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Ask "Mr. Music"
October 11, 2010
"Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
Let's continue our feature here at DigitalDreamDoor: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 25th year of syndication (1986-2011), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on.

Be sure to stop by Jerry's site www.jerryosborne.com for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.

songsMore Mr. Music Articles

Ask "Mr. Music"
"Jerry Osborne"
October 11, 2010 - "Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
DEAR JERRY:

In the 1950s and early '60s, Jo Ann Campbell was quite popular, especially in the northeast.

I recall both Alan Freed and Dick Clark being quite fond of Jo Ann, and they promoted her often on their shows, sometimes referring to her as the "Blonde Bombshell." As the nickname suggests, Jo Ann was gorgeous as well as talented.

With numerous traditional recordings to her credit ("Wait a Minute"; "Kookie Little Paradise"; "Motorcycle Michael"; etc.), it's odd that her biggest hit turned out to be a corny answer song: "I'm the Girl from Wolverton Mountain."

In an interview with a New York radio station, back when the record was out, Jo Ann said the song she answered "Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain" was based on a true story. Between then and now, however, I have never heard another word about such a story. Have you?

Didn't Campbell also have a part in one of those teenage movies?

- Len Cameron, Chicago


DEAR LEN:

Jo Ann has only one solo hit not on your list: "Mother, Please!," the follow-up to "I'm the Girl from Wolverton Mountain."

In 1964, she and her husband, Troy Seals (as Jo Ann & Troy) made the charts with "I Found a Love Oh What a Love."

Campbell appeared in two teen-themed films: "Go, Johnny, Go" (1959) and "Hey, Let's Twist" (1962).

The original "Wolverton Mountain" and "I'm the Girl from Wolverton Mountain," shown on some labels as "(I'm the Girl on) Wolverton Mountain," are both written by the team of Merle Kilgore and Claude King.

In the early '70s, I worked some shows with Merle Kilgore, then touring with the Duke of Paducah, and one of our backstage discussions touched on "Wolverton Mountain."

Kilgore confirmed what you heard Jo Ann Campbell say about 10 years earlier. The story is based on facts, even if the key one is intentionally misspelled.

Though the mountain's true name is Woolverton, Merle and Claude titled their tune "Wolverton Mountain," though we don't know why.

As for being historically accurate, much of the song is, with one certain exception - the wildlife alliance of bears and birds giving Clifton Clowers a heads-up whenever a stranger approaches.

For a closer look at the real Woolverton Mountain, here is a report from our famed Ozarks historian, John Lorenz:

"The most exciting part about this is that Woolverton Mountain is very close to where I live, only a couple of towns away. So we just had to see if this place was real and maybe find the grave of Clifton Clowers himself."

"I learned there really was a Clifton Clowers there, and he and his wife Esther had not one but two pretty young daughters to protect: Virginia and Burlene."

"Woolverton is a long, narrow mountain in the Ozarks. It starts just north of Center Ridge, where Arkansas State Highways 9 and 92 meet. The mountain stretches north six or seven miles, just past the tiny community of Austin."

"To get to Woolverton Mountain from Hwy 9, go to Austin, then travel west on Austin Road, an unpaved road that goes right to the top of Woolverton Mountain."

"About 1.5 miles up, on the left, is a blue sign reading "Woolverton Mtn Rd, Conway County." Just past that is a white building identified as a "Milk Barn." Next to the barn is an unmarked gravel road that, after about 300 feet, leads right to the Woolverton Mountain Cemetery."

"Stroll around and you'll soon spot the dual headstone and grave sites of Clifton, who nearly lived to 103 (October 30, 1891 - August 15, 1994), and Esther (August 4, 1897 - March 3, 1986)."

"Visitors will also notice many graves for folks named Woolverton, which is surely the name of the family who first settled there."




IZ ZAT SO?

Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain," a No. 1 C&W hit, went on to become the biggest Country crossover hit of 1962, as determined by their combined C&W and Pop success.

Using the same criteria, here are top crossovers for each of that decade's other nine years:
1960: "El Paso" (Marty Robbins)
1961: "Walk on By" (Leroy Van d**e)
1963: "Still" (Bill Anderson)
1964: "Dang Me" (Roger Miller)
1965: "King of the Road" (Roger Miller)
1966: "Almost Persuaded" (David Houston)
1967: "All the Time" (Jack Greene)
1968: "Harper Valley P.T.A." (Jeannie C. Riley)
1969: "A Boy Named Sue" (Johnny Cash)


MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
"Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
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"Beatles 14 tunes in the Top 100, & The last mono-only albums"
"Connie Francis early years, and Names of states in hit titles"
"Gene Pitney, and David Janssen"
"Payola scandals, and Chubby Checker dance hits"
"Why vinyl sounds richer, Elvis and Beatles on Cash Box, Big Bad John answer songs"
"Vinyl Record Day - 'Mad Men' song"
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind, two versions"
"RFD Songs" and "Your Hit Parade"
"Hit Songs as both Vocal and Instrumental"
"Robert David Hall of CSI, plus the Belmonts without Dion"
"Cal Stewart's Uncle Josh Songs, & Andrews Sisters"
"The Collector's Edition T.A.M.I. Show"
"The Girl from the Next Farm Over" & "Tangerine Dream"
"Paul & Paula's "Hey Paula"
"'50s Rockers Ages" - "Songwriters Hall of Fame"
"Lyrics or Music" and "Billy Squier"
"Connie Francis, Neil Diamond, and David Gates"
"The High Numbers and Grading Vinyl"
"Louie Louie"
"Willie Nelson duets"
"Don't Do It" by "Little Charlie and the Nightcats"
"Frank Sinatra Spectacular, with Johnny Carson"
"Sam & Dave Medley" and the knife in "Moody River"
"Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Same Old Fool"
"Tony Orlando or Bertell Dache?"
"Foreign language hit songs in the U.S."
"The Overlanders" and "All-male Top 10"
"Songs with a bullet" and the name "Browning"
"Yesterday and Today, Beatles - Song: Submarine Race"
"Elvis Presley songs based on classical pieces."
"Introducing the Beatles" album value
"Answer Songs"
"Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" & "I Belong to You" by Peggy Lee
"A Lovers Hymn" and Songs naming the 12 months
"This Old House," by Rosemary Clooney
"The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction"
"Deana Martin", "Buchanan and Goodman"
"A Hard Day's Night" - Beatles
"British Christmas tunes" and "Fingertips Part 1"
"Backward tape technology" and "Rock Era Christmas tunes"
"Red Velvet Slippers" and "A Christmas Gift for You"
"Jerry Lee Lewis" and "See See Rider"
"Bonanza Theme Song"
"Come Softly to Me" by the Fleetwoods

Mr. Music
Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.
Jerry's Question page: Ask your question here.

Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368
E-mail: jpo@olympus.net
Visit his Web site: www.jerryosborne.com.

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission






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