Carol Parodies of the Ages “Wenceslaus”

King Wenceslaus is actually Saint Wenceslaus, but originally 10th C Duke Wenceslas who gave alms to the poor on Saint Stephens Day 12/26. In 1853 serial hymnalist John Mason Neale wrote the song to honor this exemplary  Xian charity. Later, Thomas Helmore added music from a 13th C spring carol. So the problem largely is the sprightly dance music paired with the high moral lesson. It’s like a California roll with red wine. I mean, come on.

If you just wanna know what the story is check our good kidder William Shatner with his spoken word “Wenceslas” from his 2009 album. He does all the parts.

To ponder the triviality of the story remind yourself of its mention as a DnD clue in The Big Bang Theory. Oh those nerds!

A further tribute to the song’s complicated uselessness is picked up by Buford in his version on Phineas and Ferb.

The big message here leads others to comment on our salacious lives too. Beware your crass commercialism in the hard-to-understand Tree Town Ukes get-together “Hanuk-Wanza-Festi-Mas.”

Even more moral is Burt Meyer with his “earth parody” of GKW wherein he calls us onto the carpet for stinginess, oil spills, and rampant gunneryism. Wenceslaus calls us a lost cause here. Wah.

So let’s lighten the mood with “Good King Wenceslas Tastes Great–A Zombie Carol” by Michael P Spradlin. Great double entendres from the original lyrics, and these guys keep the rhythm.

Meaner but much shorter is Mr. Weebl’s Advent Calendar, Day 13.  Fifth grade humor.

Comic Relief (part 2) has gone all out with a sequel to GKW. What happens after he brings food and firewood to the poor? Well, there are revenge reveals and tawdry twists aplenty, that’s what.

Finally we come to Horrible Histories’ “Good King Wenceslas” which purports to get to the awful truth. Brace yourself for some Medieval tabloid tattling.

Carol Parodies of the Ages “Holy Night”

Back in 1843 Adolphe Adam composed ‘Cantique de Noel’ in honor of a new church organ in Roquemaure France. As per uzh someone else wrote the words a long time before. ‘Minuit, chretiens’ was about the Godchild popping out, but sounded better in Francois. John Sullivan Dwight cobbled together our Englander version a couple handfuls of years later.

The big deal with this holy hymnal is the high range involved. It ain’t easy to do this right.

South Parkers play the boring lyrics with their violent version and still bring it around to the high notes. But no decent parodising.

Angry but reverent, Irish Junkie Tom sings “Oh Holy Night” as a raging night out with da boiz. Bring a translating dictionary.

Toward the other side of the planet, Philipino Terence Lelis mocks lightly the nasty police scandal thereabouts from a handful of years back with “O Hulidap.” Captioned, but still needs translating.

Our Jewish brethren pile on the J-kid as expected with Leslie Caplan’s “Oy Holy Night.” It’s funny AND operatic so you’ll be glad of the captioning (what did she just sing?).

Getting down with his guitar and his message, Todd Chappelle (hey, he did a great Christmas song about Delaware) sings “October Night.” It’s about decorations too early, yada yada. But he’s got a great voice.

Adult theming leads us to “O Horny Night” by Raquela. It’s fifty shades of advent, so not that nasty. (You know, fall on your knees, snigger.) And she can sing, too.

For my myrrh nothing mocks the sanctity of this solemnity more than 13 Hands in a magnificent cathedral belting out “Josh Grow Beans.” Wow, nearly speechless. (Thanks for the captioning, natch.)

Best of show, however is Tessa Netting. She gives us the real meaning of the song with her “O Holy Shit.” Mildly appropriate  profanity… nothing worse than you’d hear in the mall parking lot with kids around. And she does the second verse most people leave out.

Carol Parodies for the Ages “Christmas Tree”

Somewhere in the 1830s in Germany (those guys knew how to Christmas) August Zarnack married some old folk song with a variation of a song written about the Paradise Tree (you know, from the Garden of E… somehow reimagined as a fir tree because it held the promise of eternal life something something something God). Ernst Anschutz added more lyrics later and the kids just went holiday crazy.

