When does something earn the recognition to be called “traditional?” How many years need to go by, and how often does it need to be handed down from its origin before it’s considered a classic? Well, without question, Cayman has a few of its own traditional Christmas songs that have filled homes and airwaves year after year since they were first released in the early ‘70s by the Brac’s Andy “The Cayman Cowboy” Martin.
“Grandpa’s Christmas Fiddle” and “Old-time Cayman Christmas” were both recorded in the early ‘70s and became instant local hits. The songs were introduced on a 45 RPM vinyl record, then on a 33-1/3 vinyl LP, later on cassette, then on CD, and now on iTunes and dropcards. Like the American holiday classics “White Christmas” and “Let it Snow,” these two popular Christmas songs have become time-honored local standards.
The nostalgic lyrics in “Christmas Fiddle” evoke a yearning for a time gone by in Cayman:
”When we feel all full and fat, comes the biggest thrill of all.
“Grampa goes and takes the Christmas fiddle off the wall …”
In “Old-time Cayman Christmas,” Mr. Martin asks: “Can you remember when about three or four days before Christmas, we’d take an old thatch basket and go down to the beach to collect the whitest sand we could find to spread in our yard?”
Still making music today, Mr. Martin, along with his sidekick, “Barefoot Man,” recently performed at the Captain’s Table on Cayman Brac. Family, fans and friends turned out to hear their favorite local Christmas songs along with other Andy and Barefoot hits.