Friday, December 08, 2006

Fa-la-la-la-la, La Friday Five

From our heroines at RevGalBlogPals:

Reverendmother here... those of you who read my blog know I have a love-hate relationship with the 24/7 Christmas music we're (subjected) treated to in stores and radio (in the U.S. at least). It gets too sentimentally sticky-sweet sometimes, yet I find myself unable to resist it. Nothing says "it's Christmas" to me like John Denver and Rolf the Dog singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." So...

1. A favorite 'secular' Christmas song.

I do have fond memories of hearing Silver Bells in the car on a rainy New Jersey night when we were driving to Christmas Glitter City, the one Christmas of my childhood that we had a tree or any decorations. Not that I'm bitter.

But I think this nod must go to Holly Cole's rendition of "Christmas Blues." It makes you feel part of a hipster club even if it's the worst Christmas of your life (learned first-hand), like if you could just have a nice Cosmopolitan, things would be looking up.

2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better)

"Once in Royal David's City." No matter how many Christmas Eve services I hear it-- whether on the sublime BBC Broadcast from King's College Cambridge or in the church I'm serving with the chorister mean age of 79-- I never, ever fail to tear up on the verse "And our eyes at last shall see him..."

3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire.

Paul McCartney's God-awful "Wonderful Christmastime." Was there ever such a sell out, in all the history of crassly commercial ventures? I think not.

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss.

When my children were wee the pre-school they attended figured out that I A. had a guitar and B. knew a bunch of Christmas songs and C. would be willing to come, year after year, to lead a big ol' singalong for the whole darned school (about 120 kids across six classrooms). So I did. My memory of this song is of laughing until my stomach ached as 120 children and 15 teachers and 3 administrators and a whole slew of parents sang the whole song with actions. Oh my. Still makes me smile.

5. A favorite Christmas album

Just one???

Tradition by the Burns Sisters

Wonderful local group, singing folk arrangements with angelic three-part harmonies. Includes two fantastic original songs, "Songs that We Love" and "This Christmas," as well as gorgeous versions of "Shaloo Shalom Yerushalayim" and "Come, Come" (poetry by Rumi).

A Renaissance Christmas Celebration
with the Waverly Consort-- which is, scandalously, no longer available. Harrumph! Location of definitive versions of some all-time renaissance favorites, such as "Riu, Riu, Chiu" and "Es Ist Ein Rose Entsprungen" (I know I spelled something wrong in there...).

Wassail! Wassail! with John Langstaff and the Cambridge Christmas Revels, which has just been reissued (God is good!). Christmas Americana from the 18th and 19th centuries, including shape-note, Billings and "The Cherry Tree Carol."

Jazz to the World (various artists), location of the delectable above-mentioned Holly Cole number, as well as the best ever version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Dianne Reeves and (swoon) Lou Rawls!

Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens, my brand newest favorite. Odd. Indy. Cool as all get-out. I mean, who doesn't want to hear a song called "Did I make you cry on Christmas day? (Well you deserved it.)"


Anonymous said...

Hurrah, we have the same Ear-stuffing song. My gosh, when did Paul McCartney become the George Lucas of pop music?

Quotidian Grace said...

Totally with you on Once in Royal David's City. That verse was my answer, too!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't like that McCartney song either. He could just as well be singing, "Simply cashing my big fat checks at the bank."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommended music! There are several I haven't heard before, and I'll have to check them out.

Magdalene6127 said...

Iris, Rhiannon, we must start a movement to banish that song... reminds me of an Ani Difranco lyric...

"Except all the radios agree with all the tvs
And all the magazines agree with all the radios
And I keep hearing that same damn song everywhere I go
Maybe I should put a bucket over my head
And a marshmallow in each ear
And stumble around for
Another dumb-numb week waiting for another hit song to appear"


Quotidian Grace... ahh. Looking forward to it. Aren't you?

thanks for reading all!