(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
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather
Your host for this edition of Radio Free Gunslinger, entitled 'The Gunslinger New Year's Eve Garage Rock Party Record!!,' is Redd Foxx
The 006's - Like What, Me Worry?
The Purple Underground - Count Back
The Liberty Bell - That's How It Will Be
Up Stairs - Operator, Please
The Bold - Gotta Git Some
Patti's Groove - It Won't Last Long
Little Frankie - I'm Not Gonna Do It
The Belles - Come Back
The Chymes - He's Not There Anymore
Sunday & The Menn - You Cheated
The Carnabeats - Sutekina Sandy
The Swing West - Let's Dance
The Van-Dogs - Eh!... Voi!
The Napoleons - Hikki Hikki
The Mustangs - Gelpin Rock
The Esquires - Come On, Come On
The Outcasts - My Love
The Livin' End - Your Enemies
Sounds Unlimited - Keep Your Hands Off of It
The Beefeaters - Change Your Mind
MC5 - Looking at You
"But what reason is there for the existence of government? Why give up one's personal liberty and initiative to a few individuals? Why give them this power to take over willy nilly the collective strength to use as they wish? Are they so exceptionally gifted as to be able to demonstrate with some show of reason their ability to replace the mass of the people and to safeguard the interests, all the interests of everybody better than the interested parties themselves? Are they infallible and incorruptible to the point that one could, with some semblance of prudence, entrust the fate of each and all to their knowledge and to their goodness?
"And even if men of infinite goodness and knowledge existed, and even supposing, what has never been observed in history, that governmental power were to rest in the hands of the most able and kindest among us, would government office add anything to their beneficial potential? Or would it instead paralyze and destroy it by reason of the necessity men in government have of dealing with so many matters which they do not understand, and above all of wasting their energy keeping themselves in power, their friends happy, and holding in check the malcontents as well as subduing the rebels?"
-- Errico Malatesta
When a Child Is Born
by Herve Villechaize
from Children of the World: The Time Is Now (Cleveland International/Epic 84699; 1980)
Ecoutez, mes enfants! I've been saving this one for a while, but it's a bit of a jaw-dropper that's best to spring on people unawares, as diminutive thespian Herve Villechaize warbles a song that's become part of children's Christmas pageants everywhere (including at least one of mine in my junior high school days), When a Child Is Born. The track was recorded for The Time Is Now, a benefit LP for the Northern Ohio Children's Performing Music Foundation credited to The Children of the World, with a truly odd grab bag of guests, including Charlie Daniels, Ellen Foley, Andy Williams, Frank Yankovic, Bobby Goldsboro and Doc Severinsen.
The late star of Fantasy Island and sidekick to Christopher Lee's Man With the Golden Gun, Nick Nack, was also known as a generous supporter of causes aimed at helping children, which probably explains his presence on this project. His two contributions, Why? and When a Child Is Born, were also released as a single, with Villechaize performing the A-side on a daytime talk show (possibly Merv Griffin, but I'm not 100 per cent sure). I don't think anyone was too shocked when a recording career failed to take off, although the man most people knew as Tattoo also had a key role in the bizarro Elfman brothers musical Forbidden Zone.
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.
Programming for this edition of Radio Free Gunslinger, entitled 'This Ain't No White Christmas!,' is provided by AFVN
Detroit Junior - Christmas Day
The Soul Saints Orchestra - Santa's Got a Bag of Soul
The Diplomats of Solid Sound - Let It Snow
Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means to Me
Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa
Titus Turner - Christmas Morning
Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers - Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
Jimmy Witherspoon - How I Hate to See Xmas Come Around
Sugar Chile Robinson - Christmas Boogie
Amos Milburn - Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby
Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz, it's Christmas
William Bell - Everyday Will Be a Holiday
Booker T. & The MGs - Jingle Bells
Joe Tex - I'll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman)
Solomon Burke - Presents for Christmas
Desmond Dekker & The Aces - Christmas Day
The Granville Williams Orchestra - Santa Claus is Ska-ing to Town
The Ethiopians - Ding Dong Bell
The Maytalls - Christmas Feeling
Johnny Clarke - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Erroll Garner - Great Christmas
Mikhail Bakunin ("The Destroyer") on God and Infinity:
I could say that Nature is the sum of all things that have real existence. This, however, would give an utterly lifeless concept of Nature, which, on the contrary, appears to us as being all life and movement. For that matter, what is the sum of things? Things that exist today will not exist tomorrow. Tomorrow they will not pass away but will be entirely transformed. Therefore I shall find myself much nearer to the truth if I say: Nature is the sum of actual transformations of things that are and will ceaselessly be produced within its womb. In order to render more precise the idea of this sum or totality, I shall lay down the following proposition as a basic premise:
Whatever exists, all the beings which constitute the undefined totality of the Universe, all things existing in the world, whatever their particular nature may be in respect to quality or quantity - the most diverse and the most similar things, great or small, close together or far apart - necessarily and unconsciously exercise upon one another, whether directly or indirectly, perpetual action and reaction. All this boundless multitude of particular actions and reactions, combined in one general movement, produces and constitutes what we call Life, Solidarity, Universal Causality, Nature. Call it, if you find it amusing, God, the Absolute - it really does not matter - provided you do not attribute to the word God a meaning different from the one we have just established: the universal, natural, necessary, and real, but in no way predetermined, preconceived, or foreknown combination of infinity of particular actions and reactions which all things having real existence incessantly exercise upon one another. Thus defined, this Universal Solidarity, Nature viewed as an infinite universe, is imposed upon our mind as a rational necessity...
Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairies
by Lester Lanin and His Orchestra
from Christmas Dance Party (Epic BN-547; 1959)
While this swinging adaptation of Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairies from The Nutcracker isn't exactly rare or obscure, it serves as an object lesson in leaving no stone unturned when seeking out amusing Christmas recordings. Taking a flyer on this Lester Lanin platter in a cache of albums found in the back room of a New Glasgow antique store that was going out of business turned out to be a pleasant surprise, after years of skipping over it at flea markets and dusty used record store Christmas vinyl bins.
Based on a couple of LPs in my mother's collection, I had pretty much written off the music of the Philadelphia-born bandleader as weak, sub-Welk stuff. But you've got to give the guy credit for longevity, his career lasted from 1927 into the 1990s, and he passed away in 2004 at the age of 97. Whatever his music's faults, they don't hinder the sprightly nature of this track, which includes an unexpected guitar break that helps lift out of the category of generic light swing.