Yuletide: Like a Boat

Crappy boat metaphor helps fill Christmas albums, too. Ahoy.

BIG BLUE ALERT for the rap from Coi Leray (ft. Dess Dior & Maliibu Miitch) wishing a “Merry Xmas” to all the boys whether they locked up in the penitentiary or wildin’ on the boat. Spirited, but what’s that boat about?

More rap from St. Crypt.: Cause I am tired of rowing a boat with my bros but when I am not looking they drilling some holes (Holes!) Self sabotaging, i guess. But “Crypt” is about not really being yourself. Like the true spirit of Xmas. Or sumpn.

Cuter rap makes me realize the dearth of figurative language in our language and in our rap. “Holiday Jam” by ajasont notes that the cider is steaming like a boat. Now that’s just silly.

Nervous about family together and “For Those Who Can’t Be Here,” Tom Walker folk-pops: ‘Round the table banter flows Prayin’ no one rocks the boat. Careful now.

Sinking Ships For Other Assorted Holidays” by Bad Witch employs pissed out figurative language to liven up the rock and roll. It’s a fun mess.

Tori Amos offers We’ll sail on a Christmastide.” Indie grrl pop floats my boat. But this seems more pagan than reverent.

Off topic (perhaps), is “Tomato Christmas” from Eric Holm. More thick poetry: Oh, the Summer’s ripe in the face of its death And all the spirits of the departed  Carry our boat over the lake with the force of their breath. It’s August. Perhaps the boat is real, but Christmas is the metaphor.

The Shanks describe “When My Ship Hits Christmas Day” with weird brassy pop rock (like Chicago?). I don’t get it, but i’m dancing.

Bound for Bethlehem” is a fine Celtic carol from The Barra NacNeils about the pilgrimage to the birthplace. But it’s by boat. To a landlocked place. Or is it by angel–? Are we dead?

Yuletide: Flying Dutchman

Sometimes the ocean-going way is so seductive, it invades our carols without our faces filled with actual salt spray. These metaphors can be powerful.

Check out Carbon Leaf’s “Christmas at Sea.” C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-S. O. S.: A boat afloat at sea; Row you to me–Christmas at sea. Charming indie about missing you.

Alkaline Trio headbands the punk of “Snake Oil Tanker” with observations like: This time you’ve dug yourself an anchor too heavy to move ahead with. It’s never felt colder at Christmas. So there. Bang.

The Spongetones bring an elegant classiness to their mixed metaphor poetry piano bar tune “There’s a Star.” Starts with a ship and a shore. There’s Christmas in there… Must be something about redemption.

A tight squeeze in this category “Christmas Time in Motor City” is dandy industrial rock (multi-media) from Was (Not Was). An ugly cityscape ends with the image: I sit and watch the traffic panic, it sails away, Look at this…It’s Christmas Day… Noice.

Yuletide: Red Skies at Night

Why not just sail away and leave all those troubles (surely not Xmas induced) away.

David Ker is truly troubadour in “My Little Jingle.” He’s alone, but in his (metaphorical?) boat he encounters whales and sea horses… but not you. Adorable indie.

Similarly Plunkett’s friends have left: This year everything is on sale, And all my friends have set sail To do much better things. so goes the most indie of alts “Sad Christmas.” By–ee!

So we begin to see boats are more than literal. Engelbert Humperdinck rides his mid-century modern styles with “A Night to Remember.” It’s all sugary mush: Dreamers who travel the skies As we sail on the glow Of a fire burning glow.

Yuletide: Above Board

Old salts know how to make the best of a bad thing.

Robert Palomo tries the parody tack with “Sailor Christmas Carols.” Hard workin’ men havin’ a larf.

The Green Monkey Christmas Chorale (feat. Gary Minkler) get into character with “Xmas Time for Sailors.”

A Yuletide Sea Shanty” is a fun curiosity from Steve Parsons. Sung here by the Excelsia Singers this operatic tale of tempest tossed sailors visited by Santa & The Reindeer becomes comic, in a good way.

Yuletide: Poopdeck

Old timey sailors had it even harder. For Christmas.

1980s pop (with a gospel influence) may not be ancient, but Goombay Dance Band’s “Christmas at Sea” is about a simpler time. The tragedy is not being with family. That’s pretty much it. But you can dance to it.

Meg Davis runs over octaves with her classic operetta offering “Christmas at Sea.” It hurts to hear about it.

Old fashioned folk/country from Lloyd Snow brings in a Celtic influence. “Christmas at Sea” is frothy and light, but that’s only the foam floating on top. Its depths’ll kill.

