Song Of The Day 12/22/2014: Vincent & Pesci - "Can You Fix The Way I Talk For Christmas?"



Christmas Week: You know someone has a unique, stand-alone talent when Song Of The Day calls upon him twice in the space of just over four months. When we last heard from Joe Pesci (I mean on this blog, but I could very well mean anywhere) he was purveying his Valli-reminiscent cover of the Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” to the fear and terror of all my social contacts.

But wait, there’s more! Also from what I like to call Pesci’s “shinebox period” is this impeccably grating holiday treat that’s of patent offense to both stutterers and Mel Blanc fans. “Can You Fix the Way I Talk for Christmas” was credited to Vincent & Pesci, who are also listed as the tune’s songwriters. This was released in 1972, presumably with Vincent playing the store Santa Claus and Pesci finally finding an outlet for his long-dormant Porky Pig imitation. I especially like the JC Penney ambience in the background, with those PA “bells” whose functionality remains an unsolved mystery dating back to my childhood. Don’t solve it for me, please. I feel better not knowing.

But what, there’s still more! The “Vincent” in Vincent & Pesci was Frank Vincent – like Pesci, an actor on your shortlist if you’re casting any sort of Mafia project north of Miami. Vincent most famously played Phil Leotardo in The Sopranos – you may recall his being crushed under the wheels of a baby-toting SUV in the series finale. But he was also in all three of the movies Pesci made with Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino.

And the final, absolute neatest kernel of trivia: In Goodfellas Vincent played Billy Batts, who pushes the buttons of Pesci’s character Tommy one too many times by telling him to go get his “shinebox.” So Pesci’s character whacks Vincent’s character (well, he has help), setting up Goodfellas’ most pivotal chain of events.

I’d like to think Pesci relished knocking off Vincent for having to be involved in the making of this record. I’m sincerely hoping there was a Stanislavski angle to that scene for Pesci and this record was the inspiration. I’m afraid to ask. You’d be too, I think.
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