Friday, January 26, 2007

The Fabulous Fay McKay - Winter Favorites

In early December of 2006, I was searching April Winchell's delectable selection of Seasonal Favorites and came across an MP3 of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by someone named Fay McKay.

I downloaded it and took a listen. It turned out to be the famous "drunk lady" version that has floated around cyberspace for years. I was grateful that this always hilarious tune finally had a proper credit (Thanks April!).

From there I went to FaLaLaLaLa.com where I typed the following post on December 7, 2006:

"'The Crazy Drunk Lady - The 12 Days Of Christmas'.

"If you've ever surfed a file-sharing program and entered 'Christmas', there's a good chance this song popped up. I'm guessing about 1/2 of the people reading this know about this Internet favorite (or downloaded it like me).

"If you don't, this song begins with indeed a lady who begins to sing 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' while getting progressively drunker and drunker. By the end of the song, she's reduced to grunts and slurs while you're laughing your head off and feeling intoxicated yourself.

"Guess what? That 'crazy drunk lady' is Fay McKay and she has her own website!

"Ms. McKay is selling her very own 11-track Christmas album with that version of "12 Daze" on it. Plus, each CD comes autographed!

"I was excited to have found her website because yes, I did download this song back in the pre-legal days of Napster. It's payback time... I ordered her album as my way of thanks. Drop in and take a look!"

When I ordered my CD, I sent several questions along in hopes she would answer them. While I waited for the disc to arrive, two new rays of info came to light about Ms. McKay.

The first came on December 21, 2006 from another member of FaLaLaLaLa.com who alerted me to this fantastic film clip found on YouTube:





The film clip was taken from a documentary entitled "LOST VEGAS: The Lounge Era". I did another Google which brought me to a post (also on December 21) at Boing Boing that quoted the creator of the documentary Tim Onosko:

"Our film profiles a group of these guys, and a woman named Fay McKay, a talented jazz singer who became known for her boozy comic parody of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas.' ... She is still alive and living in the desert, in obscurity. It would sure be nice for lots of people to see her do her famous comedy bit. Since it's the season, we've uploaded Fay's bit to YouTube."

On cue, my CD arrived and Fay took the time to answer my questions:

Fay got her start in show business at the tender age of three and half. She went on to perform in 26 countries around the world, every single one of the 50 United States of America, and was the headliner at nine different Las Vegas casinos along the strip in her lifetime (those are Sinatra numbers!).

Her biggest highlight came when she appeared as Liberace's co-star (and 155 other top name stars) at the London Palladium back in the 1960s.

During one night in a smoky piano bar in the late 1960s, she first performed her now classic "Twelve Daze of Christmas". She credits some fans with the inspiration and she ran with it all the way to the bank! It has charmed hundreds of thousands of people since then.

I asked her if she knew how popular this song was. "Of course!" She has heard stories of people pulling over in traffic due to uncontrollable laughter and people who have suffered the loss of bladder control while listening.

She released this album of "Winter Favorites" back in 1968 (I would love to see an actual LP). The first song is, of course, "'12 Daze' of Christmas" which reattaches the long lost intro that many of the online MP3s cut off. I've heard this song countless times and it always never fails to make me laugh - a rare feat for any song.

McKay then covers the basic Christmas songs and her rich voice really comes across, especially her versions of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "White Christmas. There are some hilarious surprises on two of the tracks ("Frosty The Snowman", "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow") that must be heard to be believed!

My favorite track is her final one - a medley of "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear / Silent Night". You can hear the warmth and solemnity in McKay's voice as she switches from song to song. It's a wonderful medley and a very haunting rendition.

Fay McKay is indeed retired and has experienced some serious health problems in recent days. She still lives in the town she loves the most - Las Vegas. McKay sent me a copy of her "Live In Las Vegas" CD as well, capturing what it's like at 2:30 in the morning in a typical Vegas lounge - fabulous stuff!

My last question I asked Fay: Any special messages you'd like to give to your fans?

"Yes!!! Please buy my CDs! (Hahaha!) I'm thankful for all your support!"

If you loved her version of "12 Daze of Christmas", you'll love her Christmas CD. If you ever laughed out loud over her song, please visit her website to get a CD or simply send her a card or letter.



McKay's CD didn't come with an actual cover (see above) so
I recreated the cover from the small picture on Fay's website.



UP NEXT: We're gonna drop a retro Christmas bomb on you...


Capt

20 comments:

stubbysfears said...

As I noted over at FLLLL, I have the 45 of "12 Daze," but ordered the CD after your post there.

But I had already determined to send it, as a Christmas gift, to a dear friend, Ann, in New Jersey--the woman who first turned me on to the song. I'd ask her who the performer was, but my friend didn't seem to know. Still, her cassette of the song was one of her most prized possessions...until a few years back when a fire destroyed virtually everything she owned (and you know how that goes).

