Newsletter for December 2016









At the December meeting we will once again do our now famous ‘Dirty Santa’ game. Bring a wrapped gift of some sort; funny, nice, small, large, it doesn’t matter, and participate in this fun time. If you just want to watch that works also. Just be there. December will also be the last meeting snacks will be provided. Tom will provide the snacks for the December meeting and it ought to be good.

December is also the month for giving, so, we also do a ‘free for all’. Do you have some records or maybe even CD’s that you want to give away?  Bring them and let the BRC members look through and take what they want. Thanks.

Tom will be providing food for us this month. This will be the last time food, snacks and refreshments will be provided. Tom promises a real nice spread for us so don’t miss it.

We have some speakers set up for some of our upcoming meetings. In January we’ll have our own Henry Lovoy speaking to us about his journey through a long musical career, In February newly inducted WSGN Good-Guy Joey Roberts will be with us to tell us about his career in radio and what it was like at WSGN. And in March we have BRC member and author Andy Millard discussing his new book that is to be released in the spring. The book, Magic City Nights tells about the local bands in Birmingham beginning in the 50’s and covers some of the more recent ones. You’ll want to make plans to be at these meetings. See ya there.


Jerry Grammer, a 2010 inductee into the Birmingham Record Collectors Music Hall Of Fame, passed away on Tuesday, December 6th. I remember knowing Jerry as a guy who sat behind me in church and was a very good friend. Then I learned by chance he had a musical background and what a background. Over the years we would meet at Milo’s Hamburgers and I’d sit and listen to his stories and memories he would share. Jerry began playing trumpet and then drums. Jerry performed with the likes of Jimmy Elledge, The Clovers, Johnny Tillotson, Joe South, Gatemouth Brown, Ray Sawyer, and Jerry Lee Lewis. He met and jammed after hours in clubs with Charlie Rich and Isaac Hayes. He had releases on the RCA, Decca, Chant, Reed and Fame labels with J C & The Cavemen, Hoyt Johnson, and Jerry Woodard. He and Woodard formed many bands over the years playing at local clubs such as Pappy’s, they played on TV regularly on the Country Boy Eddy Show, and spent many years together in St Simon Island, GA playing in a club. One of his very good friends over the years was Al Hirt. While serving in the Navy he once performed for the Queen of England. One story he related to me was about the night Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer, Artimus Pyle was in town and called Jerry and wound up spending the night at Jerry’s home. Stories like that one filled my conversations with Jerry and I was always amazed at the people involved in the music business that Jerry knew, had been associated with over the years, or performed with. Jerry is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame as an achiever, a member of the European Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and is an Honorable Mention in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame here in the states.  Jerry was 75 years of age.


Christmas music goes back as far as 129 AD. A Roman Bishop wanted a song called ‘Angel’s Hymn’ sung at a Christmas service in Rome. As time went on many European composers began writing Christmas carols’. A few of the most famous are ‘Good King Wenceslas’ (1853), ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ (1841), ‘Silent Night’ (1818), ‘O Holy Night’ (1847), and Handel’s ‘Messiah’ which contains the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ (1742). There is a recording done somewhere between 1928-1931 by Blind Lemon Jefferson called ‘Christmas Eve Blues’ but I have no idea what the first Christmas song would be that was in the R&B, rock, pop genres. I did see a documentary where and ‘expert’ said the rock type Christmas songs came about with the success that Elvis had. Maybe I will stumble across more info about that one day.

I thought I mention some of the common ones we grew up with and some that didn’t get the air play that those did. Bobby Helms’, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, Brenda Lee’s, ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, Chuck Berry’s, ‘Run, Run, Rudolph’, Charles Brown’s, ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’, Darlene Love’s, ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), The Beach Boy’s, ‘Little Saint Nick’, and, well this list goes on and on. Let me mention and maybe introduce you to some songs that are not as common as those.

One that I really like a lot comes from 1959 and is done by Dinah Washington. I know it didn’t chart but what I don’t know if it received any air play. It is entitled ‘Ol! Santa’. It’s a very home-style Christmas song and Dinah does a great job of making the listener feel good about the memories of Christmas.   

How about this one from 1953. This song didn’t chart either but did get some air play and was even in the Christmas movie, ‘Christmas Vacation’. But I bet there are still some out there that are not familiar with it. ‘Hey, Santa Claus’, by the Moonglows is a classic Christmas song in my opinion. It was the B-side of ‘Just A Lonely Christmas’ which didn’t chart either.

Another B-side, although the A-side charted so this one may be more recognizable, is Freddy King’s ‘I Hear Jingle Bells’. I like it much better than the A-side which is ‘Christmas Tears’ which made it to # 28 on the R&B charts.

Doo Wop groups did some fantastic Christmas music much which didn’t chart nor receive much air play. See if you are familiar with these:

The Falcons – ‘Can This Be Christmas’

The Statues – ‘White Christmas’

The Cameos – ‘Merry Christmas’

The Aquatones – ‘I Want An Electric Train For Christmas’

The Hepsters – ‘Rockin’ And Rollin’ With Santa Claus’

The Skyliners – ‘You’re My Christmas Present’

That list could go on and on but let me get a few more in before I close. Here’s a good one from Marvin & Johnny.  ‘It’s Christmas Time’ is well worth having on a CD or finding a copy of the 45. 

Here’s one that charted but since it only got to # 92 you may not know it. Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell did a cover of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ in 1962.

And in the 50’s what became known as the rockabilly genre recorded its share of Christmas related music. Johnny Preston did ‘(I Want A) Rock And Roll Guitar’, Three Aces and a Joker did ‘Sleigh Bell Rock’, and The Moods sang about that ‘Rockin’ Santa Claus’.

Let’s close out with a couple of the early ladies of pop music. Kay Starr recorded ‘The Man With The Bag’ and it became a season favorite but did not chart. And Patti Page also had a season classic but it failed to chart also. She did ‘Boogie Woogie Santa Claus’.

I know this is just a small sampling of Christmas music and I probably left off one you have on your mind. But maybe this will help you not to forget to get those Christmas 45’s and CD’s out before Santa arrives. So we at BRC wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas filled with lots of good Christmas music. But wait, I forgot the one Christmas classic everyone needs to have in some form or another, vinyl, CD, mp3, etc. And here is the real story according to the singer, Denny Brownlee. DJ’s John Boy and Billy suggested that Brownlee record a Christmas song singing in the style of Porky Pig. And the rest is history. So we have one of the best novelty Christmas songs of all times released as Seymour Swine and the Squeelers doing ‘Blue Christmas’. Merry Christmas!!




Don’t forget to check out the radio shows the club offers on our website. We now have over 90 shows with over 1500 different songs. Check it out at – Tell a friend!




The Entertainers

‘I Tried To Tell You’



Alice Wonder Land

‘He’s Mine’

# 62 – 1963



See ya,



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