X Files-mas: Mari Lwyd

A trip to South Wales reveals a tradition lost to time in which a horse’s head (skull) was set on a pole and followed house to house with singing for food and drink (wassailing). The translation for this community fete seems to be ‘gray mare’ or it could ‘blessed Mary’ bc of the wintry times it’s enacted. I’m betting on the former.

For local flavor let’s sample a Celtic verse: “Mari Lwyd” by Carreg Lafar. Huh? (Take it from me, the songs about this oddness are mostly NOT English.)

Eglish Acoustic Collective seem to codeswitch in their “Mari Lwyd.” Might be a manger in there.

Wassailing With The Mari Lwyd” by Sloar+Mordor gives a prog rock side to the hand out beggary.

S.J. Tucker sings to “Welcome Mari Lwyd” with New Age picking and thumping. Open that door, man!

House Made of Dawn is more threatening in the give and take of their “Mari Lwyd.” Stale bread!

A Silly Little Time takes the time to warn all outsiders of the “Mari Lwyd.” Scary stuff, but old folk Celtic so also pretty.

Yo Ho Ho Ho-Crossed Cannons album

The Crossed Cannons seem like a coupl’a talented guys. Their guitar, tambourine, drum and knee slapping creates just the right rum-soaked venue for their old-timey carol parodies. “Red Sky at Night” makes violent light of ‘Silent Night.’ But “Eggnog in a Jar” is way old world folk. Not sure of it’s source. “Roll Santa’s Sleigh Along” is pure shanty. Fun for the whole family, with less pirate rage. “I’m Stuck in the Chimney” is sing-along cute. There’re a couple near-misses, but overall, A Pirate Christmas Story is a great addition to your pirate Christmas music collection. There is also a video of their show with amusing patter.

Yo Ho Ho Ho-Grog’n’Ale

Ross Mayhew stands and delivers (somewhat effetely) “A Pirate’s Christmas Eve.” He’s hoping for plunder under his tree, but seems to be part of the hard-partying crew. Still, this jolly ditty is just off enough to arouse the blog.

The Jolly Rogers roust up some gee-dee fine pirate shanties if that be t’yer liken. But their One holiday number, “Loose Cannons” (AKA ‘Christmas in Carrick’)’ is all about the feasting and drinking and carrying on… and drinking. Cheers.

Yo Ho Ho Ho-& a Bottle of Rum

Pirates drink grog, right?

We’re glanced at Jimmy Buffett’s “Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” before. Overorchestrated pop that wants to be smooth calypso when it grows up, it’s a Santa escape tale. (As well as the superior–in humor and talent–punk take by The Cucumbers. Santa be nasty here.)

Less piratey is Taco and De Mofos dealing with fam and other relationships in the bouncy house of rap from “Ho, Ho, Ho & a Bottle of Rum.” See, he’s gonna have his fun… drinking all the pain away… like a thief on the open seas. (?)

Cobbled together out of Treasure Island and sung by Craig Toungate, “Yo, Ho, Ho, and a Bottle of Rum!!” is a fine shanty of offensively inoffensive pop Celtic music. It is not quite holiday-centric, but fun. The Roger Wagner Chorale makes a meal of it. Had to lean into pirates celebrating, darkly as they do.

Yo Ho Ho Ho-Tom Mason album

Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers take a less novel approach to their album A Pirate’s Christmas. It sails fair waters of standards with aught but the occasional sitar, shanty, or argh. Some fine fiddlin’, but that cut no mustard with our blog. Still, for your consideration….

It’s Christmas Day” is a dandy number, a rollicking Celtic how-to celebrate and decorate. Just happens to be on a ship. No fuss ’bout that at all. ‘Ceptin’ for that insistent trombone.

Yo Ho Ho (Pirate’s Christmas)” is the gem at the top of the treasures. A shanty of Santa vs. the pirates re-teaches us that Mr. Christmas is not tone trifled with. It’s a party song that tells a tale. A lessons those what need be.

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: Santa Salt

Is Santa qualified to be on a boat?

Ty Thurman wonders “If Santa was a Sailor,” then what? Kidsong (with a merry country backbeat) follows to spell it out to all y’all. There’s a list.

Gordon Mac Martin gets scarier with his “Sailor Santa.” He also asks If, but worries that climate change will require this as the coasts decline and we all live at the ocean. More Carib beat.

Yuletide: Santa Cargo

Santa by sled, by plane, by train…? How DOES one get ’round the world?

Savage Bell rocks out the Florida answer: “Santa Rode on a Shrimp Boat.”

A jolly, nearly yodeling, dad pop ditty,”Santa Clause Comes by a Boat” by Gary Fjellgaard, intends to surprise us. Kidsong wonder. Not the real kind.

Bandana Man has “Santa B Cruzn” become the story of Rudolph saving the delivery day in the Caribbean. Santa likee! Steel drum calypso-ish.

Brent Burns paints a grander landscape with his shanty “Santa Boat.” It may be about the deliveries, the it’s tarred in mysteries. Fun kid sea myth.

Breaking the Ice.20

If you want to break my heart, know we are skating on thin ice. I ain’t a hockey player babe, I won’t put up a fight. But I’ll give you a pass if it’s after the holiday’s. So “Won’t You be My Babe for Christmas.” Kam Stewart’s brassy alt pop is the hesitant love song of the new gen.

So it guess Santa met his missus figure skating. That’s so by Lea Salonga’s “Even Santa Fell in Love.” Sweet, yea syrupy, orchestral pop. Almost kidsong.

Amanda Lehmann hearkens to fairy tales more than to Santa myth in “An Old Christmas Day.” This Celtic inspired pop, Jack Frost will be waiting to go skating with you; Aurora shimmers in the icy view. Blustery cool.