Little Dylan Drummer Boy

I”m a big fan of Christmas music. I’m also a big fan of Bob Dylan. That doesn’t necessarily mean I would enjoy those two things combined. Or would I? Hmm. Since the holiday season is here and it is Music Monday, I say we go for it.

Bob Dylan recorded a Christmas album in 2009 titled Christmas in the Heart. He gave all the royalties to the charities Feeding America and the World Food Programme. While the idea of Bob Dylan singing Christmas songs was initially, and perhaps understandably, met with skepticism, the album received generally favorable reviews.

This video for the track “Little Drummer Boy” is a unique piece of art. The work of New York based filmmaker and animator Jeff Scher, the video is a visual treat. Scher used a process called “rotoscoping” (I had to look that one up) in which animation is traced over live-action images. For this video, Scher used crayons and watercolors to trace over heartwarming scenes from classic films. The result is pretty fantastic.

As for Dylan’s vocal rendition of the song, well, what can you say? I don’t mind it. Again, I am a Dylan fan and I give him all the credit in the world for attempting to sing beloved Christmas songs, and especially for the altruism of the project. Sure, his voice sounds like that of an aged burnout folk singer. But there’s something quite touching about the whole thing, and Jeff Scher’s marvelous video animation has a lot to do with it.

12 thoughts on “Little Dylan Drummer Boy

  1. Dave Rudin says:

    I guess we have to credit a Jewish guy like Zimmy for doing an Xmas album for charity. Still, it would be nice to hear a Chanukah song by him…LOL 🙂

  2. I’m pretty much a life-long Dylan fan. I tried, I really, really tried, to like that Christmas album. But I couldn’t. I really can’t listen to it. I appreciate what he tried to do, but, no, it doesn’t work for me at all. So it goes.

    • artmodel says:


      I haven’t heard the entire album. At the time it came out I didn’t have much interest. As a fellow Dylan fan I’m sure your review is accurate! But like you said, I respect him even trying.

      Let’s stick to “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Tambourine Man” 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. Andrew says:

    Reminds me of the Porsche SUV – a product that doesn’t suit the brand.

  4. doug rogers says:

    Ever heard the ‘Dylan Hears A Who’ album?

  5. Never would have heard a Dylan Christmas song if I hadn’t landed on this site. Never would have guessed that was Dylan singing if I had heard it, either. That’s what Dylan would sound like in his normal voice. I think the whole nasally strained voice he adopted was a bit affected to tell the truth, very distinctive, a voice that became iconic, but I think in a very early stage he heard himself sing with an unaffected voice and said, I have to do something about that, give it an edge, make it less white bread. Just a theory of mine, but I think the Dylan voice we all know started as a bit of a put on.

  6. A couple of years ago, when that record came out I heard a review of it on the radio. The guy said that when he heard Dylan sings I’ll Be Home For Christmas, with that low, growly rasp, it came off sounding like a threat!

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