December 25, 2018

"I'm gonna tick tick tickle him on the tummy."

I'm listening to "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" by Brenda Lee...

"Lee's second single featured two novelty Christmas tunes: 'I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus', and 'Christy Christmas'. Though she turned 12 on December 11, 1956, both of the first two Decca singles credit her as 'Little Brenda Lee (9 Years Old).'"

I don't think I've ever heard that song before, but I'm reading about Brenda Lee this morning a propos of blogging about Trump's "I am all alone" which got me thinking about (and embedding) the Brenda Lee song that I know very well, "All Alone Am I."

From the fascinating Wikipedia article:
Lee's father was a farmer's son in Georgia's red-clay belt. Standing 5 ft 7 inches [his daughter was 4'9"] he was an excellent left-handed pitcher and spent 11 years in the United States Army playing baseball.... Though her family did not have indoor plumbing until after her father's death, they had a battery-powered table radio that fascinated Brenda as a baby. Both her mother and sister remembered taking her repeatedly to a local candy store before she turned three. One of them would stand her on the counter and she would earn candy or coins for singing....

Her father died in 1953, and by the time she turned ten, she was the primary breadwinner of her family through singing at events and on local radio and television shows. During that time, she appeared regularly on the country music show "TV Ranch" on WAGA-TV in Atlanta....

Her break into big-time show business came in February 1955, when she turned down $30 to appear on a Swainsboro radio station in order to see Red Foley and a touring promotional unit of his ABC-TV program Ozark Jubilee in Augusta. An Augusta disc jockey persuaded Foley to hear her sing before the show. Foley was as transfixed as everyone else who heard the huge voice coming from the tiny girl and immediately agreed to let her perform "Jambalaya" on stage that night, unrehearsed. Foley later recounted the moments following her introduction:
“I still get cold chills thinking about the first time I heard that voice. One foot started patting rhythm as though she was stomping out a prairie fire but not another muscle in that little body even as much as twitched. And when she did that trick of breaking her voice, it jarred me out of my trance enough to realize I'd forgotten to get off the stage. There I stood, after 26 years of supposedly learning how to conduct myself in front of an audience, with my mouth open two miles wide and a glassy stare in my eyes.”


traditionalguy said...

The Brenda's in Georgia are 5 foot tall and 100 pounds. Beware of them. Especially the cute ones.

Tina Trent said...

That's a tough start in life. Born in the downtown charity hospital, Grady, then supporting her family by the age of 10. There are quite a few Tarpleys (her real name) in rural Georgia. People in their seventies and older around here remember outhouses and real poverty. Everyone still keeps a garden. Collard greens grow all winter and are as nutritious as meat, which was important. Wild pawpaw fruit was nutrition too. And then she lassoed Santa Claus. And the Beatles opened for her in West Germany. Amazing.

tcrosse said...

We're still Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

Ann Althouse said...

"We're still Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

Maybe that's why we never hear "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus." We're always already maxed out on Brenda Lee.

tcrosse said...

We're always already maxed out on Brenda Lee.

A little Brenda Lee goes a long way.

dreams said...

I'm one day older than Brenda Lee and I first saw on the Red Foley show when we both were little. We're both still a little bit little.

William said...

Brenda Lee has a nostalgia triggering voice. She's embedded in a time and place. She has a voice that was meant to be heard on the jukebox. It was a distinctive voice that cut through the surrounding noice. Do jukeboxes still exist?........ The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan moved through different eras, and you carried over some their earlier stuff from one era to another, but Brenda Lee was caught in the jukebox like a canary in a cage.

tcrosse said...

Edith Piaf had something similar going on. Small kid, poverty, big voice.

Darrell said...

She's embedded in a time and place.

Yeah. Our best memories.

Trumpit said...

This recent article in Rollingstone magazine about her life is right on the money.

Earnest Prole said...

Here, let me link that for you. She awed a young Elton John, influenced Taylor Swift and had the Beatles open for her. So why doesn’t Brenda Lee get more respect?

wild chicken said...

I hated the girl singers in that era. So blary, hairsprayed, emo. Connie Francis, Vicki Carr. I listened to folk music.

Though Nancy Wilson and June Christy were cool.

Loved it when Emmylou Harris, Karen Carpenter, Anne Murray came along. Like going from Al jolsen and Eddie Cantor to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

Big Mike said...

Ladies and gentlemen: I give you Brenda Lee!

YoungHegelian said...

On that 45 cover, doesn't it look to you like Santa is a little too happy to be lassoed?


Rick.T. said...

Brenda Lee is still hanging around Nashville. My wife met her at an estate sale this fall. Talked with her for a while, both discussing their recent surgeries. Makes my 5’2 wife look like an Amazon. Nice down to earth lady.

Almaron Dickinson said...

I ran across "Papa Noel" a few years ago.
Brenda did Cajun quite well.

Wince said...

The radio is playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's comin' on strong

Radar Love
by Golden Earring

The road has got me hypnotized
And I'm speedin' into a new sunrise
When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough
She sends her comfort comin' in from above
We don't need no letter at all

We've got a thing that's called radar love
We've got a light in the sky, radar love

No more speed, I'm almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care
Last car to pass, here I go
And the line of cars drove down real slow
And the radio played that forgotten song

Brenda Lee's comin' on strong

And the newsman sang his same song
Oh one more radar lover gone
When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough
She sends her comfort comin' in from above
We don't need no letter at all