DEAR JERRY: In the mid-to-late '60s, a song came out that is narrated by a little girl, titled “Little Becky's Christmas Wish.” It was popular during the Christmas season, and tells a Vietnam-era story of the little girl's wish for her big brother, Tommy, to make it home from Southeast Asia for Christmas. I once had the single, but it was lost in a house fire.
The name Becky so enamored me that I gave that name to my daughter when she was born in 1970.
Over the years I have searched diligently for this recording. I would love to give it to my daughter, and hear it again myself, but I can't find it anywhere. I can't even find a listing for it in any of the top record chart books I have searched through.
Years ago, I had a job that took me traveling to many major cities in the U.S. and I hit record shops wherever I could, but no one remembered the song. I've also tried many radio stations, but with no luck there either.
Can you help me? Do you remember it? Will I ever find it? If you can help me, it will be the best Christmas present ever.
Debra Ruth, Palm Harbor, Fla.
DEAR DEBRA: Yes, yes, and I think you will.
Having answered all of your questions, let me also say I wanted to include your letter in last week's official Christmas column; however, I couldn't squeeze it in. Now you have the honor of appearing in our last one of the Millennium. (Oh yes, this week marks the 13th anniversary of this feature, which began December 26, 1986.)
Exactly as you recall, the title is “Little Becky's Christmas Wish” (Warner Bros. 7154) and it received considerable air play during the 1967 holiday season. The artist is Becky Lamb, who at the time of this recording was just five years old.
When it came out, in 1966, I tried to learn something about the Greenwoods, and I wanted to get anything else they had recorded. Even the big record stores where I asked were unable to find out anything about this folk group. I decided they must be a pickup bunch of studio musicians.
“Silver Dagger” is really a great LP, and one of the few I kept when I sold off most of my record album collection.
Eileen Greco, Lakebay, Wash.
DEAR EILEEN: The “7” in the Decca selection number does matter, but not for the purpose of our discussion. Decca used a “7” to indicate a stereo counterpart to a monaural album.
Thus the base catalog number is Decca 4496, for mono, and 74496 for the stereophonic issue.
As you now know, the Greenwoods were indeed an actual folk band.
DEAR JERRY: My daughter's name is Patricia and I heard a song in the early '50s titled “Patricia.” I am not referring to the Perez Prado instrumental hit of the same title. This one is a vocal, but I have no clues as to the singer or anything else.
I hope you will give me an answer so I can try to find this tune.
Richard Paige, Guntersville, Ala.
DEAR RICHARD: Of course I can't be sure which recording of “Patricia” you once heard, but I will give you a list which may include your mystery track. Since you indicate it to be from the early '50s, I will list only singles from that period.
Let's begin with the only one of the bunch that charted, Perry Como's Top 10 hit from 1950 (RCA Victor 3905). Three other artists and labels covered “Patricia” that year: Dick Jurgens (Columbia 38965), Denny Vaughan (Coral 60316), and Lee Lawrence (London 821).
The odds favor it being Perry Como's waxing, since it is the only one that received much broadcast attention.
IZ ZAT SO? In 1964, when their first chart hit, “Frankie and Johnny,” came out the Greenwoods billed themselves as the Greenwood County Singers. They must have decided a one-word name would be more suitable than three, so they became just the Greenwoods.