Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things for People Who Don't Like Things

Christmas Music performed by pop stars! Obviously for people who don't like Christmas or music . . . but, who must love the singers. Only a fan of them could appreciate their renditions of holiday classics that sound amazingly like the songs that made the singers famous. I'm from the 'holiday songs are best sung like standards' school. Perhaps I'm a musical victim of circumstances - when I was growing up everyone's parents and grandparents had the same Christmas albums: Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Mahalia Jackson, Sinatra, etc. These are still some of my favorites.

If you want to perform a song in your own style - write your own song (think Brenda Lee and her Christmas Tree or McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time or even Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song). What you should not do, however, is ruin a perfectly good song by singing it Your Way, I mean even Sinatra stuck to the basic tunes with his holiday renditions!

What I should do is stop tuning in to the all-holiday radio stations - every time I do I hear the same songs that prove this point (to me, anyway) - James Taylor's depressing Jingle Bells, Bob Seger's Little Drummer Boy (I do like Bob Seger, but he's more of a Night Moves kind of guy . . .), or Martina McBride's duet with Dean Martin (was there ever a stranger combination?).

But what actually prompted this post is Bob Dylan's new Christmas From the Heart. I confess I've never seen the genius in Dylan - perhaps I'm just too young. I think you have to be from his generation to think of his lyrics as poetry. With his most famous songs, though, I can see what appeals to the Woodstock generation. I even like his rendition of Froggy Went a-Courtin', but just a few notes of his nasal, raspy version of Adeste Fideles makes me want to punch the radio - or the myriad reviewers who have praised his album. Who are they kidding? This phenomena is a kind of Bob Dylan Rope-a-Dope - his reputation mesmerizes and no matter what he sings it's hailed as a brilliant addition to his body of work - a musical knock-out, if you will!

Of course, music is personal and there must be people out there who love Christmas music and also the James Taylor or Michael McDonald versions - so enjoy . . . and I'll stick to the songs that say 'Christmas' to me, like:

Any song from Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas score
Nat King Cole The Christmas Song
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Cannon
Andy Williams It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Harry Connick Jr I Pray on Christmas
Mahalia Jackson O Holy Night and One for the little Bitty Baby
Charlotte Church Ding, Dong, Merrily on High

Hope your weekend is full of the music you love!


  1. Being of the Woodstock generation, I have a true appreciation of Bob Dylan's poetry (lyrics). In fact, we dissected the lyric (poem) to "A Hard Rain Is A Gonna Fall" in my English Lit class. I guess you had to live in the 60's to understand that it was that attitude and passion that made it possible to have a black president today.

    On another note, I still bring out the old Lennon Sisters Christmas album from the Lawrence Welk show in the 1950's. I think that makes me a fossil.

  2. I'm glad to hear you say that about Dylan; I thought it was just me.

  3. Jim - I know the Lennon Sisters album you're talking about! My grandmother had it and played it all the time. I have to confess that I did not like the Lawrence Welk show which I watched many Saturday nights with my grandmother. However, the Christmas show was fabulous - I always wanted to be one of the kids on the show. And what about those costumes?

    Christine - at least we know there are two of us!

    Thanks for stopping by,


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