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Fairytale Of New York - by Ricki C.

I know it's gonna seem like I'm cribbing from Scott Carr's fine, fine, super-fine earlier Pencilstorm holiday tune post here, but I also have a "My first guitar" story for you.  Rockers will be rockers, ya know?

My sainted Italian father bought me my first guitar for Christmas, 1968.  Guitars were not the kind of presents given in my family.  Socks, shirts & underwear were much more the order of the day in the Cacchione household, if you get my drift.  I think Dad was so heartened by the fact that I wanted something which inferred an interest in the outside world and the people in it that he would probably have bought me a Gibson Les Paul if I had asked for one.  I was a painfully introverted, shy, book-reading child to that point, basically a loser with no friends and dad launched me onward & outward into the world with that guitar.

The Christmas guitar was a fairly cheap acoustic.  The next summer, when the neck separated from the body from constant use and Dad could see I was really serious about playing, he bought me a second-hand white Kalamazoo electric guitar for my June birthday.  It looked just like the Fender Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock, only cheaper.  My brain exploded. It was more than I ever could have hoped for.  Dad rewired an old World War II vintage radio we had in the basement so I could use the huge built-in speaker as an amplifier.  I was in seventh heaven.  I was in sonic heaven.  I was alive and amplified.

I sat in that basement for months, playing along to the radio or to the 45-rpm singles I bought at the Lazarus department store or Marco Records in downtown Columbus.  I know I must have eaten and slept and gone to school during that period, but I have no clear memory of those things.  I got good.  But there was no such thing as solo rockers in 1968.  There were folk singers, but I really wasn’t interested in that scene, ya know?  Even at that early date, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards were my inspiration, my heroes, my gods.

I had to find a band.  I did, and just about everything else in my life followed from that quest, from that guitar, from that Christmas.  Thank you, Dad.

Merry Christmas, everybody.  -  Ricki C. / December 25th, 2015


Quite simply: I consider "Fairytale Of New York" the greatest rock & roll Christmas song EVER - hands down, no contest.  I have never - from the first time I heard it in 1988 until listening to it with a Bailey's in my hand earlier this evening - heard this song without it bringing tears to my eyes.  There's something about the way Kirsty MacColl sings the line, "Well so could anyone," in reply to Shane MacGowan's muttered, "I could've been someone," that has always and forever well and truly broken my heart.   

inspirational verse; no way to separate out any one element, I consider every word,
every sublime sweep of melody in this song to be a masterpiece. 

Merry Christmas, everybody.....and raise a glass to Kirsty MacColl 1959-2000.
"some people left for heaven without warning" - Shane MacGowan, 1985