MATT FLINDERS
Picking Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
Australia 1969
#5 Sydney #1 Melbourne #5 Brisbane #5 Adelaide #1 Perth #20 NZ

Single on Astor label, produced by Ron Tudor. The B-side was Susan Walks Away, an original by Aussie songwriter Peter Best, also the B-side in the US (see below).

Matt Flinders: singer, bassist, band leader and TV entertainer, born in Egypt of French-Italian-British background, in Australia since 1951. Formerly known as Louis Bonett, his adopted name would sound familiar to most Australians through the name of the explorer and chartmaker Matthew Flinders (1774-1814).


Released in the USA on Jerden label, Seattle, #J914, 1969See Global Dog for an accurate Jerden discography. Other online Jerden discographies dating this record as 1967 are wrong. Australian Sheet music shows 1967, but this is the copyright date of the song.
References: 1. Jerden discography at Global Dog 2. Matt Flinders by Matt Flinders (site no longer online: archived page at Internet Archive) 3. Australian sheet music listing (various online dealers).

Further reading: Matt Flinders entry at Wikipedia.

Thanks to Terry Stacey, and to Tony through The Originals Problemsolving Forum.

CORNELIA
Picking Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
South Africa 1968
#1 South Africa #1 Zimbabwe

Full name Cornelia Muller, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1950.

This was the #2 best-selling song in South Africa for 1968 (see South Africa's Rock Lists).

Also released in 1968 in the USA on the RCA label.

JOHNNY CURTIS
Pickin' Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
UK 1968
Original version

Single on Major Minor, the British label owned by pirate station Radio Caroline, set up in 1966 by Caroline board member Phil Solomon. Major Minor records were heavily plugged on Radio Caroline, often to the annoyance of its disc jockeys.

Johnny Curtis (b. Bobby Kerr) was a singer-songwiter from Glasgow who had sung with Bob Miller And His Band. He also recorded with Scotttish soul star Maggie Bell as Frankie & Johnny: listen to their single I’ll Hold You (Patterson-Bell-Kerr) at YouTube. Johnny Curtis died in a traffic accident in 1969.

Listen: Johnny Curtis - Picking Up Pebbles.mp3


Pickin' Up Pebbles was produced by Nick Firth who was the general manager in London of Acuff-Rose, the Nashville music publisher that also owned the Nashville record label Hickory. The musical director was Lew Warburton, credited on many British records as composer, conductor or arranger.

Following the launch of Acuff-Rose's London office in 1965, the company went into independent record production, with Nick Firth himself producing some British recordings of Acuff-Rose songs. These resulted in single releases by Mia Lewis and Jeff And Jon on Parlophone, The Cuppa T on Deram, The Art Movement on Decca, and Vincent Zarra on Columbia.

Apart from Picking Up Pebbles, Firth produced two earlier Johnny Curtis singles that were released on Parlophone: Our Love's Disintegrating/(I'd Be) A Legend In My Own Time (1966), and Jack In The Beanstalk/Go On Back (1967).

Acuff-Rose's Nashville label Hickory also released Curtis's Go On Back, a version of a Dan Fogel song first released on Hickory in 1966.

Nick Firth is the grandson of Louis Dreyfus, co-founder of Chappell & Co, Acuff-Rose's affiliate in the UK. He later became a prominent music publishing executive, notably as head of BMG Music Publishing Worldwide.

The song was copyrighted in 1967, according to the sheet music. In the US the copyright was registered in January 1969.

References:
1. Johnny Curtis's UK releases at 45Cat.com.

2. Singles produced by Nick Firth, listed at 45Cat.com. 
3. Billboard, 15 May 1965, "UK's Acuff-Rose Starts Rolling".
4. Billboard, 27 April 1968, Acuff-Rose's Nick Firth produced current singles by the Art Movement, Cuppa T and Johnny Curtis.
5. Profile of Nick Firth (2002) at SongwriterUniverse.
6. Nicholas Firth entry at Wikipedia.
7. Major Minor entry at Wilipedia.

8. Major Minor at IrishRock.org. (The label had an Irish owner and recorded a number of Irish artists, including The Dubliners.)

Thank you to Joop Jansen, Kees van der Hoeven, Brian Lee and snowiebowie.

Later versions:

PAT BOONE
Picking Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
USA 1970
Later version

Single on Capitol by popular clean-cut 50s teen idol who had his first #1 hit in 1955 with a crooning version of Fats Domino's Ain't That A Shame. He finished his chart run in 1962 with Speedy Gonzales (#6 USA), his 38th Billboard Top 40 appearance, a cover of the more raucous original from the year before by David Dante, one of the song's writers.

Further reading: 1. Label shot of German isue of the single at discogs.com. 2. Wikipedia's Pat Boone entry.

Image: Pat Boone from Australia's Chuckler's Weekly: see my blog.

MAX BYGRAVES
Picking Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
UK
Later version

c.1971

Single on Pye 7N.45105, B-side of Tonight I Started Loving You, by British entertainer and TV star (1922-2012), often on the UK charts from the early 50s, lived in Australia from 2008. Also released in Australia by Astor.

Further reading: 1. Max Bygraves entry at Wikipedia. 2. MaxBygraves.com.

VAL ROSS
Pickin' Up Pebbles
(Johnny Curtis)
UK 2013
Later version

Recent revival by a close friend of Johnny Curtis, released as a YouTube presentation.

Further reading: 1. At YouTube: Val Ross - Picking Up Pebbles with commentary about Johnny Curtis. 2. Val Ross's website which has further information.

Thanks to Jacqui.

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.