“Twas the Night Before Christmas”

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Yeah, this isn’t exactly a Christmas “song,” but it is partially sung and there’s music, so I’m going with it.

Clement Moore’s poem was actually titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” but I think more people use the colloquial title of the first line these days. ¬†Either way, this is one of those fond childhood memories that I can’t bring myself to disdain, even though it’s pretty corny–and this version makes it kind of sappy to boot. ¬†It’s still a lovely little narrative. ¬†And a nice thought for tonight. ¬†And given yesterday’s events, I could use some nice sappy corny thoughts. ¬†(I’ll get into it after the holidays.)

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Holiday Cheer Round Up!

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By my count, I’m currently three songs behind on my Twelve Days of Christmas project. ¬†I’m having a little trouble thinking of individual posts, so I decided just to post some of my favorites. ¬†Please remember that most traditional holiday music makes me want to scream, just a little, so these aren’t exactly traditional. ¬†Or similar in any way shape or form.

First up, some old school rap.

I’ve always liked this; it adds a little much-needed spice to the holiday sweetness.

Next, a little humor.  Cheap and tacky humor, but humor nonetheless.

If this doesn’t make you laugh, well . . . well, actually you’re probably a very nice well-adjusted person. ¬†Me, I’m a little twisted and neurotic so I kind of dig it.

Finally, something a little more quiet.

The Monkees’ “Riu Chiu” is a Spanish song about the Nativity that I think is just beautiful. ¬†I like this clip because it includes the original Christmas greeting from the boys and the crew from the show. Just a reminder that even if you have to work or are far from home this holiday season, you can still find joy wherever you are and whoever you’re with.

“Fairytale of New York”

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So Melancholy Christmas has kind of become Pissed Off Christmas.  Or in the case of this song, Pissing Drunk Christmas.  Which is not really anything new in my family.

I don’t mean to imply that my family is anything like the bitter, dysfunctional couple in this Pogues classic. ¬†There have been relatives on both sides with alcohol problems, but mostly we’re social drinkers. ¬†When I was kid, it seemed like everyone got a happy buzz going, and then indulged in a high-spirited (loud) discussion (argument) about some trivial thing. ¬†Who was the greatest baseball player? ¬†The Searchers or¬†Red River? ¬†Etcetera, etcetera. ¬†Sometimes the discussions would be political, but no one was ever really angry. ¬†At least, I don’t think so. ¬†My memory is hazy about all that business; I was generally too busy playing with my mile-high stack of toys to pay much attention.

Of course, that was Dad’s half of the gene pool. ¬†My mother’s side of the family was always more sedate, but I really don’t know what the grown-ups did there, because I had a passel of cousins to play with. ¬†(My brother and I were the only kids on Dad’s side until we were teenagers.) ¬†I do know that Mom’s family was more (publicly) polite, conservative, and religious, so I suspect things were more or less pleasant.

Holidays are about the same, just smaller. ¬†There’s always good food, some wine and beer, and somebody gets more than a little loud at least once. ¬†It’s all good. ¬†And least we’re not the couple in “Fairytale of New York.”

“Nuttin’ For Christmas”

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I’d like to dedicate this one to Sony, the Neville Chamberlin of the entertainment industry.

I hope Santa leaves coal in the stockings of everyone involved in the decision to pull The Interview.  You people all deserve to lose your jobs.  An extra lump of coal for all the movie theater chains that decided not to show the movie.  And a side note to Kim Jong Un: If you had just ignored what was surely a terrible movie, it would have disappeared all by itself in about a week.

“Please Come Home for Christmas”

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I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of contractual clause that requires artists to, at some point in their careers, record at least one Christmas song. ¬†Some of them seem to get by with recording a song for one of the¬†Very Special Christmas charity compilations. ¬†Some go all in and make an entire album (but I still don’t know what Bob Dylan was thinking). ¬†The Eagles just did one single, but it was a pretty good one.

“Please Come Home for Christmas” was cowritten by and originally recorded by bluesman Charlie Brown in the 60s. ¬†It quickly became a holiday staple. ¬†The Eagles version was recorded in 1978, and was their first to feature bassist Timothy B. Schmidt, the one member of the band no one else in the band hates.

I find it kind of interesting how sad so many Christmas songs are. ¬†It’s not really surprising, considering how the holidays can be quite depressing for some people. ¬†Many people are missing loved ones, missing home, or just alone, and so many songs that play on the themes of loneliness and melancholy are popular. ¬†It’s really kind of a dark time of year. ¬†But if you’re gonna be sad, you might as well have some sad music to listen to.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

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“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is one of those Christmas standards that I don’t think everyone thinks about too much anymore. ¬†To most of us, it’s just a sweet, kind of sad song about longing for home during the holidays. ¬†And it is. ¬†But let’s put it in context.

Released in 1943, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is written from the point of view of a soldier serving in WWII. ¬†(If you don’t already know about that subject, then maybe you should start taking some History classes. ¬†Quickly.) ¬†The war was raging, and so many men (and women) were very far from everyone and everything they loved. ¬†The ache in this song is so palpable that I can’t listen to it without crying, and it hits home for me even harder now that Daddy’s gone.

This is, of course, Bing Crosby’s song, and I thought it was best to use his version for the post. ¬†It was the original, after all. ¬†But I am personally partial to Leon Redbone’s version, so here’s the¬†link in case you want to hear it, too. ¬†It’s not really that different, but the sadness is softened a bit. ¬†Have some Kleenex handy either way.

Twelve Days of Christmas

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I just realized that there’s twelve days before the big day, and I haven’t once inflicted any Christmas music on you nice followers. ¬†Depending on your perspective, this may be a good thing. ¬†(I know precisely how limited my own tolerance of Christmas music is, so I can understand why people might want to avoid it.) ¬†But here goes. ¬†I’m gonna try to post a Christmas song of some sort for every day leading up to the holiday. ¬†And no, it won’t be twelve different versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: that’s just where I happened to start out.

I first heard this on Dr. Demento’s radio show, and I thought it would be appropriate since it was announced earlier this year that¬†Twin Peaks would be returning soon-ish with nine new episodes (I’m still kind of giddy about that). ¬†This song was never officially released, at least not that I could find. ¬†I only heard it a couple of times, and recorded it directly off the radio one of those times (I’ve still got that cassette, too). ¬†It’s totally silly, and more than a little stupid. ¬†I can’t tell if all the bits were recorded by actors from the show, but you can tell some of them are the genuine article. ¬†If you love¬†Twin Peaks, and don’t mind hearing a Christmas classic skewered, this song is for you.