FIFTY DAYS OF ‘MERICA-MAS
What a bounty of delicious delta delights. LA knows how to make merry.
Everyone knows the man with the tenor: Aaron Neville and “Louisiana Christmas Day” (one o’ my albums lists it as “Louisiana Christmas Carol”). No need to document the rolickin’ good time here. (Or mention the covers by boy-wonder Hunter Hayes and girl-duo B’tweenz–what is it about this catchy bit of ethnic fun that brings out the children to audition?)
Johnnie Allen does a fine cajun “It’s Christmas Time in Louisiana” all in creole–that’s a spicy patois! Vin Bruce also has a “Christmas on the Bayou” in Papa Noel’s native tongue. For Anglaise, check out Michael McDonald’s “Christmas on the Bayou.” This music is like triple espressos getting your heart hammering!
Fellowship Church Zachary brings us Roger Hornsby’s “Louisiana Christmas Time” on the ‘tube. It’s a tasty slice of holiday homecoming that gets the congregation chucklin’ and swayin’ with its message of fun and family. The man’s a Deep South Garrison Keillor. Uhhh, I mean that in a good way.
When you’re overwrought from all that dancing like Wise Men are watching, mellow down with Louis Armstrong’s “Christmas Time in New Orleans.” It’s smooth jazz, if a bit somnolent. (John Lee Sanders, James Andrews, and Joan Osborne [hers is the sexy one] float that flat boat, too.)
I can’t leave the Pelican State without a salute to one of my faves: Benny Grunch. He celebrates Another dialect of American English from around New Orleans apellated Yat (disputed). His album (with The Bunch) The 12 Yats of Christmas is a must have for Yule regionalists. In our present context, I must praise most highly “O Little Town of Destrehan”
and “Christmas in Chalmette.”
Don’t expect to understand the lyrics, but roll with it, y’all.
After all this festivity, I will tell you my pick of the state is “Louisiana Santa” by Wayne Toups off the wonderful compilation Christmas Gumbo. Toups is King of Cajun Singers, decorated with more awards for that kind of thing than any of those other gator caterwaulers. Love the tune, love the backup, love Toups’s Santa beard. I mean it’s about time we had some Santa.