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 2011 #1

Ruby Wright - Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas (Fraternity Records F-787; 1957)

After a lengthy hiatus away from the Gunslinger, it seemed there'd be no better way to get back in the saddle than with a dose of Christmas spirit, and what can I say, I'm a sucker for tradition. I figured I'd start this year's seasonal series with a song that had eluded me for years, although it just turns out I hadn't been looking very hard. Like many others I had heard Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas a number of times via viewings of John Waters' 1974 juvenile delinquent rampage Female Trouble. The song is featured prominently when Divine's Dawn Davenport runs away from home, after ruining Christmas for her parents, who simply don't understand the importance of a stylish pair of cha-cha heels to a young woman on the verge of adulthood. This jaunty, jingley ditty is a bright counterpoint to the sight of Dawn's mother crushed by a fir tree only seconds before, and I figured the tune would show up eventually on a compilation of some sort. But even when Waters himself got around to crafting his own Christmas album, the song was mysteriously absent. Time to go digging.

It turns out the song I'd been searching for was written by Cincinnati TV pioneer Ruth Lyons who hosted the live 50/50 Club daily chat show from 1949 until her retirement from the screen in 1967. Lyons and her program's musical cast recorded two Christmas albums, 1957's Ten Tunes of Christmas and 1963's It's Christmastime Again, which were both regional hits wherever her show was broadcast. The Ruby Wright vocal on the record is the one used by Waters in Female Trouble, but the song and its B-side, Let's Light the Christmas Tree were also covered by the lovely Lennon Sisters of The Lawrence Welk Show fame. I still prefer the original version though, the Lennons make it sound just a little too smooth. (I'd love to have a copy of their single Outer Space Santa, though.)


Michel said...

Lovely. It's great to see you posting here again!

swac said...

Thanks Michel, good to be back!

swac said...

And if you want your own copy of Outer Space Santa, here's a quality mp3 of it from

pcoristi said...

Outer Space Santa is out of this world! (Sorry, but it had to be said).

mister muleboy said...

So glad to see you back.

but where were you running to?

There's no place to go.

So put on yer makeup,

and get thee to the show

I can't listen to the track; a firewall with desires to limit . . sharing . . hinders me. But you make it interesting enough to get home and crank it up for some holiday cheer. Thanks.

swac said...

Thanks, MM!

I've reuploaded the track to a different site so you don't have to bother with Megaupload, just right click on the post title and you'll go straight to the song, to open or save.

Meanwhile, if anyone has any tips on including an embedded mp3 player, I'd be most grateful. A wizard of html I am not.

swac said...

Okay, I've sussed out the embedded mp3 player, and figured out how to make sure it doesn't come blaring out at you the second you open the page. Let me know if there are any problems!

If there is one, I imagine it could make loading the page will be slower than normal, and I'll stop using the player widget.

swac said...

I hate to belabour this thread with technical stuff, but does the song start automatically for everyone else? I find sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't, and when I start posting successive entries, this page is going to become awfully cacophonous if I can't figure out to make it play only when you hit the play button.

pcoristi said...

You should be able to select autoplay=off. It depends on the player you're using and the code.

I did notice that the title to this post goes straight to the music file instead of to the post itself (the permalink??). But I'm no expert...sorry!

swac said...

Yes, I purposefully did that with the title of the post, so the link below the image is to Megaupload, while the title is a hotlink to the file itself, now that I've got a new place to put things ( I think the problem I was having was that I tend to use the spacebar to make a page scroll downward, but that also makes the music player go from pause to play. When I opened the page in a new browser, the music didn't start automatically, so I hope that's now the case for everyone else. (Earlier today I did exactly what you suggested, and changed the autoplay from "true" to "false" and that seemed to do the trick.)

pcoristi said...


swac said...

Argh, while Fileden gives me a fair bit of room for storage, there's also a monthly bandwidth limit, which I am rapidly approaching. I've switched the links back to Megaupload for those who want to have a copy of the song. For those who just want to listen, I'm going to have to find another solution.

David Gorsline said...

It's been 45 years since I heard that song. And I was OK with that. Thanks for sharing.

swac said...

Always glad to provide those happy memories.

Except now I've run out of bandwidth. That didn't take long.