DEAR JERRY: When I read your recent column about the Buchanan Brothers (Lester and Chester), I was both thrilled and shocked. I never thought I'd see them mentioned in print anywhere.
You see, the Buchanan Brothers are cousins of mine. My grandmother married Will Buchanan, whose brother was the father of Lester and Chester.
When I was about 10, in the early '40s, the brothers came to a family reunion in Tennessee. While I our company, they sang a song titled “Long White Robe.”
I have often wondered if they ever made a recording of this tune, and I'm hoping you can tell me.
Mary Agnes Papaioannou, New Port Richey, Fla.
DEAR MARY AGNES: Shocks that thrill are my specialty!
Those singing cousins of yours did indeed record “Long White Robe,” as an RCA Victor 78 rpm (20-1953).
I'm not sure of the exact year of the family reunion in question, but the record came out in August of 1946. It is, in fact, their follow-up single to their only charted hit, “Atomic Power.”
If, as you recall, they sang it for you in the early '40s, it would appear you witnessed a preview of coming attractions.
There's more to this story, just read on: DEAR JERRY: I am Lester Buchanan's daughter. We read your columns about the Buchanan Brothers. It is nice to know people are asking about their recordings made back in the '40s, especially “Atomic Power.”
My father is now living in Tampa. Uncle Chester passed away about 10 years ago.
Sherry Stockman Buchanan, Tampa, Fla.
DEAR SHERRY: Thank you for writing. I think the time has come to plan a big family reunion.
DEAR JERRY: I am very interested in the song “A Satisfied Mind,” but I don't who wrote it and I have no idea who all recorded it.
Can you tell me more about this song?
Katherine Coursey, Benton, Ky.
DEAR KATHERINE: In 1955, J.H. Hays and Jack Rhodes teamed to write “A Satisfied Mind,” certainly one of the best “money isn't everything” compositions.
That year, Porter Wagoner recorded the tune for RCA Victor (47-6105) and it zoomed right to No. 1. It turned out to be Porter's biggest hit ever, remaining on the C&W charts for over eight months.
In 1966, the song became popular again, this time for Bobby Hebb (Phillips 40400), his follow up to the million-selling hit “Sunny.” It is his version that is my personal favorite.
Though not hit singles, several other artists recorded “A Satisfied Mind.” Among them are: Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Ray Price, Byrds, David Allan Coe, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Bob Luman, Lindsey Buckingham, John McCutcheon, and Bryan Bowers.
DEAR JERRY: A male group recorded a song in the mid-'50s titled “Twinkle Toes.”
It may well have been a flip side of some better known release but, for the life of me, I have no clue as to what it might have been if that were the case. The group may have been the Four Preps, Four Freshmen, Four Lads, or other similar sounding group.
I owned the 45 when I was a kid so I know it existed. But try as I might, I cannot find any reference to it anywhere.
Bill Beissert, Carpentersville, Ill.
DEAR BILL: Except here you mean.
Fret no more, for “Twinkle Toes” (Mercury 70491) does indeed exist, though it is not by the Four anythings. The vocal group, a quintet, is the quite famous Crew-Cuts.
The holiday-themed 1954 single of “Twinkle Toes” is backed by “Dance Mr. Snowman.”
IZ ZAT SO? When the Toronto quartet known as the Canadaires showed up for a concert in Cleveland, in 1954, they were in for a surprise. Local dee jay and concert emcee, Bill Randall, took one look at the short haircuts the four boys had, and renamed them on the spot.
The Canadaires became the Crew-Cuts, who just a few months later, would have what is regarded as the first rock and roll song to hit No. 1: “Sh-Boom.”