I learned Fay's identity a while back (Mistletunes, I think) and tracked down the single earlier in 2006. I had intended running off a copy for Ann, but the CD, when you brought it up, seemed a better gift (autographed no less).

Bottom line, the CD came in...and went right out. I never even listened to it. Thanks to your review, I guess I'll be ordering another copy.

frank zahn said...

HELP!

I tried to call the number for Fay's CD, but the email bounces back and the number is always busy. Do you think there's any other way to get this CD?!?

If you can email me, my information is on my website.

Thank you SO MUCH!

CaptainOT said...

Frank - During a phone convo with Fay at the beginning of 2007, she told me her webmaster "stopped showing up" and she was running things pretty much by herself.

Keep the faith and let's hope all is well with the Fabulous Ms. McKay.


Capt

john said...

i first heard daze this year on the radio and now when its on i crank it and sing along

CaptainOT said...

John - WOW! What radio station plays that out by you?

I would welcome Fay's song on Christmas radio over Cheech & Chong, Bob & Doug, and any other Christmas novelty tune!


Capt

JB said...

I ordered Fay's Christmas CD and it never arrived, and her Web site is no longer available. Does anyone have a copy of the CD I could buy? It was supposed to be my Mom's Christmas gift.

CaptainOT said...

JB - I sent her a Christmas card and received no answer. I tried her phone but it has been disconnected.

I wish I had more news but I'm just as in the dark.

I pray she's okay and getting any and all help she needs.


Capt

mpaige said...

Fans of Fay McKay,

I'm sorry to say the Fabulous Fay McKay (born Fayetta Galinas) passed away in her sleep on Friday April 4th at 5 AM. I'll post info on this blog as it becomes available. As far as her recordings, I'm in contact with Fay's cousin who is handling her affairs and will see if she is interested in releasing her compilation of work on CD.

Carter said...

Hi... do you know of anywhere I can get a copy of Fay McKay's "12 'Daze' of Christmas"? This song has been a favorite of mine for years. I've searched, and aside from vinyl (which, I don't have a way to convert to digital/mp3), I can't find anywhere I can purchase it! thanks...

CaptainOT said...

Carter - If you have the 45 and are willing to send me, I'll be happy to transfer it over for you - click on the link for my P.O. Box in the upper corner of the blog.


Capt

Lupita said...

I am most interested in getting a copy of 12 Daze of Christmas. I would not mind buying a CD that included that routine/song. My sister really loved it when she heard it. I would like to get it for her. Thanks. Lupita

Anonymous said...

I had the honor of meeting this wonderful lady. She was truly a fantastic person and maintained a great sense of humor when I last saw her a year ago. I was saddened to learn of her passing. I did have the privilege of her giving me autographed the Live on the Las Vegas Strip cd and am also enjoying the Christmas cd this season.

CaptainOT said...

Lupita - We still don't have word on whether or not Fay's family is preparing new CDs or not. If we learn anything, we'll pass it along to you.

Anon - Thanks for sharing your memories about Fay.


Capt

Kelly said...

I would appreciate knowing if the CD can be found, as I would like to buy it, too. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I found and emailed Fay in December 2007 and inquired about her cd. I wanted to get the cd by Christmas, which was only about a week away. The only way to pay for the cd was by check, Fay didn't have any other way of taking orders. I didn't order the cd because I wouldn't have received it by Christmas. I've been kicking myself ever since because Fay passed away the following April. I wish there were some place to order it now but you can't get it anywhere.

Frank said...

I have spent a while looking for a good version of this song. If anyone has it in an mp3 format, please let me know.

Laurie said...

Hello, Fay McKay is my mother's first cousin (affectionately called Aunt Fay by us kids)and performed with Fay when they were kids. I am in the process of trying to get in touch with one of our mutual relatives to see if her music is still available. I know my brother has a very old tape but I'm sure it's not in great shape. Thanks for posting the Youtube about her. I really enjoyed it and will share it with my mother (91 years old as of today, she an Fay were very close for most of their lives. Take care, Laurie Brodeur-Murdock

Kevin said...

Did anyone ever find out if this CD was/is still available anywhere? I'd love to have it!

Julie Oneill said...

her real name was..... Fayetta Gelinas born in Manchester, New Hampshire...She was related to my Grandmother, Agnes (Gelinas) Thibedeau, My mother was Doris (thibedeau) Oneill...I remember meeting her once she came to visit Doris in Hull Mass....I thought she was so funny and loving and I never forgot her name....

April Bahan said...

Fay's little dog (pictured with her) was named Luella and Fay doted on her. As a child she would tell me that when I got older she'd take me to Las Vegas to perform with her. Sadly the heyday of Vegas soon faded and by the early-mid 70's she wasn't performing as often.

Fay, was an amazing, talented and very giving soul. Just to hear her laugh would brighten my day immediately. She was a inspiration to me and so many others. And so much more than the song that made her famous.

She truly was the "Fabulous Fay McKay"! God Speed, Fayetta. I miss you still.