Monday, December 26, 2016

A late Christmas present for my readers

Christmas is over and somehow we all survived the shopping, family visits, and Grandma's homemade fruitcake.  Miracles of all miracles, though, we survived the incessant and repetitive playing of Christmas carols everywhere we went or on any radio dial we pushed.  Even our childhood favorite carols began to wear thin by the time Christmas Day arrived.

Today, I got a late Christmas present from a friend in a political group I sometimes play around in.  He shared his favorite Christmas carol recorded in 1960 by a popular British entertainer, Roy Castle.  If you're like me, you're probably thinking, "Who the heck is Roy Castle?  Never heard of him."

Roy Castle was a beloved and popular entertainer in Britain, but his talent, somehow, went largely unnoticed here in the US.  In Britain, he's probably best known for his children's show, Record Breakers, which first aired in 1972.  He hosted the show until a few months before his death in 1994, but the show remained popular and ran until 2001.  Record Breakers twenty-nine year run makes it Britain's longest running show ever.

Roy Castle breaking another record on his
show, Record Breakers - The Biggest Tap
While the show, itself, broke the record for the longest running show in British television, Roy Castle broke nine world records while hosting the show.  On January 14, 1973, he broke the fastest tap dancing record at 1,440 taps per minute, an impressive 24 taps per second.  His record still stands unbroken today.

No, I didn't know all these facts about Roy Castle because I didn't know who he was.  But if you're interested, you can read more about him on Wikipedia, discover his film credits on IMDB, or browse his music on Discogs.

Sadly, this very talented entertainer died in 1994 of lung cancer at the young age of sixty-two.  He never smoked a day in his life, but blamed the cancer on years of performing in smoke filled jazz clubs.  In the last eight months of Roy Castle's life, he partnered with a lung cancer charity organization to raise awareness of the disease and raise money for research.  After Roy Castle's death, the charity changed its name from the Lung Cancer Fund to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in recognition of his immense contributions to the organization.

And now, passing the tradition my friend, Brian, started over in his political group, I happily share a relatively unknown Christmas carol with you so that next year, when you tire of the upteenth dozen rendition of the same Christmas carols, you can wow your family and friends with one they probably never heard. 

For your listening pleasure, the 1960 recording of Little White Berry by the talented Roy Castle:
Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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