Yo ho ho! It’s Christmas (well, almost), which means it’s time for this year’s Christmas cavalcade.
Today we’re paying tribute to our old friend Red Sovine, an artist who has featured on these pages several times in the past. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Red Sovine, would it?
Woodrow Wilson 'Red' Sovine, who scored his first chart hit in 1955, was responsible for a barrel load of Christmas-themed monstrosities; Is There Really A Santa Clause and Santa Is A Texas Cowboy (a surprisingly upbeat tune from this master of the morose) were compiled on his must-have 1978 collection Christmas With Red Sovine, which has to be the most miserable set of celebratory songs ever.
One song on the album, Billy’s Christmas Wish, tells a tale so desperately lurid that I can’t believe his record company had the temerity to release it. I also can't believe that I have not shared it with you before. Billy’s Christmas Wish is the tale of a homeless, father-less child who prays to Santa every year but whose sack is perpetually empty.
Have you ever been to Heaven Santa?Why I bet you know God as good as you are
Could I just ride up to Jesus' house sir?
If it's not too awful far
He might just let me live there a whileDaddy says he likes little boys
And I wouldn't take too much room sir
I'd just sit in the back with the toys
Well, when you live in a car and your father is in jail it’s no wonder Santa has a hard time finding you. “I’m Santa! Come sit on my knee, he’d say…” Ick. Shades of Jimmy Savile. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the little swine dies. Ungrateful brat.
The Red Sovine canon is the best argument I could ever present against country and western music. In a superb twist of fate Red Sovine, known for his truck driving tributes, died of a heart attack at the wheel of his van in April 1980.