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Ask "Mr. Music"
October 25, 2010
"Al Green & Johnny Nash"
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 25, 2010 - "Al Green & Johnny Nash"
DEAR JERRY:

Most people never heard of Al Green until the 1970s, and the hits "Let's Stay Together," "You Ought to Be with Me," and others. Yet I recall hearing Al on the radio in Houston, around 1965.

In researching Al's early years, I found mention of him being with either Hot Line, or Hot Wire, around then. That record could be what I heard.

Some credible sources even say Al Green recorded for the Fargo and Cherokee labels in the early '60s. Others indicate he was singing back then but made no records.

Al Green is a pretty common name, so how do I know who has the story right?

- Lindsay Hamlin, Hanover, Pa.


DEAR LINDSAY:

Fear not, I'm here for you in times like these.

Al Green, the most successful male R&B artist of the 1970s not named James Brown, did perform in public from the mid-1950s to the mid-'60s, just as you read.

For a few years, circa-1962-'63, Al teamed with high school pals Curtis Rodgers, Palmer James, and Gene Mason, singing as either the Creations or Al Greene and the Creations. Al didn't drop the last 'e' from the family name until 1969.

The Creations did, in 1967, wangle a one-record deal with Zodiac Records, resulting in the release of "Footsteps" backed with "A Dream" (Zodiac 1005).

Later that year, after the Zodiac disc fizzled, Curtis Rodgers and Palmer James started their own label, giving it a lengthy name originally intended for use as a publication: Hot Line Music Journal. Most everyone refers to it as just Hot Line.

Now, since I'd hate to leave you with your wires crossed, what about "Hot Wire"?

That coincidentally is a song Green recorded in 1967, while with Hot Line. "Hot Wire" remained unissued until late 1972, when it became a minor hit (Bell 45,305).

With the former Creations now billed as Al Greene & the Soul Mate's [sic], their first Hot Line single was a soulful Rodgers and James original, "Back Up Train" (Hot Line 15,000).

Issued in November '67, "Back Up Train" steamed right into the Rhythm & Blues Top 5. Unfortunately, Greene and the Hot Line team could not sustain the momentum.

In 1969, and now as Al Green, he teamed with Willie Mitchell and his Memphis-based Hi Records, an assemblage that ran off 10 consecutive years of hit records. Among those are six No. 1 and 15 Top 10 hits.

Those are the recordings Al made before his solo career skyrocketed in 1970s, now let's talk about a couple he didn't make.

First is "I Never Had a Chance," the same tune Dean Martin waxed in 1957, backed with "The Girl I Love" (Fargo 1004). This is by an Al Green.

However, this fellow, who sounds similar to Arthur Prysock, is not the same as Al Greene, just a 12-year-old in 1958 when this came out.

The other record by another Al Green is "Don't Touch Me" coupled with "Pearly Shells" (Cherokee 201,504), released in 1964.



DEAR JERRY:

I love your column in our local paper. Now, I'm hoping you can help me.

A song from the early to mid-'60s that I liked a lot is called "I'm Leaving," but I don't remember the artist and can't locate it without knowing his name.

It's an R&B tune that I once thought was by Johnny Nash, but, according to the internet, it is not him. Thanks for any help you can give.


- Mike Ehrmann, Milwaukee


DEAR MIKE:

You were right all along. There are numerous internet references to "I'm Leaving," which is indeed by Johnny Nash (Groove 0030).

Recorded in 1963 and released in '64, "I'm Leaving" is one of several Johnny's songs written by his wife at the time, Margaret Nash.

Margaret died in May 1982, in Los Angeles, from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.







IZ ZAT SO?

One of Johnny Nash's 1959 singles that didn't become a hit at all, "Take a Giant Step" (ABC-Paramount 10046), brought Nash a different kind of acclaim - an industry award of which he is very proud.

"Take a Giant Step," the main theme for the film of the same title, won the Silver Sail award at Switzerland's 1960 Locarno International Film Festival "for the humanity and intensity of his performance."

Nash, cast in the starring role, made his acting debut in "Take a Giant Step."


MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
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"Al Green & Johnny Nash"
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"Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
"Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On & Highway Man"
"Hawaiian musics Frank Ferera"
"Paul Revere and the Raiders instrumentals & Song from Hair"
"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"
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"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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