most music stores have nowadays.

Recently, when I asked about any CDs available from Guess Who, the kid on duty thought I was asking him to guess who I wanted. Since I know your reaction will not be the same, let me turn to you for help.

Specifically, I am looking for two songs: “Stand Tall” and “I'm Scared,” both featuring Burton Cummings. Can these tracks be found on any compact disc?
—Shannon Boone, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR SHANNON: Though Burton Cummings is the lead vocalist on nearly all of the Guess Who's hits, the two songs you seek will not likely be found on one of the band's CDs.

Those two became his first solo hits, one in 1976, the other in '77.

Fortunately, both can be found on “The Burton Cummings Collection” (Rhino R2-71717), a 20-track compact disc that is essential to any, dare I say, Burton Cummings collection.

IZ ZAT SO? “I'm Scared” didn't become a hit for Burton Cummings until 1977; however, Cummings wrote the song a few years earlier while still with the Guess Who. Inexplicably, the rest of the band rejected “I'm Scared.”

As Burton recalls: "I played it for the other guys one day at practice and they didn't think it was any good, a fact that still pisses me off some 25 years later. I think that one scenario may have been the single most important factor governing my decision to quit the group [in September 1975]."

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