Because the symbolism of a tree inside our house for Jesus has long been lost, we kid.

Those wacky Vancouverites, The Yule Be Sorrys, are back with an attempted explanation why we allow this ancient custom to persist: “O Xmas Tree.”

A fine male churchy quartet (John Miller, Lyle Stutzman, Eldo Miller, and Willard Mast) also play this out with their “O Christmas Tree.” Great harmony! Where’s your barber pole?

Peter Adamson furthers the disagreements with materialism with his “O Christmas Tree.” It’s folky and satiric with a gentle agenda.

Party down with nog pukin’ and slack key! “Oh Tom Got Bombed” by Dave Rudolf purposely mistranscribes the German and builds a scenario around the drunken mess. Comedy for barf’s sake.

Jaci Lapointe cuts a different point with her “O Christmas Tree.” I mean, the poor thing! Torn from its wintry ground and stuck in our smelly, smokey house!

Which reminds me of Bob Rivers’s awfully sad “O Christmas Tree.” But let’s stave off the sawed-off blues for now. Laters i will devote a week or so just to songs about The Tree. Without using this particular melody we will have some blasting fun.

For now, let’s celebrate Samuel Stokes. Like a smaller version of Tom Lehrer this academic has applied his philosophies to the betterment of amusing colleges with musicals about Dracula and Robin Hood. His funny songs are popular with the Dr. Demento show. So give an ear to his explication “O Tannenbaum (This Song has Many Versions).”


Carol Parodies for the Ages “Silent Night”

‘Silent Night’ is so popular it comes with its own mythology. Probably around 1818 Franz Xaver Gruber (tune) and Joseph Mohr (words) worked together to celebrate the Annunciation in their Austrian berg Even Though The Church Organ was Broken! (Get the Silent part?) A recent movie and a recent documentary have been made (not in English) arguing the hows and whys of when and where it spread around the world (transl. to English like 1863, but sung in America long before that). With great availability comes great poking fun.

A Prairie Home Companion has at it with their “Unitarian Silent Night.” It’s morose and just a bit mean.

A lovely PSA comes from off duty officers of the Huddersfield South Neighbourhood Policing Team (part of Kirklees District Police) who sing their alternative Crime Prevention version of “Silent Night“. These guys go all out.

The Biggs and Barr Show do a salubrious “Silent Wife” which is not quite country and not quite passive aggressive misogynistic scat.

Keepin it Minimal is David Solomon’s short short “Silent Gnat.” Slap splat done.

BLUE ALERT Gothika emos out a crying-boy version of “Christmas Night” to our favorite tune. He’s got something to say about how badly people treat him this time of the… sorry i stopped caring.

Just as upset is Reed Garzone, student on an English project, with “Loud Day.” So many things go wrong with his petty little existence it’s a wonder we even celebrate 12/25. Sweet harmonies with Winston Hunter, though.

Above Average Productions attempts the Jewish version with “Lonely Night.” I love a note for note parody wherein you must listen carefully to the lyrics. SADD looks good your little punims!

KWIXOTIKA posted a “Violent Night” which contrasts the peace with the, well, you know. Props for the pitch imperfect falsetto setting off the pornographic graphic nature of the descriptions.

While dozens of other witless horrorshow versions of this beloved noel get unruly, unhealthy, and unholy (all the videogame lovers need their own novelty Christmas music site–although i did enjoy the Robotech-themed “Violent Night” by Sindell Pellion), i am going to cut it short with my favorite blue collar version: “Violent Night” by Snook. It’s low class suffering, but sweetly reflective enough to warrant its inspiration from the German original.

