Album notes: "I came across this song around 1972 on an anthology of early gospel recordings. It was performed by a group called the Cottentop Mountain Sanctified Singers and featured a lead vocal by one Frankie 'Half-Pint' Jaxon. It was most likely recorded in 1929. One has the feeling on hearing it that the 'Sanctified' in the group's name would come and go depending on whether it was playing in church or in a brothel."
December 1993 -
Simon Mayo: What's your next song, Bruce?
BC: The next song is a song called Early On One Christmas Morn. This is a
song I learned from a record by a group that recorded in the twenties or
early thirties called Frankie Half-Pint Jackson and the Cotton-Top Mountain
SM: Hey, good name!
BC: A very good name. I had the suspicion on hearing their version of this
song, which is the only one I know about, that when you hear them sing it, it
sounds like they probably played a lot in brothels. And when they did so,
left the sanctified out of their name, so it was just Frankie Half-Pint
Jackson and the Cotton-Top Mountain Singers. And I have subsequently learned
that Frankie Half-Pint Jackson was widely known as a female impersonator in
his day. In fact, that was what he was most known for. So, all of that adds
up to an interesting preamble to a pretty good song. It's one of the rawer
Christmas songs that I've run across.
SM: Are you going to kind of go for a brothel feel to this as well?
BC: It's inescapable! Not that I know a lot about brothels or anything. This
is Early On One Christmas Morn.
[plays Early on One Christmas Morn]
-- from "Simon Mayo interviews Bruce Cockburn" (from Canada), BBC Radio 1, December 1993, Transcribed and submitted to the project by David Newton.
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This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.