|Here Chick! Chick! (Jun 2005)|
Q: LARRY GROFF (North Scituate, RI): I am now 66 and moved to Rhode Island from Brooklyn in 1954. A song keeps buzzing in my mind -- "I'm just a Rhode Island redhead from Pawtucket, here chick, chick, chick," etc. -- and I have this picture in my mind of you singing it on a show where composers submitted songs to be judged by a panel, long before American Idol. I think the show was Jan Murray's "Songs for Sale" from what I have found searching the Internet. I think you sang it before 1954 but somehow I remembered it when I got to Rhode Island in 1954, but I am not sure of the date. Am I right about any of this? I always thought the song should have been a big hit when I heard it on the show.
A: TERESA: "Yes, 'Rhode Island Redhead' was first performed on the television show, 'Songs for Sale,' in the early 1950s. It was the prize-winning song for that particular week. I didn't sing it on the show but I did record it after it had won. I think the show had regulars who performed the various songs each week. It's a cute song and, because it wasn't a hit, I am always amazed when people -- such as you -- tell me they remember it. I'm pleased it brings back pleasant memories for you."
Additional notes: "Songs for Sale" was a showcase for efforts of aspiring amateur songwriters. Each week, three of them had their songs performed by professional singers and rated by a panel of judges. The winning song was guaranteed to be published and the runners-up might be as well if a publisher who was listening to the show happened to like them. Relatively unknown talent at the time such as Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett were regulars for a short period during the early stages of the show. Jan Murray was the host of the series in 1950 and 1951; Steve Allen hosted the following year, the year in which "Rhode Island Redhead" was presented. In a PBS documentary on the state of Rhode Island and its politics, "Rhode Island Redhead" as sung by Teresa was featured prominently on the soundtrack during one segment. The critic in Variety stated in his review: "The compassion of producer/director Joshua Seftel towards his subjects pervades. Vintage songs such as 'Rhode Island Redhead,' performed by Teresa Brewer, are sweet additions to Seftel's lively, insightful portrait."
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