Wrap the Rainbow: (Afric) black

Even though Christmas has become an amalgamation of many cultural celebrations, the anglo-white version gets the widest play. But true Christians welcome all comers to the fold. So let’s go black (we might never come back) with Akim and Teddy Vann’s 1973 “Santa Claus is a Black Man.” Get adorable, get funky.

On a community stage with a slowly warming audience, GloZell leads guilty white West Coast Singers in a rousing (tinny recording of) “Black Christmas.” Now we see what black means to faith, hope, charity, and novelty Christmas songs.

More audible and just as reactionary, The Harlem Children’s Chorus sing “Black Christmas.” They do make a point, they just don’t make a beautiful song. Richard Wolfe has a more honest version that testifies.

Add more funk and pour in the soul and Rose Graham delivers “Black Christmas” so that you can not avoid her raw pain. Don Smith makes the same song more personal, and a little more disco.

Motown, mo’ music! The Emotions sing “Black Christmas” with angelic harmonies and soft-pedaled race relations. Just how soulful white people want to buy it.

Wrap the Rainbow: (disastrous) black

Black can be the worst mood, the scariest night, the killingest plague. Some people don’t like black.

Satan and the Reindeer Butchers kill ‘White Christmas’ with their “A Black Xmas.” For all that’s holy  BLUE ALERT!! (for the next six or so)

Amana Reign mixes media to freak you out with their “Black Christmas.” Those boys are so loud! But their lyrics don’t go far enough to make a counter culture point.

Well, then, let’s try some metal: Venom plays “Black Xmas” for the Devil. So that’s not the same Xmas you and i know.

A bit more angry and musically inclined Prison of Blues growls out “Black X-Mas” like they have an important lessen you can pogo to,

Run Moon parleys wicca into goth with her “Black Christmas:” Prison of Blues growls out “Black X-Mas” a piss and moan list of what disappoints her about the holiday. Her rat-a-tat chant gives her song more rah rah than rant rant. Hard to take her cutie-pie anger seriously.

Attempting mood through reverb, Hellfunk ups the melodic quotient with “I’m Dreaming of a Black Xmas.” Black here is absolute night, the absence of any grace or goodness. Get that first guy a lozenge!

Oozing with 1970s BBC snark, High Contrast speechify their “Black Christmas” so you get a sense of working class rap, but Liverpudlian, not Compton. Hitler is mentioned. Subtlety is not  considered appropriate.

Bill Collins and MDC play British punk for another “Black Christmas” in which black= no hope, no cheer. Yell if you hate your parents too.

But we can criticize the very tenants of Xianity and still be jolly, can’t we? Try post feminist punker Poly Styrene and her London low down: “Black Christmas.” She’s a damfine musician and her satire is danceable. The attention-deficit video makes Santa into a nightmare.

Wrap the rainbow: grey

Grey is not simply indistinct and neutral: it’s camouflage.

Combat Grey (A Christmas Song)” by Weekend Duty tells how Santa’s flying in an F-16 because that’s cool and ‘Merican and stuff.

The Not Marys equate the grey with urban insignificance in their “Grey Christmas (Christmas in the City Vol. 2).” It’s alt punk/folk with a whispery female vocal (Allison Craig) that trails around the scales like an acid trip.

I attempted to avoid the Blues when we covered the color blue, but here i’m drawn to King Coleman screamin’ down the Blues with “Blue Grey Christmas.” Now i don’t suppose this harkens back to the Civil War… so i guess i’ll admit that it ain’t white, it ain’t black, and it IS the blues! Wild, man, wild.

Wrap the Rainbow: silver

We’re in-between white and black for a couple tones.

‘Silver Bells’ rules the Xmas Lists of Songs since the 1951 Bob Hope movie it premiered in. It does not share its color well with others. So we’ll make fun of it, just a bit, with Jay Livingston and Ray Evans hypothesizing “Silver Balls.” Worth watching and you should be taking notes.

Let’s admit that sliver should be for bells and ornaments–but somewhere by the 1960s some of us thought the whole tree should be silver.

Steve Weeks gently rocks and rolls with his “Aluminum Christmas Tree.” Oh, the adventures he has with his new retro friend!

Country comedy comes from David DeBoy in “Aluminum Christmas Tree.” Jokes, jokes, jokes!

The big joy with aluminum trees, was lighting them any color you wanted (even TV shimmery), as told by Benny Grunch in “I Could See the Aluminum Tree Through the Pitcha Winda.” Nostalgia from the lower classes!

In fact, let’s turn on “The Color Wheel Christmas Song” by Brad Stubbs. It blends rock and pop so you can taste mild psychedelic bubble gum.

