Not always is Christmas happy and merry.
Conflicts with the law, broken relationships, loneliness or simply dysfunctional families can put a burden on these holy Holidays.
Good part about it is, that they also inspire songwriters to tell about it. It’s basically a reality show wrapped in the soothing sounds of Christmas music. So in this third part of a “Honky Tonk Christmas” let’s put the fun back into dysfunctional (my Saloon ornament is hanging) and listen to some tunes, that aren’t your standards accompanying “Silent Night,” “Oh Tannenbaum” or more secular ditties like “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “White Christmas,” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” or even “Feliz Navidad.”
First in my list of a half dozen not so PC-friendly, dysfunctional songs is an over 25-year old classic done by Irish punkers The Pogues together with Kirsty MacColl (who passed away in 2000) called “Fairytale Of New York.” Even though the song only reached #2 in the British Charts during its initial release in 1987, it’s this season (2013) most downloaded Christmas song in the UK. Though the protagonist of the song is in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve to sober up, he sees quite a rosy future with his loved one.
And what you may have realized is that my definition of Honky Tonk music is quite wide and yes it includes Tom Waits. According to Wikipedia – even though the quote can’t be traced anymore – he was quoted about “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis” as follows: “I was in Minneapolis – it was 200 degrees below zero – I know – you think I’m bullshitting, no, I swear to God, I was wearing just a bra and a slip and a kind of dead squirrel around my neck – he was colder than I was. The police cars would go by and they’d wave… Merry Xmas, Merry Xmas, Merry Xmas – anyway – I got caught in the middle of a pimp war between 2 kids in Chinchilla coats, they couldn’t have been more than 13 years old – they’re throwing knives and forks and spoons out into the street – it was deep – so I grabbed a ladle – and Dinah Washington was singing “Our Day Will Come” and I knew that was it.”
I can’t say it much better, besides mentioning, that we are all looking for Valentine’s day coming up.
Alcohol also can be (is) a specific Christmas problem and leads to a crossroad of possibilities:
– a) drinking out of joy and celebrating (for some reason the most kids in the US are born roughly nine months after the Holidays – http://www.labnol.org/internet/most-popular-birthday-months/21283/ – longer, darker nights may be playing a role too)
– b) others may indulge due to dysfunctional relationships, insane family ties and trying to cope with that in a buzzed or even drunk state of mind
– c) and finally all the people who are alone and don’t have anybody to celebrate the festivities with
In 1973, John Denver released “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas,” a song written by husband and then-wife team, Bill Danoff and Mary “Taffy” Nivert. The couple was quite successful and had other hits with “Take Me Home, Country Roads – Denver,” “Boulder To Birmingham – Emmylou Harris” and their self-recorded, as the Starland Vocal Band, #1 hit “Afternoon Delight.”
Twenty years later, Alan Jackson spiffed that little ditty a bit up, made it with a shuffle beat a lot more giddy and the steel guitar replacing the dobro made it more jukebox friendly.
Alan Jackson – “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk On Christmas”
|‘Hee Haw’ Host Roy Clark
w/Some of the Honeys