Good Bells

The example from Christmas is not just to be good to God, but to each other. It’s peace on earth, goodwill on the porch. For all. Get it?

The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (a peace offering for Civil War firebrands) gets musical traction starting in the ’50s with Bing (preachy, I’d say The Carpenters did it better–more soulful). But you want something different in your novelty library, so check out Counting Crowns (a Christian chart-topper). Hey, that’s a different tune! Then check out Pedro the Lion who has all the time in the world to drag the song out for about a month of music. Except i can’t tell if that’s music back there. Even the bells are on 1/1 time.

The Ding Dong song “Caroling Caroling (Christmas Bells are Ringing)” was some cool cadences brought to you by mac daddy Nat King Cole, also in the ’50s. It’s so full of joy, you have to get some spirit–or else. So give it up for Tennessee Ernie Ford for blending his big booming intimidating baritone with the whole choir. Nice. For an oddity, try the syncopation of Reindeer Tribe. And finally, the electronica of House of Wires. Robo-glee.

I have a soft spot for the song that uses ten words or less, over and over and over. “Christmas Bells” by Sarah Winter is folk/pop church yippee-ness, but with its limited vocabulary doesn’t quite mention any carpenters.

Mary Chapin Carpenter reminds us when the “Bells are Ringing” that, no matter what you don’t have, peace is possible. It’s that kind of soft country that can move a body. Thank you.