Wait’ll you get a load of The Alcoa Singers (actually The Pittsburgh Flashcats) praising their tree with “Aluminum, Aluminum” (to the tune of ‘O Tannenbaum’). You’ll wonder where you can get one!

Wrap the Rainbow: (caucasian) white

White, as with all colors (and it is all colors in a light sense), means more than hue. Here it means power. A power that does not allow for others. Or ruins everything for its own selfish gain.

Tom Latourette responds to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly averring that “Santa Claus MUST be White” with appropriate lounge lizard style. Hey!

And then Lauren Mayer gets irving berliner with “(Megan Kelly’s Dreaming of a) White Christmas.” A homey singalong reminiscent of the opening of All in the Family.

Chiming in also are the drag cappella group Kinsey Sicks with “I’m Dreaming of a White Santa.” Well, of course you are with your daddy issues, dear.

Going pop country protest on the same topic, Greg Gower sings “Christmas White.” It’s catchy and only mildly angry. What musical fun!

Tweaking racism, Sean Hardin and Jared Mathis play the WASP rap game for the holidays in “White Boy Christmas.” They do know making fun of Caucasian ignorance foments the differences–don’t they?

This, sadly, leads us to the inevitable “White Trash Christmas” made a big deal by Bob Rivers. No redneck joke was left unturned. An actual white trash version is posted by Ryley Olsen. Laff trax! Exploding sound effects! More fun (with a Louisiana twist) is “White Trash Christmas” as posted by don’tlOOkback’s channel. Austin Church goes seriously gravelly country as if he had a message the liberals needed heedin’ with “Another White Trash Christmas.”

More on point, The Jody Dean Singers (as featured on KLUV) parody Wild Cherry with “Play that Christmas Music, White Boy.” It’s mass market radio humor like you like it! Satire about the whole culture of Christmas.

Wrap the Rainbow: white

The eight hundred pound gorilla in the room is Bing Crosby’s soundtrack cut from 1942–the biggest selling most recorded Christmas song of all time. No room for that here (although I like the hard to find Irish jig version with cabaret storytelling popularized by Daniel O’Donnell):


No reggae, punk, a cappella, pornographic, chanukah parody, or gospel interpretations–no. Something else in white, please.

We just visited Australia last month with “Six White Boomers” about freaky kangaroos leading Santa’s sleigh. Here’s a hair-metal rock version from The Fleshtones.

And I might mention Little Joey Farr’s sensational rockabilly sound a la 1961 “Big White Cadillac,” but i think i need a whole automotive section for Xmas tunes coming up soon.

And now for something completely differently white: Lorena & the Raving Reindeers attempt to make you think of Christmas with a hooting saxophone drowning out the lyrics to “(I Need a Prince on a) White Reindeer.” This is an alt rock dance/fantasy number that doesn’t really know what to make of itself.

You want a pretty Christmas song about Whiteness? Try Tim Minchin’s rambling, stream-of-consciousness piano poetry “White Wine in the Sun.” It seems a personal examination of the That time of year with insight and imagery. It’s a show stopper. Bravo.

Feeling down then? As bad off as Gilbert O’Sullivan? No? Here, then: his “I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas.” A remedy to tenderness is the dismissal of personal wishes and the futile, monotone hope for the entire world to just not be a dick.

Of course of course of course, i have to include Dick Shawn’s “Snow Miser” number from the Rankin Bass A Year Without Santa Claus. Toe tappin’, finger snappin’, show rappin’–it’s happenin’! Let it happen to you! He’s Mr. WHITE Christmas. Like a character from Reservoir Dogs.

Wrap the Rainbow: purple

Not so much with the indigo and violet Xmas.

There are a couple parodies of ‘Purple Rain’ substituting “Christmas Rain” without much ado. Crazy Elliot from Medicinal Hat tries for that old bluesy rock. Check out the gogo dancer in the background.

Yuko Yuko and Jaab of Purple Noise Record Club get all retro with mixed media filters and video tape sfx in “It’s a Purple Christmas.” You’ll have to agree, it’s a purple Christmas,


Wrap the Rainbow: blue


Sorry, but we’re not going through the dozens of covers, interps, and re-imaginings of that old thing (Elvis was NOT THE FIRST, by the way). No. No, no no. Not even if some of them are pretty damn amusing, like Seymour Swine and Benny Grunch.

Not that we’ll miss out on the sentimental mush: Kaitlyn Maher sings “My Blue Christmas” in a clip from that holiday classic Santa Paws 2. Go ahead and cry.

Yes, it’s mostly sad when you’re blue, but it doesn’t have to be! Blue skies, true blue, blue-eyes… even the dichotomy of blue blood/blue collar happens more often than once in a blue moon!

