Songs of the Season

Well it’s that time of year for Christmas music in every department store, market, and boutique. And by Christmas music, I mean the good, the bad, and everything in between. I think I’ve already heard the Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas is You”  about 20 times. And dare I mention Paul McCartney’s vapid “Wonderful Christmastime”? I wonder if he’s aware of how despised that song is. One hears it and asks, how could this be same man who wrote “Yesterday”? But for every McCartney dud there is a Nat King Cole perfection. Anyway, it’s all just a matter of personal taste. I might be in the minority when I say I actually enjoy Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. It’s fun, it’s jocular, and totally ‘Jersey’. In a word, it’s Bruce.

On this Music Monday, I’d love to hear from my readers their likes/dislikes of holiday season songs. So feel free to share in the comments! It will be our Museworthy ‘Christmas party’ 🙂

And I’ll share a Christmas song recording here. A few years ago I posted Bob Dylan’s “Little Drummer Boy” and let’s just say not everyone was pleased! 😆 But hey he’s a Nobel Prize winner now, so maybe we should reconsider? (Just kidding). Instead, here’s the great, great, great Otis Redding singing “Merry Christmas Baby”:

21 thoughts on “Songs of the Season

  1. My favorite X-mas song (by James Brown) . . . https://youtu.be/cz48PR__uSo and a couple of real groovy ones by Charles Brown . .. https://youtu.be/vxpgWkqlUvk https://youtu.be/-RJJwk-Opw4

    • artmodel says:

      Todd,

      The Charles Brown “Please Come Home for Christmas” is a classic. Been a favorite of mine for a long time. Excellent choice, as is the James Brown! Thanks for sharing!

      Claudia

  2. kdmedina says:

    Christmas Boogie by Sugar Child Robinson neon, Les Anges Dans no campagne by Bruce Cockburn, Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney by Ella Fitzgerald, Winter Weather by Fats Waller, Santa’s On His Way by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mercer, Hey, Santa Claus by The Moonglows (or The Cadillacs), etc Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, Noel Nouvelet… lots!

    • artmodel says:

      Ken,

      I knew I could count on you to include the magnificent lady herself, Ella Fitzgerald, in your selections. My top preference is her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. So lovely. And I checked out Robinson’s “Christmas Boogie” – so cute!

      Wonderful diverse list! Thanks so much for sharing.

      Claudia

      • kdmedina says:

        Hey! Glad you liked the list. Loads more I’ve found from year to year. Always looking out for good Christmas music. When a song fails you can see why.

        Let me know any other great Christmas records.

  3. artmodelandrew says:

    I like Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Clause is Coming to Town for the same reasons: they sound like they’re having fun with it.

    I also like the Band Aid collaboration of Do They Know It’s Christmas from the same era.

    Bob Dylan should stick to literature. Bing Crosby & David Bowie did a much better rendition of The Little Drummer Boy.

    I’ll throw in a couple more.

    Vince Guaraldi Trio – O Tannenbaum

    Vienna Boys Choir – Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

    • artmodel says:

      Andrew,

      Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas music for Charlie Brown is nothing short of a national treasure. I could listen to it over and over. Sounds fresh every time. I posted back in 2010: https://artmodel.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/christmas-time-is-here/

      I remember the Band-Aid single! My friends and I all bought it. Huge hit back then. And I can’t argue with the superiority of Bowie and Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy” over Bob Dylan’s 😆

      I have a Vienna Boy’s Choir Christmas recording, along with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir. Voices of angels, truly. And I’m glad you agree with me about the Springsteen. It’s a blast!

      Awesome choices, Andrew, thanks for sharing!

      Claudia

  4. johndrob says:

    I’ve always liked Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas,” which borrows the melody from Prokofiev’s Lt. Kije Suite – and since Lake passed away last week after losing a battle with cancer, it had become more poignant this year:

    I don’t remember it from when it first came out, but I’ve enjoyed “2000 Miles” from The Pretenders the past few years:

    And just about anything from the Phil Spector Christmas album.

    • artmodelandrew says:

      johndrob: Thanks for the link to Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas.” I really like the original 1975 version and the message behind the song. Just found this more recent version recorded in St. Bride’s Church in London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6-PAKOt7sM&feature=youtu.be&t=40s

      • johndrob says:

        Thanks Andrew. Ironically, I heard the 1977 album version before I ever heard Lake’s 1975 original solo version. I don’t recall the single being played in NYC at that time – or at least not on the Top 40 stations that I would have been listening to as a pre-teen – but I bought “Works Volume 2” on LP as soon as it came out. The original is better than the album version. But then when you add Ian Anderson on flute, it brings it to another level…

    • artmodel says:

      John,

      You’re not gonna believe this! I was going to make this blog post about Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije “Troika” suite but then decided to change it at the last minute! Amazing that you mentioned it in the comments for the wonderful Greg Lake song! Lake’s death is tragic, and his bandmate Keith Emerson also died earlier this year by suicide. Awful.

      Thank you for the reminder of Lake’s memorable song which I’m sure will be played even more this season.

      And this is the Prokofiev I was going to post. “Troika” set to a montage of sled dogs!

      Claudia

  5. johndrob says:

    And how could I have forgotten to mention The Ravens, with basso profundo Jimmy Ricks, who had the deepest voice of any singer I’ve ever heard (with apologies to Rhys Ritter):

    • artmodel says:

      John,

      That White Christmas is thoroughly enjoyable. And you’re right about Jimmy Ricks’ voice! I think he “out-bassos” Rhys, but it’s a tough call 😉

      Claudia

  6. Bill says:

    When I was a kid, I had a department store job at a place called Lechmere Sales. It was right next to the record Department and I spent the entire Christmas season being subjected to Andy Williams’ “Little Altar Boy”. That was the pits.

    The best? I’d have to give it to one of my favorites, Kathy Mattea. Her Christmas CD “Good News” won a Grammy in 1990 — and this is my favorite track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwJTIhbYt0s&list=RDXwJTIhbYt0s#t=0

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      Thanks for posting the Kathy Mattea video. It’s new for me! Nicely done. And I don’t know if it’s an unpopular opinion but I’ve never been a fan of Andy Williams. HIs voice just doesn’t do it for me. Being subjected to his “Little Altar Boy” does sound like the pits!

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  7. Derek says:

    I remember Otis I saw him in London in 1966 I was sad when he was killed three days after recording “Dock Of the Bay” and I still weep when I hear that song and what a dynamic performer he was and I remember that X-mas song

    Anyway back in 1981 I remember this song this bloke Billy Squier and I watched it and it such a cheerful song he is the same age as me 67 but here is the song that is a flashback

    Happy Holidays luv
    Derek
    Australia

    • artmodel says:

      Derek,

      You’re right, that was cheerful! Thanks for posting it. I was friends with a girl during the 80s who was obsessed with Billy Squier!

      Yes, it’s tragic about Otis Redding, and being killed just days after recording “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” … terribly sad. Plane crashes have taken quite a few music figures: Patsy Cline, Randy Rhoads, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Holly, etc.

      Hope you had wonderful holidays! Thanks for commenting.

      Claudia

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