Another record I picked up for a dollar in Brattleboro last summer. Little Cindy might be a little more well-known because John Waters put Happy Birthday Jesus on a CD collection of his favourite Christmas songs a couple of years ago. Yes, this is creepy.
Exploiting kids is never a good idea, no matter how talented they may be, especially not in the name of religion. On Happy Birthday Jesus Little Cindy is not even singing but basically just reciting a prayer in a very cute southern voice:
“Happy Birthday, Jesus!, Momma said that you was near, And that you had a birthday, This time every year.
She told me how you listen , To every word we say, And that you hear us calling, In the night … or in the day.
She ’splained how bad they hurt you, those awful naughty men.
But said you let them do it, For girls like me … what sin.
She said about the manger, they took and put you in. I’d let you have my blanket, If I was here back then.
She said that you were watching, Everything we do …
Her, and daddy and Granny, And our new baby, too.
I like what momma told me, Of how you healed the lame. And that they didn’t have to have any wealth, Or fame.
She told you was so awful good, And then she made me cry …
She said they nailed you to the cross, They wanted you to die.
She said that you forgave them, cuz you was dying for our sin. And then it made me happy, when she said you came back again
Momma said that Christmas is what we celebrate
Because on that day you was born.
So I hope I’m not too late, To wish you a Happy Birthday. Dear Jesus, I”ll be true, cuz momma said if I was good you’d let me live with you.”
Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.
(These illustrationa are from a comic book called Merry Christmas published by Classics Illustrated in 1953/repr.1969)
Among incredibly strange records, outsider records or whatever you want to call them, religious records have a special place. First because they are not made for commercial reasons, they are the most “hardcore” independent releases. And second because very few of them are good. I buy these kind of records out of curiosity. If I don`t know an artist or label my interest is sparked and for 50 cents I can give a record a chance. Of course a lot of these records are “bad”. That´s why the serious collectors of any genre, who picked through everything before I did, left these records behind. Defining what is “good” or “bad” is a scientific question but the fact is, most religious records are dead boring.
I picked up this record by Günter Tesch before I found his book “Hinter den Kulissen”(Behind the Scenes). On the record you can hear is some slight rocking backing the preaching, but nothing that reveals, that Tesch actually played in a Beat band before he started singing religious songs.
That´s basically the story of the book. He doesn´t say what his group was called ( I guess he played in the Tonics) but he describes the beat scene in Hamburg, the Reeperbahn, the Star Club and the Top Ten in the 60´s quite vividly.
Of course he focuses on the highlights: “Rhythm! Beat! Ecstasy! Colourful impressions of the world of the stage. Swinging and full of suspense. In the language of our times. Free of Illusions and realistic. Meeting celebrated idols, loose girls, tough guys and drug dealers. And then he meets Jesus Christ…”
In the end he sells his Beat outfit, cuts his hair short and destroys all of his records to be free for god. Following Cliff Richard and Little Richard this was a German rocker who converted to god. The result is rather tame but compared to the majority of German religious music of the time this was way ahead.
GÜNTER TESCH, Meinst du wirklich?, 1970