Wrap the Rainbow: gold

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.

Manger Management: kitty carols

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!

Manger Management: Rodent Rites (3)

Some of these miracle and mouse-tery plays come on country strong. Randy Plummer for one is hacking on his axe for his ministries and passing the plate for “Squeaky the Christmas Mouse.” Worship on, bro.

Mellow FM country (with a smiling wink) comes from Ralph and Red and their “Wilbur the Christmas Mouse.” It’s half kids’ music and the lesson is hammered down hard. But the production values lift this up to humorous hymnal.

At times, we ironically applaud the awful merry mouse songs. This still raises them to odd pop levels. WXRT makes a fuss aboutr playing “The Christmas Mouse” only once a year, advance-noticing the audience so that some of them can record and post them. Kelli Juzwiak’s isn’t the best sound quality, but i like th DJ lead-in and the nonsensical fan-video she improvs during its play on her laptop.

Taking a 180, some critter-mas celebration is Totes Serious. Suzy Arnowitz’s album of children’s book inspired songs includes “A Redwall Winter’s Tale.” I mean, like A Tale of Fire and Ice, Brian Jacques’s books don’t have a Christ, just a need to celebrate this time of year. Granted, the Great Being here is Snow Badger… but it’s a mouse’s song.


Even more elvevated is the music inspired by The Wind in the Willows written up by  Kenneth Grahame and Jonathan David Dixon and here sung by an uncredited choir. “Carol of the Field-Mice.” All creatures great and small, after all.


Baby It’s Cold: 1957 identity crisis

Welcome to Nineteen Hundred Fifty-Seven. A couple months after Humphrey Bogart dies the American Cancer Society publishes a paper accusing cigarette smoking as causing cancer. The American juvenile delinquent epidemic is touted, clouted, and flouted. A bit later in the year, Kerouac’s  On the Road is published. After several failed USA Atlas rocket launches, USSR’s Sputnik successfully circles the planet. During this year Atlas Shrugged and The Cat in the Hat are published. Go, cat, go.

Life is getting more absurd by the moment. The new rock ‘n’ roll music celebrates this craziness, as well as allowing its primal beatability to carry the overwhelmed young person away like at a revival tent meeting.

Not that ’57 bridges the generational voids easily. We still get Big Carols (now in convenient 10-song 33 1/3 rpm vinyl libraries) from the likes of Bing Crosby (last last generation)(“How Lovely is Christmas“) and Frank Sinatra (last generation)(“The Christmas Waltz“), and Pat Boone (the anti-new generation)(can’t bring myself to link to any of his old stuff!). Footnotationally, please contextualize the New Generation’s Elvis (“Blue Christmas”–recycled from Ernest Tubb and Doye O’Dell) as strange and disturbing back in this old age.

The old guard clung to their old musical style, but could still be naughty. Sex symbol Julie London hit big in 1955 with ‘Cry Me a River.’ So, here in ’57 she tries out the whispery, intimate, sensual style with “I’d Like You for Christmas.” Playboy magazine has been spreading its circulation for a few years by now, you know. Time to titillate the tinsel.

Contrariwise, wholesome daughter of Kitty Wells, Ruby Wright, lends her next-door-girl pipes (with an adorable childrens’ back up) to “Let’s Light the Christmas Tree.

Now, to keep your skills in rhetorical logic even more off balance, here is a different singer also named Ruby Wright, also singing with kids, also releasing in 1957: “Merry, Merry Christmas.” Yeah, she does sound cooler.

Frankie Lymon’s The Teenagers hit big last year with ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love.’ This year he solos a real downer “It’s Christmas Once Again.” Didn’t make me wanna dance. Maybe question my existence.

The 5 Keys grew out of an R&B foursome in the ’40s. They went through group changes and recording tragedies. “Every Heart is Home at Christmas” may represent an early ’50s effort, but at least one site claims airplay in 1957. It’s hep, so we can fully recover from the last song.

Well, i’m not sure how much more schizo i can get besides bebopping church music. The Norman Luboff Choir took a century old hymn and jazzed up the gospel. “Mary had a Baby (Amen)” does make me wanna dance. Hallelujah.

A Month of Love: Sandi Patty

I don’t mean to hopscotch from awesome to awful and sometimes to inbetween so much… but i find better odd holiday tunes that way.

Sandi Patty has been a Christian staple for so long: practically an album a year since 1978 (including 7 Xmas albums, and exclusives for Target, Hallmark and Walmart). She does power gospel ballads. You’ve gotta respect the range… although i do lose my place at times (what was she singing about again? oh, yeah, God!). The last minute of “Merry Christmas with Love” is a whole ‘nother song (‘Have Yourself etc.’ –turns out that old chestnut is better shorter).

A Month of Love: The Skaggs Family

One aspect of love in the New Testament affection, wherein Baby J embodies The Holy Head-Guy’s love for all us’n. Christmas is thus the introduction of perfect love. Amen.

“Love Came Gently,” penned by Marty Funderbark only a dozen years ago (from aught i can tell), poetically plays out this personification through the Nativity. It’s pretty.

Many a congregational choir has comforted seekers with this balm/psalm. My fave-o is the hold-it… hold-it… hold-that-note rendition by Christmas Blessing (featuring the Salvation Army Band).

You can ‘tube the other soloists to compare nuances… they are all cut from the same orchestration machination to me. I’ll encore with Mrs. Ricky Skaggs. That family gives good Christmas album. So here’s Sharon White Skaggs with “Love Came Gently.”