Photo collage by Kiko Martinez
If you lived in San Antonio in the 1990s, chances are that at least once a year around Christmastime, you would hear the South Texas “cholo” version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” on local Tejano radio station KXTN.
If the song parody
somehow never crossed your radar, it replaces the lyrics of the original tune with ones that would resonate more with South Texans than, say, “10 lords a-leaping.” For example, “my true love” is replaced with “my ruca” (Spanish slang for girlfriend), “five golden rings” is replaced with “five Selena tapes” and “a partridge in a pear tree” is replaced with “a perico in a stupid little tree.”
Adding local flavor to the classic Christmas song was Jonny Ramirez, who landed a job as a DJ for KXTN in 1993. Ramirez brought the idea for the parody song to promotions director Lupe Contreras. At the time, he and Contreras hosted the morning radio show “Los Two Dudes.”
“We were out having beers and I told him, ‘Hey, I have a great idea for the Two Dudes,’” Ramirez told the Current
during a recent interview. “I told him about the song and how we should have two dudes from the West side or the South side [sing] it instead.”
Contreras loved the idea, so Ramirez sat down “with half a bottle of scotch whiskey” and started writing the new lyrics — although Ramirez doesn’t like using the term “writing.”
“I wouldn’t say I ‘wrote’ the song,” Ramirez said. “I just took bits and pieces of things we could relate to. I mean, we love Church’s Chicken. Selena was blowing up at the time. I wasn’t trying to win an Emmy or Golden Globe or anything. I just wanted to entertain people for 10 minutes on their way to work and put a smile on their face.”
Ramirez is a humble man. He also wouldn’t consider his and Contreras’ performance of the song as “singing” either.
“Let’s say we ‘acted’ it out,” Ramirez said. “All these singers have gone out there and paid their dues for all these years, I’d hate to say that I just came along and sang the song. We tried to project our voices, so it wouldn't sound too bad.”
After more than 25 years since the novelty song first hit the airwaves, Ramirez, who now broadcasts Tejano music online at Fierro HD at radio.com, is surprised people still remember it.
“It wasn't brain surgery,” he said. “We weren't redoing the wheel. We were just messing around and having fun with it, man.”
Below are the lyrics to former KXTN DJ Jonny Ramirez’s “12 Days of Christmas” parody. It was performed by Ramirez and Lupe Contreras of the KXTN morning show “Los Two Dudes.”
On the first day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … a perico in a stupid little tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … dos Miller Lites.
On the third day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … three Church’s chickens.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … cuarto sartenazos.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … five Selena tapes.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … six lazy perros.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … siete chones rotos.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … ocho besos locos.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … nine purple Barneys.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … diez dried tamales.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … eleven poor excuses.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my ruca gave to me … doce empanadas.
Ruca is Spanish slang for girlfriend. Perico is Spanish for parrot (at least regionally). Sartenazos is Spanish slang for hitting someone upside the head with a frying pan. Perros is Spanish for dogs. Chones rotos is Spanish for ripped underwear. Besos locos is Spanish for crazy kisses.
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