On Track to Xmas: Lionel Trains (“Toys To Grow Up With, Not Out Of”)!

How long ago was the toy train the end all and be all of Christmas gifts?

Someone convinced Johnny Cash (in 1972) to try out some Bing Crosby vibes and thus we have “That Christmassy Feeling.” This sappy country hopes for good will toward all men, holding hands, and my boy wants a little toy train. Why thay’s jus’ middle class fo’k.

Frankie Lymon (1957) points out with childish tenor “It’s Christmas Once Again.” You know, that time of dollies and shiny choo choo trains. Marvelous R+B.

Pink Floyd’s basement tape “The Merry Xmas Song” is (1969) witty noodling of a more classical nature. The list of childish delights here includes dolls and gollywogs and clockwork trains, Trams, tin soldiers and little model planes.

Christmas Countdown: 10 count

New Years is the time to countdown from 10; yet it is only one of the Happy Holidays. So go.

[Some counting songs don’t go up to 12, but only up to 10. My favorite is “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” (here by the Skaggs Family)–a Bible study number that only nudges ‘gainst Xmas. For novelty sake, The Christmas Pranksters ‘poon this with “Children, Go There and Spend Thee.” I’m counting it.]

Jenx wants (for New Year’s Eve) to Countdown from 10 and now we’re here, Hoping to go back in time, to relive this 25th one last time. “Everything You Need for Christmas” is a party pop anthem with cutesy slurring for to be alluring. Brassy.

Anika Dzulkiflee celebrates coming through a tough Christmas with “This Moment” where, with poorly recording timpanic pop, she begins the countdown to the First.

Christmas, yea, but New Years is almost here chimes Elle Hills: 10, 9, 8… belying her “Christmas is Here” pop theme. There is no now, only new.

Counting down like New Years 10 to zero, soft raps Goodxj in a positively loving ode to Xmas. “This Christmas” is a happy place.

Counting up is cool, as well. Count to ten, and close your eyes; You’ll see, it’s Christmas time, ends Sarah Reynolds with a plaintive showtune “Christmas Time is Here.” Simple stuff, but evangelical.

Getting around to actual Xmas: John Legend swings, I count one, two, three four, up to ten From the beginning until the end, Celebrating merry, merry Christmas time with you. This jazzy soul number can count to a million s’far as i’m concerned. “Merry Merry Christmas.” Man.

Ethereal plucking and falsetto pitch us toward the 25th: Open the windows and count to 10 (then something about lords leaping–why?!). This clockwork wonder, “Yule Nog Waltz,” is short but so very worth it.

Ghost of Christmas Pastiche: Bach/Mozart

While delving into my fave-aroo phylum of novelty carol (the straight up parody of pop music into holiday humor) ANOTHER extra-nerdy subgenre presented itself: the traditional carol ‘in the style of’ someone famous. Please don’t misunderstand, i know nearly anyone can sing an old Xmas song in the strangled vocal impressions of Arnold, or Gollum, or Yoko Ono et al. But that’s not terribly funny. In fact it’s schtick best consumed impaired. What i’m getting at here is the masterful homage to an iconic style of music, a real treat that blends and bends, fuses and abuses the senses into an elevated state of yule-ocity.

(Honestly, this is a super weird sub-sub-genre and i’m not gonna find much… i’m going to pad out this month with actual parodies, cuz: LUVVUM! So enjoy these few and tip me to more, pls.)

Try this on:

A couple forward-thinking chamber orchestras (at least) have performed What If Baroque Masters composed those seasonal standards we hear annually.

Kjell Magne Robak kills it with”What If Bach Wrote ‘Last Christmas’?” (with a little help from Mozart). Points for acting it out.

Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia play the Caribbean spiritual “The Virign Mary Had a Baby Boy” like Handel (or something… i don’t get the nuances of the 17th – 18th Centuries). Points for oddness.

The Northern Lights Orchestra have a nice album with entitled What if Mozart wrote “White Christmas“? with “Let it Snow,” and–wait for it–“The Chipmunk Song.” This might be better than you think it is.

The mashup dearest to my heart (had it for twenty years) is The Hampton String Quartet’s “Frosty the Snowman” if Mozart had written it. Although, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” ain’t too bad.