12 December 2012

Countdown To Christmas Party Time - Paddy Roberts - Merry Christmas You Suckers

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1962

The music industry has always welcomed - and ripped off - the most unlikely of figures, from singing postmen to school choirs to arrogant glove puppets, but Paddy Roberts is still a peculiar entertainment figure.  A well-spoken if curmudgeonly ex-World War II pilot, he wrote a number of big selling songs for artists such as Alma Cogan, as well as having a sideline career in what could only be described as filthy ditties, many of which can be found in the bargain boxes of your local record emporium if you dig hard enough.

If the honest truth be told, Robert's tunes seem incredibly tame by today's standards, often to the point of being bereft of any humour at all.  The sleeve for "Songs for Gay Dogs" - pictured below - seems to be abnormally suggestive by the period's standards, but was apparently caused by the word 'gay' not really having the same meaning it does today.  Personally I'm faintly sceptical and would like to believe that Roberts may have snuck the gag in under the radar of his employers at Decca, but popular opinion on the Internet is against me.

So then, his 1962 Christmas single is an unsurprisingly sneering view of Yuletide which features Roberts fruitily dismissing the frivolity of the season.  We are all "suckers" for going along with the ridiculous charade every year, making ourselves ill in the process, and the year we're blown up by a nuclear explosion won't be a year too soon.

Once again, it's fairly tame stuff by today's standards, although it's the closest Paddy Roberts ever came to sounding like Rik out of "The Young Ones", beating Mayall to the punch with his social observations by a large number of decades.  But one year's radical is another year's tired old pseud, and as Half Man Half Biscuit have observed, it's cliched to be cynical at Christmas.  Saying that, though... it's also cliched to want world peace and to wish there was a cure for cancer - are these sentiments wrong?  I'm inclined to side with Paddy myself.  Right on!

Somewhat surprisingly, this track is available on iTunes should you wish to buy it.

Thanks also to Sids60Sounds for uploading this little gem in the first place. 

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