The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The 12 Discs of Christmas 2010 #3


Lord Beginner - Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning (Decca 17424, 1939)

Here's a track that's nothing but fun, recorded by Calypso great Lord Beginner in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in 1939 before he emigrated to the U.S. and, eventually, the U.K. with Lord Kitchener in 1948, where he'd find his greatest fame with topical tunes like General Election, about Clement Attlee's 1950 win at the polls, and Victory Test Match, about the West Indies' 1950 triumph over England at Lord's Cricket Ground.

Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning has a bit of topicality about it as well, referring to Port-of-Spain street tough John John Cobo, but mostly it's a wild description of a holiday party with scores of dancing men and women, including Gwendolyn who was "was waggin' she dustbin" to the point where even Beginner had to bawl, "Gwen, you're edging me teeth/Rollin' that t'ing all over the street!"

You can find this track--recorded with John "Buddy" Williams and his Blue Rhythm Orchestra--and many others lifted from some prime shellac, on the Dust-to-Digital release Where Will You Be Christmas Day?

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