A 25th Anniversary Humbug Tribute

Featuring Humbugs songs performed by the following bands:


Don't Cry on Christmas

Snappy 20-somethings in their 1959 heyday, the "four trads" are now in their 70s and still going strong. Well, Kenton, of course, is not going strong, per se, but he's going, certainly, from his iron lung.

From the start, nothing was more important to these boys than the music. "It's all about the music," said Clive Thompson, founder of the group originally called The Four Tradicals. Clive, of course, was forced out after Howard Clemson re-envisioned the band as all-Christmas doo-wop. When asked about the change in focus for The Four Christmas Tradicals, Clemson replied, "Hey, it's all about the music!"

Soon, though, the ousted Thompson started a rival Christmas doo-wop group, The Christmas Traditionalists, with Kenton Johnson defecting to join Thompson, on account of it being "all about the music."

Incensed, Clemson landed a replacement and renamed his group The Original Christmas Tradicals. He was soon ousted, however, by Jerry Wilson, who changed the name to The Original Four Christmas Tradicals as Clemson went on to launch The New Original Christmas Radical Traditionalists. Johnson and Thompson's group became the Original Original Traditionalist Christmatists, though the name lasted only one gig (and some say it was merely a typo on the marquee). Regardless, The Original Radicals of Christmas Tradition were now battling The New Original New Christmas Tradicals for audience share while fending off The New Traditional Four Christmas Originalists.

Audience confusion — or it may have been apathy — spelled the end for all four groups (somehow in there, yet another got formed) and they faded into obscurity and bitter recrimination some five weeks after the formation of the original group. In the 90s, though, a nostalgia wave brought the original four men back into the spotlight, with the compromise name The Four Christmas Traditionalists. It was quickly discovered, though, that Kenton's condition would preclude him from touring, or in fact from leaving the house, and his brother Quentin stepped in to complete The New Christmas Traditionalists.

It's this latter lineup that you hear on "Don't Cry on Christmas," a song originally released by the Humbugs as an upbeat yodeling number. The "trads," obviously, took some stylistic liberties with the tune; when asked why, they explained that "It's all about the music, man."

Don't Cry on Christmas


My darlin',
I truly, honestly believed you wanted
A tiny sheer negligee in blue
But something's wrong,
Maybe you think it's too long,
Well whatever the case,
darlin' there's just one thing that I would ask of you...

Oh don'tcha cry-y-y on Christmas
Oh won'tcha try not to cry my dear
Cause if you're caught cryin' at Christmastime
You'll see trouble the whole next year

My dear old grandma always said it
And we knew it was true
Cause every Christmas we'd be cryin'
And the next year we were blue

But of all our tears and woe
She couldn't be the cause
And if it wasn't grandma,
must have been ol' Santy Claus, so

Don'tcha cry-y-y on Christmas
Oh won'tcha try not to cry my dear
Cause if baby Jesus hears you shed a bitter tear
You'll see trouble the whole next year

Trouble from me
Cause I can't stand to see
A woman cryin' on Christmas Day
And if you do
It's bad luck for you –
Yeah, the Yule rules specify
You better watch out
You better not

cry-y-y on Christmas
Oh won'tcha try not to cry my dear
Don'tcha get caught cryin' at Christmastime
No don't

cry-y-y on Christmas
Won'tcha try not to cry my dear
Cause if baby Jesus hears you shed a bitter tear
You'll see trouble the whole next year

The whole next year
Trouble, trouble
The whole next year
Trouble, trouble
Please don't cry at Christmastime