Blue can mean cold. (Well, i’ve already shared my favorite “Blue and Cold” Christmas tune by Versus the World last 4/11/16.) She’s dead, man.

And sometimes it’s just a color–a sports team color, that is! Jeremiah Rufini cheers “Make My Blue Christmas Green” about his hockey team. No, hang on, that still means blue = sad, Dammit.

Squidbillies’ own Stuart Daniels Baker, better known as Unknown Hinson, puts a darkly comic edge on classic country, viz. his “Black and Blue Christmas” which is about classic domestic violence. Go ahead and not laugh.

Red, White, and Blue Christmas” by George Pardo and J. Gale Kilgore should be getting us pumped and patritoic, but the creepy children’s electric organ and tambourine make me down as down can be.

Jamie Rickers, a UK TV personality, has concocted a “Blue Santa” in order to challenge our limited view of the jolly old elf’s sartorial selections. Sadly, this gem of an idea leads nowhere.

Well, we best embrace the drear. Rheal LeBlanc goes country depressed after some kind of break up with his “Blue Christmas Tree.” Ole.

Buck Owens country croons “Blue Christmas Lights” competing with the steel guitar for longest held note, or the best imitation of weeping.

Also extending the color by tearing open the wrapper a bit is Wayne Newton with “Blue Snow at Christmas.” He’s lonely, danke very much.

This tinkly thoughtful honky tonker is not to confused with the country crooner “Blue Snowfall” which was made into a commercial recording by George Morgan, but i prefer the pretty pairing of Johnny Mathis and Lorrie Morgan. It soars and swoops and begs to be made into a montage.

Fighting the blues, Natalie Cole answers back with “No More Blue Christmas.” She’s gonna stand up and be empowered with her ’70s soul, you doubters! Represent.

In fact, let’s leave The Blues (and Bluegrass for that matter) to their respective genres and explore them more later.

And yet, Miles Davis beats the nik out of “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern),” a frosty jazz rap from the ’50s full of vitamin hep and what’s cool for ya.

Wrap the Rainbow: green

Most famously, Stan Freberg does a crit of crass commercialism with “Green Chri$tma$” (green for money, not trees, you see) and i don’t feel the need to repeat something so well known here.

“Green” can mean pot–marijuana, did you know? Taurean J hyperventilates their rap with “Green Xmas.” BLUE ALERT for those who listen to lyrics.

Also lefty leaning are the Elf Cottage Elves, caroling about global warming dangers and what you should be doing with their “Green Christmas.

Anthony McKeon goes radical in Sydney with his “Christmas Song.” It seems to be about going green (the red coke sign behind him is made that other color), but it’s all done through a megaphone. I feel him; i can’t hear him.

Hoping for a Christmas hit, Joe Hammel mines new material: “The Aluminum Christmas Tree” wishes it were green. But then it finds out… that Joe Hammel can’t really sing.

Humor break! mc lars babbles about “Gary the Green-Nosed Reindeer,” a half-brother of Rudolph who is forgotten ‘like President Taft.’ Fortunately Gary does not have a sinus problem, only an overwhelming need to live up to his sibling’s rep. He does. World saved. He has a further screed about the rising temps and CO2 levels with “I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas.” Meh. A cow?

Better humor!? Awesome Xmas parody band The ’60s Invasion takes on the Lemon Pipers’ 1967 ‘Green Tambourine’ with their “Green Christmas Tree.” My brand of hilarity with ornaments.

If you want the rockabilly sound that only means music, bend an ear to the Unkool Hillbillies, Swedes who make you going to sock the hop, and “Green Christmas.” I think they want you to dance dance dance and not be the color blue. Not sure what else.

Also figuratively unspecific is Martin Novales, whose sweet pop “Green Christmas” seems to include trees and mistletoe and avoid the white. Is it rehab, maybe?

Joining the sentiment, calypso in hand, The Great John L. warbles about his “Green Christmas” from the Virgin Islands. No white! Santa got water in his eye!

“Green Christmas” has in fact come to mean a raging lack of traditional features, like snow. Which can result in some Scrooge-like symptoms, or at least the lack of treasuring close, crowded, family-filled places as outlined by Barenaked Ladies in their mall-muzak friendly pop version, and also as delineated by George S. Irving playing the cult favorite Mr. Heat Miser in ‘A Year Without Santa Claus,’ the 1974 Rankin Bass animated TV special (which had a 2008 sequel featuring Heat Miser and Snow Miser [Dick Shawn]). This fabulous Broadway actor (and voice actor: narrator in Underdog cartoons) owned the often imitated song occasionally known as “Green Christmas.”