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"Where There's Someone Waiting (Just For Me)"
[Chet Lauck and Noris Goff (Lum and Abner) with Andy Devine at the piano]
One of the most difficult to find pieces of Lum and Abner memorabilia I've had the pleasure of locating is a piece of music written by Chet Lauck (Lum), Norris Goff (Abner), and Ekko Whelan. It was released both in sheet music form, and as a 78 rpm record.
sheet music for "Where There's Someone Waiting Just For Me" uses
the familiar promotional photograph of Lum and Abner as its cover. It is
approximately 9" x 12" in size with front and back covers duplicated
in a low quality suggesting the sacrifices being made on luxury items due
to wartime need. Although not credited on the outer cover, Larry Stanton
arranged the Piano accompaniment. The music was published in 1945 by Peer
International Corp., N.Y.
The interior contains a sample page for "There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder" by Jimmie Davis, Ekko Whelan, and Lee Blastic.
(Download midi file: SOMEONEWAITING.mid)
The 78 rpm record was issued on the Courtney label (107B SA 244 RE) with a shortened title, "Where There's Someone Waiting." The "A" side contains "Wheel of Fortune," written by Davis-Hammett. Both sides were recorded by Ezra and his Beverly Hillbillies. These songs were also issued on Rich Records. Disc Jockey's were often reluctant to play two songs from the same label in a row; publishing on two or more labels was an ingenious way to get more airplay. [See the Hill Billies discography at: http://www.hensteeth.com/e_discog/ginell.html. Note that on the Rich Records release, Hammett's first name, "Slim," is supplied. Davis may well be "Jimmie Davis."]
Download mp3 30 second sample clip: SOMEONEWAITING.mp3
From July 1942 until late 1944, the American Federation of Musicians, under the leadership of James Caesar Petrillo, was on strike. Virtually all instrumentalists in America were forbidden from entering a recording studio until record companies agreed to pay royalties for recordings played on the radio and jukeboxes. When RCA and and Columbia finally agreed to AFM terms, the infamous Petrillo Ban was effectively ended. Radio stations could use prerecorded music once more.
With the potential of earning revenue every time a recorded song was played on the air, it isn't an extraordinary leap of logic to guess that Lauck and Goff may have designed to capitalize on this fact by writing the next Lum and Abner theme song. Unfortunately, if sales of the sheet music and record were intended to promote their song to this end, it ultimately failed. After organist Sybil Chisholm Bock (composer of the theme song "Evalena" 1941-1945) left the Lum and Abner show in 1945, "Eleanor" was brought back once more for the theme song.
Purportedly there was a dispute concerning broadcast rights to "Eleanor" in early 1946. Whether Chet and Tuffy's song, "Where There's Someone Waiting," was even considered as a replacement is unknown. What we do know, however, is that the song, "Down On The Old Party Line," composed by organist Ralph Emerson and his wife, Elsie Mae, was chosen and used until the show left the air in 1954. As a substitute for "Eleanor," it proved to be an adjustment so subtle that the transition was barely noticed. Indeed, some of the Emerson's note progressions in ".... Party Line" are so similar to patterns heard in "Eleanor," that a listener might discern it to simply be a rearrangement.
If Lauck and Goff had intended to simulate the "feel"
of the earlier Lum and Abner theme songs, then they aptly accomplished
their mission. In terms of a gentle, melodic tune with lyrics suggesting
remembrances of home and a wistful desire to return to happy days and places,
it would have been a most suitable theme for the show.
When a songwriter had contracts with multiple publishers,
it was not uncommon to use an alias. For whatever reason, Ekko Whelan was
such an alias for Nat Vincent. In 1919 this songwriter cowrote the popular
tune, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," along with James Kendis
and James Brockman under the name "Jaan Kenbrovin." In the 1930's,
Nat Vincent and Fred Howard reworked Curley Fletcher's fifteen verse poem,
"The Strawberry Roan," into one of the most loved and recorded
cowboy songs. [http://www.cowboypoetry.com/favewp.htm#Roan]
The Vincent-Howard team is also notable for "When the Bloom is on
the Sage," and "Mellow Mountain Moon." Under the alias of
Ekko Whelan, Nat Vincent collaborated on such tunes as "Have I Been
Forgiven or Forgotten?" (with Spriggens and Deuce), and "There's
a New Moon Over My Shoulder" (with Jimmie Davis and Lee Blastic).
[Jimmie Davis may best be remembered as the Louisiana Governor who wrote
"You Are My Sunshine".]
This was not the only time the names of Lauck and Goff were linked with that of the Beverly Hillbillies. The AFRS produced a Melody Round-up transcription with Lum and Abner as host DJ's playing records by Ezra and his Beverly Hillbillies. J. Goldin's radiogoldinex.com site mentions a couple of shows in which the Beverly Hillbillies appeared. [See index #28124. Melody Round-Up. Program #195, and #28128. Melody Round-Up. Program #408]. They also appear on Melody Round-Up #374.
More information on the artists who recorded "Where
There's Someone Waiting" may be found in an excellent article by Ken
Griffis at http://www.hensteeth.com/e_discog/hillbill.html
where you can read how:
The group was first formed as part of a radio station's publicity stunt in the early 30's,
They inspired the Sons of the Pioneers,
They sued the TV producers of the "Beverly Hillbillies" show, and won!
It is also interesting to note that a couple of the Hillbillies, Ezra Paulette and Lem Giles, appeared in the cast of Riders of the Santa Fe (1944) as Ray Whitley's "Six-Bar Cowboys." In this film, Budd Buster plays the part of a town drunk named Otis who locks himself up in jail at night to sleep it off. Thus, in a roundabout fashion, Lum and Abner make yet another connection with the Andy Griffith show!
Those uppity Hill Billies are Mountain Williams now: The British Archive of Country Music has several Hillbillies (or Hill Billies... whichever you prefer) CDs as well as Ray Whitley with the Six-Bar Cowboys and many others listed in their catalogue. http://bacm.users.btopenworld.com/CD-cat.html
==Alan Johns 2005==