"Chart Beat" columnist Fred Bronson answers readers' questions about Lonnie Donegan, Kid Rock's "Picture," and Standfast.
SKIFFLE, NO PIFFLE.
Lonnie Donegan, the man who brought "Rock Island Line" (1956) and "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On the Bedpost Over Night" (1961) into the top-10, has passed on. [He was] one of the few British artists to hit on the Hot 100 before the British invasion.
I know most of the folks here in the U.S. are too young to understand the importance of Lonnie Donegan. [He was a] major influence on the Beatles and many of the British groups who changed music forever. Any comments?
Richard K. Rogers
It's understandable that most Americans would have a passing knowledge of Lonnie Donegan at best. He's thought of as a novelty act here, mostly for "Does Your Chewing Gum..." But in the U.K., where he had 30 chart entries (as opposed to three in the U.S. on the Hot 100), he was a legend, and strongly influential, as you point out.
This "king of skiffle" didn't just influence U.K. acts, however. Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA has cited several main influences on the music he created with Benny Andersson: the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, the Kingston Trio, and British skiffle artists like Lonnie Donegan.
DID YOU EVER HAVE TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND?
I haven't written you with a "Chart Beat"-related question in a while, but my friend Michael Jay brought an interesting credit to my attention -- it's one of the most bizarre listings in the magazine's history, and we thought we'd ask you about this.
The artist credit for the country song "Picture" is listed as Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer. Shouldn't Billboard know for a fact who the artist is?
I assume there are two duet versions with Kid Rock, but wouldn't Nielsen SoundScan have the ability to separate the versions, and wouldn't Billboard want to list both versions separately, with separate points for each version? If SoundScan didn't have the capability for this, then "A Moment Like This" might have been credited to "Kelly Clarkson OR Justin Guarini" as both versions were played on the radio the week of the "American Idol" finals and both tracks were even produced by the same producer, and essentially the same (but with different vocalists on top).
Also, do the promo CD singles sent out by the record label credit the song as by "Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer"? If not, then there may be a second odd record here. Wouldn't this mark the first time that Billboard credited the artist differently than what appears on the single or promo single?
We were wondering what oddball record-setting category you might consider this listing.
Gordon Pogoda (OR Michael Jay)
Dear Gordon or Michael,
It's true, no matter what the explanation, this is a first as far as anyone at Billboard can remember.
There are, indeed, two different versions of the "Picture" duet. It's a Kid Rock song no matter which way you look at it, so that's why these two versions are not listed separately, as a Justin Guarini version of "A Moment Like This" would have been had it charted.
The original version of "Picture" is a duet between Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. That version can be found on Kid Rock's "Cocky" album, and it's the version that many country radio stations started playing.
Then, Kid Rock performed the song at Farm Aid, with Allison Moorer singing the female half of the song. After that live performance, the Universal South label issued a promo single with Moorer's vocals replacing Crow's voice. Some stations started playing that version, and as airplay is combined, the listing on the chart indicates "Crow or Moorer." It's not that we can't make up our mind, and it's not that Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems can't tell the airplay apart (it's BDS that applies here, not SoundScan, as the country chart is an airplay-based, not sales-based tally). But it is an unusual situation.
STANDFAST BY ME
OK, you hooked me. The two cuts I can hear on Standfast's official Web site blow me away, especially "Carcrashes." So it's your responsibility to let me know how in hell do I a) buy a download or b) order the CD. I can't find it anywhere using a Google search. And the site won't let you write back to it. Anything you can tell me about the group? New releases, etc.?
Love your column, man. Got nostalgic when you wrote about getting a new Kate Bush album on day of release. Only thing better than that was a new ABBA album, after watching the first cut from whichever album top the European charts in the days when I could only guess what it sounded like.
Also is there a CD site where I could find late-to-mid '70s Euro-hits like Pussycat's "Mississippi," Demis Roussous, the Sherbs (remember "Howzat") or, my ultimate prize, a song called "Rock and Roll Star" by Champaign?
Thanks a ton. Love reading your column.
Carter C. Hooper
Glad to know my pick of the Standfast album as my No. 1 CD of 2001 has had some influence! I was hoping that choice would catch the attention of someone at Capitol in the U.S. so the album could be released here, but it hasn't happened yet.
Standfast is a duo. Just hours before heading to the airport for a trip to Finland and Sweden in January of this year, I received an E-mail from Patrick and Suzanne of Standfast thanking me for choosing their album as my favorite of 2001. I wrote back within minutes telling them they reached me just in time before leaving for Sweden, and they suggested drinks when I got to Stockholm. We spent about four hours together and I hope to see them again when I go back next May, so I can find out if they're working on a second album!
There are a number of international Web sites that sell CDs, and that's the best advice I can give. I do know of one CD store in Sweden that maintains a site, Skivhugget, and they have an English option. I checked the site after receiving your letter, and they do have the Standfast album available for sale.
For the other acts you're looking for, I would also try international Web sites like amazon.co.uk or sites maintained by HMV, Tower Records, or Virgin Megastores.