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

12 Discs of Christmas 2011 #11


Paul Anka - Christmas in Japan (ABC-Paramount SP-401; 1960)

Sticking with a Canadian theme, Ottawa-born teen pop sensation Paul Anka didn't strike Christmas gold with his 1960 single It's Christmas Everywhere, although its B-side--a version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer--hooved its way to 104 on the chart. What is truly odd is this re-recorded version of the tune titled Christmas in Japan, presumably done for the pan-Pacific marketplace.

Sad to say, I wish I could get my mitts on a copy, it's hard to say how many were released to the public in North America, or if they even made it past the radio promo copy level. Presumably it was released in Japan itself (documentation at that link credits orchestration by Nuburo Hara & his Sharps and Flats with background vocals by Motomichi Ito & his Liliuo-Rhythm-Airs, which indicates Anka either recorded it in Japan, or sang to a Japanese-taped backing track). At any rate, Christmas in Japan is slightly more upbeat than It's Christmas Everywhere, maybe the original would have charted higher if it had been less lugubrious.

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