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 2012 #11


Eddie Cantor
The Only Thing I Want for Christmas (Is Just to Keep the Things That I've Got)
(Columbia 35325; 1939)


Eddie Cantor lost a bundle in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and proceeded to make jokes about it for the rest of his career, even writing a couple of books on the subject, Caught Short!: A Saga of Wailing Wall Street in 1929 and Yoo Hoo, Prosperity!: The Eddie Cantor Five-Year Plan a couple of years later.

This recording from 1939 plays up that aspect of his act a bit, while sending the message that you should be grateful for what you have (with a subtle nod to the troubles happening overseas in Europe, "but we still have peace over here. In this country we really have Christmas 365 days each year."). Two years later, things would become very different.

A few footnotes about this song, among its three co-writers, Vick Knight was Cantor's radio producer, lyricist Johnny Lange was probably best known for penning Mule Train and Clancy Lowered the Boom a decade later, plus another Christmas tune, Santa Claus Is Riding the Trail (and fathering actress Hope Lange). Instrumental backing is by Jerry Joyce and His Orchestra, featuring a drummer named Lindley Jones, known to his friends as Spike.

2 comments :

WillyC said...

Thank you Swac, I really liked this one. Great series!

swac said...

Thanks Willy, one of these days I have to get around to reposting the links for past years (which have all gone the way of the late, lamented MegaUpload).