Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Music

A few days ago, The Mistress of the Dark asked in her blog, "What are your favorite traditional Christmas carols?"

That's a hard question for me to answer, because I'm not sure how long a Christmas carol has to be around to be considered "traditional." I wrote yesterday in this space about Christmas Traditions, so I guess it's appropriate now to consider the Christmas carols that have become part of my tradition, as opposed to being "traditional." Here's my list:

Do You Hear What I Hear? (Bing Crosby version) - this is a wonderful song that begins softly and builds to a powerful finish.

The Little Drummer Boy (either the Harry Simeone Chorale version or the New Christy Minstrels version, although the David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet is also truly excellent) - this song tells a great story: what gift would you give to a King if you were so poor the only thing you had was a song? This one is guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes. Side note: my father used to maintain that it took too long to say "The Harry Simeone Chorale," and so he just called them "The Monkeys." When we all said "huh?", he said it was shorthand for "The Hairy Simian Chorale." You can tell where my twisted sense of humor comes from.

One Of You In Every Size (Marty Robbins) - this is a short, lively song that no one but me appears ever to have heard. It's cute, clever, and fun.

White Christmas (Bing Crosby's version, of course) - when you grew up in Western Pennsylvania in the 50's and 60's, you could pretty much expect white Christmases. Nowadays, sadly, you can expect Drizzly, Dreary Christmases. %#$! global warming!

Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano) - a great, snappy, happy song. Unfortunately, this year it's been spoiled for me because of our office door. Part of our door decoration is one of those cards with the embedded chip that plays Feliz Navidad each time the door opens and the card swings open. After you've heard even a song as great as this one seven hundred times a day, it starts to wear thin. And my office being staffed with bizarre and twisted characters as it is, we have come up with many variations of Feliz Navidad for different audiences:

The Navy version: Fleets Navidad;

The Shepherds' version: Fleece Navidad;

The Carol of the Small, Biting Insects: Fleas Navidad;

The Law Enforcement version: Police Navidad; and,

The Britney Spears/Lindsey Lohan/Paris Hilton version: Floozies Navidad.

A Sailor's Christmas (Jimmy Buffett) - a nice little song with a bit of a calypso rhythm.

Christmas Eve In Washington - I don't even know who sings this one, and I've never found it online anywhere for download...but it's a great song that can make you feel good about living in "America's hometown."

The Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night (Simon and Garfunkel) - a chilling take on the most traditional of Christmas begins with Silent Night and a newscast soft in the background, and the newscast gradually grows in volume as the song fades until, by the end, the stream of bad news has drowned it out.

Okay, that's my list. And I hope everyone recognizes that I still have the Grinch on hold, difficult though it is.

Have a good day. More Christmassy thoughts tomorrow.



John said...

I really enjoy Christmas music but often wonder why some radio stations are set on ruining it by playing nothing but Christmas music (usually the same 12 songs over and over) for like a month straight.

A great selection although there are a couple that I don't recognize.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

floozies navidad!! Actually I always sing that song as Fleas On Da Dog :) so Fleas Navidad is my favorite version of that one :)

Amanda said...

"Do you hear what I hear?" is actually my new favorite this year. I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago on a Martina McBride Christmas compilation.

La Chanson de Phoenix said...

I heard the "Twelve Things at Christmas that are a pain to me" last night on XM (directv has it). The only one I remember out of twelve was "FIVE MONTHS OF BILLS" hahaha.

I don't know if this is a carol, but I like John Lennon's Christmas.