I know it's the holidays when my Cuban Luvuh puts out the genuine Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer figurine (and I put out this). Otherwise, it's all about shopping on the net for me. I don't think I've set foot in a store for gifts in the past five or six years. As for your gifts, dear reader, you get them early.
Including a truly special Cheerful Exclusive!, the first LP by Teal Joy, a Japanese-American songstress who first gained notice in the early 1950s as a line dancer, then a featured singer, at "The China Doll."
This led to more bookings at "The Apollo," "Mr. Kelly's" in Chicago, effusive praise from "The New Yorker," and more importantly, "Down Beat," and just after, a slew of TV appearances on the Dick Clark and Steve Allen shows. Her star continued to rise with bookings at clubs worldwide and in 1957, she recorded her first of only two albums with orchestra leader Ted Steele. But after that? Who knows? The little tidbits of bio I've provided here are all I could find after fairly extensive (O.C.D.-type) digging.
But I will say this: she's wildly talented (for reals), sings in multiple languages, proves highly polished whether belting or softly serenading, and remains at full emotional throttle throughout. But after her second LP - poof - she was gone. Is she still truckin'? Did she get married? Is she singing to her grandkids? Is she kicking back and eating bonbons? I hope it's all of the above. I want to believe!
Imposing, isn't she? She had reason to be. Mentored by a noted (and blind) church gospel singer, Lula was barely in her twenties when she became the lead vocalist for Sonny Thompson, a popular bandleader and pianist, hitting the charts at #5 with her freshman effort. Her subsequent songs were released under her own name, and she married Thompson shortly after. Oh, and she sometimes smiled, too:
If she isn't as well known as other R&B singers, it's probably because she left the business in the late 1960's and adamantly refused to give interviews about her music. She had her reasons, finding conflict between her secular work and her spiritual side. It's a shame, because by the time she died in 2008, there were barely any obituaries celebrating her accomplishments. Her style was blues, but tinged with rockabilly. In "Blue And Moody," her 1959 LP, she lays it out with a scorching style all her own.
Meanwhile, sluts aren't just for Halloween anymore. They're all the rage for the holidays. Take it away, Lindsay!
Not to be outdone, a gentleman slut. Shake it, Jake, shake it!
The holidays can be a dull blur of obligations - office parties, friends' gatherings, the family - or, I think, a giggly hopscotch of whatever you want it to be. Want to go to that office party wearing a black feather boa? Do it! Want to donate to your favorite charities instead of buying presents that'll probably be re-gifted? Who's going to stop you? What law are you breaking?
Let's face it, this is a sometimes tedious era we're living through, one in which people actually tweet their Amazon "Wish Lists" so you'll know exactly what to put under the tree for them. To which I say, "Pff. You're not a
tanked or stoned to make it through the holidays, by all means do so (just don't be sloppy about it) (that's tacky). And when one of your siblings invariably starts acting out - because being around mommy and daddy makes them regress to ten-years-old - do not engage. I repeat, do not engage. Politely excuse yourself, step away and see if anyone's up for some ice cream with a drizzle of Frangelico, or better yet, a Tiramisu Martini (have them make it for you) (children are perfect for this, since they'll one day need to learn the fine art of cocktail-making and there's no time like the present).
The Secret Song File regularly wears a boa or some such, so the holidays is her time to step it up, which means she might wear a mid-riff-baring rhumba blouse and culottes (mismatched, but stylishly). Who's to stop her? Caution be damned. Trends be gone. She is what she is and always will be. Likewise, this new CD is from a dead artist who will always be who she is, too - because she's dead, obviously, but also because there's still no one like her on the scene today. This is a newly expanded live recording and it's wonderful. The Secret Song File approves and hopes you will, too.
Want more hints? Pff. Why? What for? Be surprised for once! Has The Secret Song File ever led you wrong? Okay, maybe once or twice, but really, it's the holidays. Be nice. And if you'd like to wish someone a generic "Happy Holidays," even if you know they celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever, please do so - especially if you know it'll piss them off. The Secret Song File approves of this, too.
Leave good cheer in the comments, if you like!