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OKEH 6929; NOVEMBER 1952



When is a Christmas song NOT considered a Christmas song by those who hear it?

That’s not the easiest question because once you give your answer you’re sure to find some songs that break those requirements you just laid out and became widely beloved all the same.

But even if there are no steadfast rules that cover all contingencies, each of us know these non-Christmas Christmas songs when we hear them… provided we DO hear them, which might be the answer we’re looking for all along.

Maybe that’s the line of demarcation… when a song about the holidays doesn’t get regularly played during those holidays it tends to be almost disqualified from consideration.


Don’t Want No Million Dollars
For the most part we tend to appreciate artists who take a common subject and look at it in an uncommon way. That’s the heart of storytelling and the creative spark of music.

How many love songs have been written? Nine trillion, give or take?

If they were all framed with the same perspective and used the same basic aural construct it’d get kinda boring, so when someone switches up the ingredients being used it opens up new possibilities and allows the resulting song to feel fresh even if the general topic has long since been played out.

But while we’ve had songs built on existing genre frameworks and merely stick Christmas themes in them to great success, there seems to be some basic requirements they still need to adhere to in order to become widely beloved. For starters they usually reference the day – or at least the broader images of the season – repeatedly throughout the song, the melodies tend to be very catchy and if it’s got some form of sleigh bells in the arrangement you’ve got it made.

Titus Turner’s Christmas Morning doesn’t use any of these things, which is one reason why most of you have never heard it being spun regularly amidst the seasonal Gene Autry and Bing Crosby fare, or for that matter why you probably never heard of it even existing in the first place.

Those who have encountered it along the way almost certainly sought it out by scouring release rolls for any and every Christmas themed record from early 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll, of which there are far too few, and thus you’ll take what you can get.

One listen to it though and it’s not hard to understand why it’s not among the songs that most families sitting around sipping eggnog on Christmas Eve would have spinning on their hi-fi.


There’s Something I Want You To Know
The way this opens, with Titus Turner sounding as if he’s having an epileptic fit they just happened to capture on tape, you wish you hadn’t unwrapped this particular present.

But once he gets over his incoherent babbling and the record settles into the actual musical presentation, it pulls itself together rather nicely.

It’s a little more bluesy than we might like as rock fans, especially with Turner’s half-spoken asides after some of the lines, but he’s in pretty good form otherwise, finally starting to come into his own as a singer as he is acting the part of a guy who’s hard up for some loving from his girl and is letting her know what she’ll be getting under her tree on Christmas Morning.

But that’s about all it has to do with December Twenty-Fifth, just some vague references to mistletoe and Santa Claus which border on perverted, not by what he says exactly, but rather what he’s thinking AS he mentions them.

Otherwise this is a song that could just as easily take place on July 25th as its little more than him propositioning his girl in bump and grind fashion with some stop-time lines, horns and guitar intertwining behind him,=. It’s well put together, but it’s hardly painting a picture of snowmen, reindeer or elves on shelves if that’s what you’re seeking.

The best parts come when Turner stops singing, not that he is singing badly, but when he doesn’t have to recite lyrics or follow a melodic path it means he’s free to make suggestive grunts and moans, all of which to his credit have some faint musical components to them, and in the process gives us a much clearer picture of what he plans to unwrap than the lyrics themselves are allowed to show us.

It’s not lewd or anything, just a pretty colorful and accurate internal “monologue”, sans actual words that is, as he envisions what’ll take place when he gets his present.

On the whole it’s a creative attempt at going far outside the usual tropes of holiday-themed music, but because of that it’s one that is easier to admire from afar than to immerse yourself in it. There’s no strong melody to get hooked on, nothing you can sing along to, not even any moments where you get fully captivated by the performance itself.

In other words, this is one of those presents you appreciate, but aren’t going to get much daily use out of… other than to debate whether or not it’s a Christmas song that is.


(Visit the Artist page of Titus Turner for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)