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Carol Parodies for the Ages “Shepherds”

Somewhere around the year 1700, European churches began to allow Christmas carols to be sung. Before then only David’s Psalms were considered holy enough to be sung. Nahum Tate, so the story goes, was inspired by Luke 2:8-14 and dared to noodle out lyrics improving on The New Writ. It became “When Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” and was sung by different melodies over the centuries, including that of ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.’ Eventually music from an opera by Handel became what we know today, according to Ace Collins’s books about the origins of carols.

Apparently the British make joke with ‘When Shepherds WASHED Their Socks by Night’ they way we do with ‘Jingle bells, Batman smells….’ A young bloke carries on through this standard travesty with youth and  cheek.  Crisis Christmas gobble out their few funny verses through a relentlessly paced high-pitched organ karaoke.

Mistletoe and Swine play an annoying medley of “When Shepherds Washed Their Socks/Good King Wenceslaus” as if they were they the class clowns trying to get you to let your hair down (or smack them). Sheep bleating is just what this melody needed. Not.

The Mason Family sing [badly] their own version of “When Shepherds Washed their Socks by Night” without much humor besides the initial wordplay. It’s still a fine looking family doing what Santa-Dad says.

The bestest caroldy of them all, however, is a little known one by Vancouver’s homegrown humorists The Yule Be Sorrys. Their 1994 album Oh Holey Socks features “The New While Shepherds Washed Their Socks by Night.” (Yeah we’re still on that old joke, but this time it’s funny.) (At least it seems to make fun of an actual French soap product.) (And they’re Canadian.) (So, it’s not offensive.)

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Because a good lampoon requires wit, here are lyrics:

While shepherds washed their socks by nite
All seated ‘round the tub,
A bar of Starlight soap came down,
And they began to scrub!
“What wondrous sight is this?” they cried,
“A miracle divine!
Our socks no longer will hang stiff
As they dry on the line!”
Then from this modest bar of soap
There spewed such copious suds,
Without a word these good shepherds
Tore off their filthy duds!
They hurled their grubbies in the tub
And they scrubbed them then and there,
While “Cleanliness is next to godliness”
Intoned their prayer.
Then gazing heavenward they saw
An awesome superstar.
A chorus line behind him chimed
“Come to the Starlight bar!”
“Good, tidy, neat and clean we’ll be.”
They joyously proclaimed.
“Our stockings will no longer stink,
Nor will their soles be stained!”

Chanukah Eight the Hard Way

Put down that klezmer, slow down that dreidel… it’s time for funny! (And some a cappella.)

Purposing a perfectly passable pop song for holiday humor curls my ribbons and puts the finishing touches on my package. I call that a parodeus.

Here are some clever Semitic parodeuses:
Hanukkah Hey Ya!” by Smooth-E,
Chanukah Rock of Ages” by AISH,
Chanukah (Shake it Off)” by Six13,
Chanukah Makes You Jewtiful” by Jew Direction,
All About that Neis” The Maccabeats,
and maybe even “Chanukah Honey” by Rachel Bloom.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the Shlomones doing “The Rocky Hora Hanukkah Song.” Ha ha Ha!
But now our featured presentation: Here are members of The Flying Karamzov Brothers, The Bobs, Rockapella, and Blue Jupiter with a great Chanukah concert piece, “Eight Days a Week.”

Chanukah to the Seventh

It’s time to bridge that gap between Jews and Gentiles. (Christ was killed by Jews!?? Christ was a Jew!) Y’know a fair understanding of Chanukah is how second-class it feels in a Jesus-driven world (Judeo-Christian, my Advent!) That big fat Santa everywhere you go probably doesn’t seem so jolly when you’ve got your own family celebration in your own language waiting in the warmth of home and hearth and holiness. Allow for a tiny bit of resentment, then.
BLUE ALERT South Park has “A Lonely Jew on Christmas” to vent these same sad arias.
The seminal Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert “Can I Interest You in a Hanukkah?”is no longer on Youtube. But its gentility helps the goyim understand.
That reminds me of The LeeVees “Goyim Friends.” It’s some rockin’ racism, whitey!
Perhaps also check out Brandon Harris Walker’s rocker “Chinese Food on Christmas.” I actually couldn’t find one of those open on 12/25 last year. I tired. Oh, great song, by the way.
It may be hardest on the kids, or at least the Yid Kids. Their “Santa Doesn’t Come to Little Jewish Children’s Houses” from the magical album Santa’s Got a GTO: Rodney on the ROQ’s Christmas allows for the angst and the anger of the passed-over.
Actually, let’s let activist/comic Sarah Silverman express the schism of Happy Holidays with “Give the Jew Girl Toys.”