Yuletide: Keelhauled

How bad does it get for sailors at sea? No turndown service?!

Loneliness may be balanced with banquets in “A Maritime Christmas.” But Lee Murdock returns to slowly, sadly reveal at sea it be Christmas in song only. Shanty.

The worst of Sara Noelle’s “Christmas at Sea“‘s experience is not having Christmas at land. Autotuned ethereality about, i suppose, heartbreak.

Gabriel Minnikin balladeers the worst of weather in his banjo-driven indie-gospel “Christmas at Sea.” Hold fast!

Out of mothballs Scythian brings us “The Wellerman Christmas” which is just the old sing-along Wellerman about the whale that won’t let go, but with an appeal to Christ born near the end. I mean, that ship is being dragged ’round the world to no end. Fun stuff.

Frozen tea, lashings, pouring rain… “It’s Hard to be a Shantyman (On Christmas),” at least according to The Longest Johns (again). Advice: Grin and find some yuletide cheer— Brave, me buckos. Keep it shanty!

Yuletide: Warship

Mostly sailors an conscripted onto their floating death traps. Few do it as a lark, a look-see ’round the world. Doesn’t mean they can’t have a good time, but no one cares that they do.

Classic The Who explore the Cold War tensions with “Rael Pt.1 and Pt. 2.” In this rock opera, China threatens Israel with naval might. Now Captain, listen to my instructions: Return to this spot on Christmas Day, Look toward the shore for my signal. Will it be war? Townsend never finished this….

In Doug Stone’s hokey country “Sailing Home for Christmas” the troops are headed to a foreign shore. They’ll be home ONLY in their dreams. Psych! (Which war? You decide!)

Little Red Ambulance’s “Sailing Home for Christmas” rocks pop in a responsible way. Besides which the sailors have been gone for seven months and are honestly homeward bound in time for the holidays. Celebratory.

Yuletide: Hardship

Life at sea is not easy. There’s wet shoes, nausea, and death.

Dumpster Company worries about the dark, buoyancy, and cold when it’s “Christmas on a Boat.” This ’60s jazz band easy listening is a hoot and then some. Poor guys.

And then there’s seasickness: North Pole Fisherman’s Association treads water with “Check Below the Deck for Rollie.” To the tune of ‘Deck the Halls.’ Barf. (If you’re biting the whole parody album is available: A Fisherman’s Christmas Carols. It fills a niche.

Sting tackles classic poetry with “Christmas at Sea,” a regretful adventure into cold and covetousness. But the Celtic singers add an ethereal weirdness.

This same Robert Louis Stevenson poem, “Christmas at Sea,” receives a good turn from Neil Adam & Judy Turner. Sad strings, brave vocals, classically influence folk… this tough time is an enjoyable song. [For comparison, Rob Winder recites this bit with tragic musicality.]

Combining both of those approaches, The Longest Johns a cappella their “Christmas at Sea” like an oral tradition you’d best heed. Lessons here.

Yuletide: Grog

Sailors work hard for their pay, and a ration of rum. Do they overindulge given the chance?

Christmas Card from a Drunken Sailor” is a gentle, almost soothing ballad from Rob Snarski. No F-bombs. Just regret.

What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor Early Christmas Morning?” asks the Windy City Gay Chorus. Frivolity ensues. And side-taking.

Not to be out-twisted, Alexander P. treats us to “What Shall We Do with a Drunken Santa?” The steps differ, and the tempo runs crazy. [Less imaginative, but Bee-you-ti-fully sung comes the Tawny Shantymen version.] [Amped up comes The Georgia Tech Glee Club with a rapid retelling.]

Yuletide: Land Ho

Let’s bring ’round the professionals: sailors. For Christmas.

Skinny Lister has a hornpipe of no little merit hailing the setting of sail, and also of the return: Home again for Christmas “If the Gaff Don’t Let Us Down.” So big party when not drowned. It’s dance-inducing.

Homeward bound for the holidays, still the sailor spends Christmas in a harbor on the boat. Jeff Brown’s “Sailor’s Christmas” is nearly romantic, but the harsh harmonica in this breezy folk rock recalls us the hard times. (Yeah it’s Jimmy Buffett‘s song. So what.)

also on the way to land comes the indie/easy listening pop of “Sailor It’s Christmas Again” as posted by vandmalonogskid. Tubular bells, matey.

The Out of Tuna’s count time to “A Shanty’s Christmas.” It’s full of hope and is softly melodic for all its sailor-tom.