Not much lyricism over pressed old apples, hardly fermented by late December. We’ll settle over up with a bouncy, jazzy gospel piece from Carmela Estella Ross. Her “Apple Cider and Fruit Cake” is one of those token spreads to entice you to her hard driving sermon about Our Lord. You know like stale cookies and burnt coffee at AA meetings.
Before we fade out on the Galilean, the Nazarene’s big day, let’s consider the nativity as a place in time. The setting is so much a part of the story, we’ll thumb through a couple Bethlehem songs.
There are so many in the hymn book….
Making a pop album out of world weary traditionals may tax an artist. So palm branches to Chicago for an original song “Bethlehem” that beat boxes the limited band instruments into a holy moly melee.
Third Day pokes the folk bear with strumming and humming throughout “Born in Bethlehem.” This monotonous metronome of music rocks just a wee bit.
But if you’re holding out for a foreign language travelogue, this Hungarian version of “Betlehem, Betlehem” haunts and daunts the human spirit. Eerie. [Although i prefer the studio version from the album Xmas Marks the Spot. Cool kick beat.]
Do you believe scripture and verse about the night in the barn and the virgin birth?
Some songs lean on the lesson a bit too hard and become a bit… shall we say ‘camp’?
It’s country-time harmonizing like the church choir when The Gatlin Brothers pull every loose thread out of the robe of “Sweet Baby Jesus.” They so mean it!
Kingdom Heirs pun up the praise with “Hay Baby.” Fiddlin’, yet serious fun!
The Statler Brothers poker face the cheese corn out of “Who Do You Think?” Catch the oompah beat and feel the years pass you by!
The Oak Ridge Boys, earnest emissaries of evangelicalism, head the list of the country crown slingers(George Strait, Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, Kathy Mattea, Lee Ann Womack, and Keith Whitley) who have heralded “There’s a New Kid in Town.” It uses vernacular to revere the Almighty: swoon you must.
What’s in a name? Well, Adolf Christ probably wouldn’t have worked so well.
Plain folk singer Pete Seeger muses through “Glory to That Newborn King.” It’s close, intimate, and moving.
Leave it to gospel man Kirk Franklin to explain that “Something about the Name Jesus” means everything. (I heard it was a variant of Joshua anyway.) There’ some trouble ending a joyful refrain here though.
Vanessa Bell Armstrong funks up the soul for a wonderful testament to the time and place of the birth of the Light of the World, despite the over-tympanification. “The Inn Keeper” is a song to feel deep down into your faith organs.
Mary gets good hallelujah this time of the year. Heck we include her name in seasons’ greetings (misspelled). It’s a chore to create the Creator.
The Advent gets some diva note manipulation with Francesca Battistelli in “Be Born in Me (Mary).” It takes about two minutes of warm up to get to the singing, but the virtuoso is foretold.
Amy Grant labor coaches the old girl with “Almost There.” It’s a lilting uplifting appreciation of motherhood.
Hal Leonard and Shawnee Press Church Choral church “Almost There” up a notch and make a village out of the delivery process. I see the crown!
Is Santa his real name? Is it Kris? Or Billy?
We may not ever know who this guy is.
Here are some guesses who he could actually be in his spare time.
Of course Bob Rivers has an opinion. He claims, in his best der Bingle, that “There’s a Santa Who Looks a Lot Like Elvis” down at the K-Mart store. Wait, who’s standing in for whom?
Ralph Garman similarly wonders who the real Marshall Bruce Mathers III is in his Kevin and Bean radio parody “The Real Slim Santa.” It’s a shady present no matter how you rap it.
Lee Stranger gets rock and revival with his electric “I Wanted Christ and You Gave Me Santa Claus.” Are you sure they’re two different people? I’ve never seen them together….
Gold is obviously more than a color, it’s one of the honorable gifts. (As demonstrated in Traveler’s “Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.” Rock the casbah, guys!) And it’s the composition of the five rings in that song (not about Hobbits, the other one). Of course there’s that other other song, by Burl Ives, which will also be dismissed. It’s no longer novelty if EVERYONE’s heard it, pretty as it may be. What we need here is an acknowledgement of the essence of gold for Christmas.
At least one, fairly recent, Christmas Carol musical adaptation (by Chris Blackwood; music by Piers Chater Robinson) mentions Scrooge’s “Heart of Gold,” but this song is specially ironical in that his past love, Belle, was hoping he had a nonpareil personality–not an avaricious soul.
Cledus T. Judd gets funky with his rapper alternate parodying ‘Two Front Teeth’ with “All I Want for Christmas is Two Gold Front Teef.” The message is all acquisition and fronting. Cledus really goes for it and i admire you if you can listen to the whole thing
I’d like to feature the grown up music posted by Patrick Higgins entitled “Golden Christmas.” It’s haunting cowboy alt rock and sends me into dreams of lazy, thoughtful Christmas basking. But i can’t tell if the legend is the name of the song, the band, or the artwork/theme. The vocals are background for the plinking and strumming and meld into mood. Beautiful, but vague.
I guess it’s best summed by The Starshine Singers–and i really want to imagine them as wholesome, not drug addled, children–with “Christmas Gold,” a metaphor for the thought of the gifts, not their remunerative values.
More likely to knock over your tree and shred your stockings are our less domesticated pets: the felidae. Don’t scoff over-wearied youtube watchers, felines are serious matter all year, never more so than the holidays.
Stevecash83 “Christmas Kitty Song“is just as smugly annoying as cat owners but has a couple good lines.
The baby cats are playful and innocent and embody the Christmas spirit, so at times we may dance and frolic to the idea of “Kitty Cats’ Christmas” a la Leon Redbone. This is a good one, folks, so i recommend you lower the limbo pole and go to town here.
Cuddling wiff widdle furry balls of love should be tres sentimental, however, so let’s look at what the Whiskers Animal Benevolent League parodied out of ‘The Christmas Song’: “The Catmas Song.” Cure petlessness!
[And we’ve already referenced Ken Platt singing “Snowy the Christmas Kitten” from last 5/28… awwww.]
I know Egyptian mythology digs those crafty cats… but Christianity? Observe the reverence with which Meryn sings “The Cat Carol.” Baw whunh boo hoo! It makes me all weepy! Good kitty!
With greater harmony comes greater symbolism: David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing “The Cat and the Mouse Carol” Holy cats! It’s a manger puss! Recite your cat-echism!