Chanukah the Sixth (usually just socks)

Now don’t forget all the party fun you can have with Chanukah!
You know, spinning pointy little clay dice! You get to kiss a girl after that right?
I hope you all already know the South Park anti-semitic bit o’ fun “Dreidel Song.” Good, then we don’t have to address that silliness.
The trad version has been (over)done thousands of time, from bluegrass to swing to hip hop. Not interested.
Incubus busts a rhyme in their “Dreidel Song” and lays down a fine hora beat. They seem to be getting into the spirit of it.
Chocolate Coins” from Smooth-E (Eric Schwartz) raps even harder and brings that famed Jewish sense of humor (a bit too hard?).
BLUE ALERT Rucka Rucka ALi has a totally inappropriate dreidel song using stupid rhymes to make social commentary and poop jokes. I laughed. Then felt bad. then i laughed again. Racism? AND Star Wars?
But for the whole family, The Itchy Kazoo Show uses puppets to show us how fun (and significant) dreidel play is with “The Hannukah Dreidel Song.”

Chanukah: Five & counting…

The Festival of Lights has been around longer than Christmas, hence has more musical versions.

Ted Wulfers’ “The Hanukkah Blues” retells it like it is. The Chosen Peoples know the Blues.
Jazz usually interprets ‘Hanukkah O Hanukkah’ or one of the standards. For that Vince Guaraldi sound, check out the smooth “Hanukkah’s Song” by the Dennis Angel Band.
A Rock ‘N Roll Hanukkah” comes from the musical ‘That Time of the Year,’ lyrics by Laurence Holzman & Felicia Needleman; performed by Thom Christopher Warren & A.J. Irvin. Meh, some roofs may have been slightly raised. “Hanukkah Rocks” by Gefilte Joe and the Fish slams harder, but is showing signs of age. Check out the novelty vinyl!
Lauren Meyer’s “A Good Old Down Home Country Chanukah” pokes as much at hee haw music as at her own faith. She’s fun.
Quieter country folk is accomplished by Doni Zasloff singing “Eight.” She’s got some kinda weird pop band with a mission.
But her album Chanukah Fever reads as kid pop.
4fOrDy1 yells out “Chanukah (Rap Remix)” keeping it real. I guess. This may recall the old chetnut “Hanukkah Homeboy” by Doc Mo She. But that’s from back when Dr. Demento had a radio show… on the airwaves… on FM. Still the video is achla.
Rave electronica looks like Matisyahu’s “Happy Hanukkah.” Holy moley.
Ultimately The Seattle Mens’ Chorus put it together for “Boogie Woogie Chanukah.” Here’s a musical journey through the holiday. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll check your watch. Rest assured, it’s shorter than eight nights.


Chanukah: Part 4our

Klezmer originally meant musical instruments. But it came to represent a style of celebratory dance music. Can’t have a proper Chanukah party without some bass booming and clarinet wailing like the souls of the lost.

The Klezmonauts have the best Christmas carol album Oy to the World with hits like “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” and natch “Joy to the World.” High school orchestras are picking up on this now–so you know it’s time-honored. And John Golden crafted a gorgeous M. Mouse short to “Santa Gey Gezunderheit.” Not to be missed.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” in Yiddish (and Klezmer) doesn’t work as well by Kugelplex. Love their Disney cartoon, too.

If you have the time, make your way through this entire Klezmer Nutcracker by Shirim. Yeah it’s The Holidays, i know you’re busy! You’ll feel better afterwards–trust me!