I love finding old family photos, childhood scrapbooks, and little knickknacks from Christmases years ago — especially the really fun stuff from way back that predates the video/digital documentation of recent years.

A few years ago, I retrieved an old cassette tape from a huge box in my collection that documented one of my earliest holiday seasons. My dad recorded Christmas morning on a portable tape recorder with a microphone when I was three years old. I think it’s my first official recorded performance (I didn’t get my first toy drum kit until I was four). My voice has changed a bit since Dec. 1973.

It sounds like I handled very abbreviated renditions of a few classic carols, plus one tune my dad must have composed.

I kicked off with the first verse of “Jingle Bells,” holding the note on the word “sleigh” pretty well. “Silver Bells” never quite got rolling as I sang too many “Silver bells!” in the extended intro (I somehow managed to get two syllables out of the word “bells”). “Frosty the Snowman” became “Frosty the Toe-man,” and I referred to him simply as a “jolly old man.” That improvised lyric must have sparked the final tune, which was either a homemade ditty or a very obscure rhyme. It goes” “Santa Claus was a jolly old man / He washed his face in a fryin’ pan / He combed his hair with the leg of a chair / And he died with a tooth-ache in his ear!”

Click on the audio file at the right for my youthful debut.

Happy holidays!

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