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 #8


Charlie Rich - Santa Claus's Daughter (Mercury, unreleased; 1965)

Here's a genuine rarity from the Silver Fox, a Christmas tune recorded by Charlie Rich during his 18-month stint on Mercury subsidiary Smash Records, which was also home for a time to his fellow former Sun Records stablemate Jerry Lee Lewis. The track sat in the vaults for decades after Rich's 1965-66 run there, only surfacing when his Smash catalogue was reissued in the early '90s.

The song is short, just under two minutes, and definitely sweet, with a high-heel sneakers shuffle and a lot of charm from the Arkansas-born country-soul man as he puts his moves on the progeny of Mr. & Mrs. Claus. I found the track on the excellent 29-track Ace Records compilation Charlie Rich - It Ain't Gonna Be That Way: The Complete Smash Sessions, but if you don't feel like clicking on one of the download links above, you can hear it on YouTube.

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