Advent / Christmas music 2019

I LOVE Thurl’s voice

Christmas House Advent CalendarOK, NOW I’m getting into the Advent season. Music is the linchpin for almost everything. Jaquandor has his Daily Dose of Christmas. Someone else posted The Top 100 Christmas Songs, some of which may be replicated below. I’m OK with that.

Since I finally saw Hamilton this year, I should post Hamildolph!, which is really good at what it does.

I believe these are new tunes:
Snow Falls Softly At Night -MonaLisa Twins
Merry Xmas Everybody – Robbie Williams, featuring Jamie Cullum

The Usual Suspects

Most of these I’ve posted in some prior year.

Getting Ready for Christmas Day – Paul Simon. Interesting that the sermon sampled was delivered in 1941, the same year Paul was born.

2000 Miles – Pretenders

White Christmas – the Drifters. One of my favorite bits of animation, ever.

Jingle Bells – The Fab 4. NOT the Beatles.

Linus And Lucy– Vince Guaraldi Trio. I read a bio about Vince some years back

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty. I still miss Petty.

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder

The Bells of Christmas – Julie Andrews. There are at least three different versions of this on those old Firestone tire LPs my parents used to buy. One has an unnecessary one-minute instrumental in the middle, and the other has too cheery background singers. This is the best one.

The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet. From that first A Very Special Christmas album in 1987.
Gabriel’s Message – Sting. Ditto. I had a girlfriend who HATED Sting’s voice.

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole. My late mom LOVED Nat Cole.
Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte. My late father incorporated elements of Belafonte in his folk-singing career.

Every valley– Handel’s Messiah, A Soulful Celebration

Santa’s Too Fat For the Hula Hoop – The Pixies Featuring Thurl Ravenscroft. I LOVE Thurl’s voice.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. A truly terrible song. Not as bad as Dominic the Donkey, but still.

More holiday stuff

The 60 Best Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season

The Book of Dreams (Extended Version) – Argos Christmas advert 2019

Movie’s E.T. And Elliott Reunite 40 Years Later In A Commercial Sequel. I feel I should hate this, yet I don’t

fillyjonk’s tree

Mary and Joseph’s Battle Against the State

Advent as Lent-lite?

“I’m not a Christian but I used to have a very strong respect for what they stood for.”

liturgical cycleIt seems that Advent, the season we’re in now, doesn’t bring me as much joy as it does for others. Someone, I don’t remember who, recently suggested that Advent is Lent-lite.

And I submit it may be true. Just as the Lent precedes the Easter Resurrection, so too is the waiting for the birth. The songs can be somber and in minor key.

It may be Seasonal Affective Disorder, “a type of depression that reoccurs during the winter months and typically lasts until the spring or summer.” The early snow did not help.

Back in the 1980s, I used to go visit my parents’ house in Charlotte, NC January, around Martin Luther King’s birthday. The perfect timing was mandated by doing seasonal music at church and the heavy retail period at the store I worked, FantaCo, followed by doing inventory just after the first of the year.

But I reckon that I also become despondent over how the season has been taken over. Mark Evanier said, “I’m not a Christian but I used to have a very strong respect for what they stood for,” and I knew too well what he meant.

When Christianist apologists act Unchristian, when they “show that on immigration, race, and poverty, white evangelical Protestants have surrendered moral judgment and social responsibility, ” it makes me somewhat angry, but mostly incredibly sad.

Alternet suggests the so-called “war on Christmas” for a proxy war for white supremacy. And it sounds about right.

Then Christmas Eve arrives. It still involves waiting, but it is now of a very short duration. The music that we sing generally has a special magic.

The service has some of the structures of the previous years, yet it always has something new. I trick myself into believing that, for a short while at least, all IS right with the world.

Music Throwback Saturday: O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion

Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 60: 1)

handel.soulfulMore soulful Messiah, an Advent celebration.

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God!
(Isaiah 40: 9)

Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 60: 1)

Some comments about Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration:

ANYONE who is a lover of music will love this disc.
I bet when Handel wrote the “Messiah” he had no idea what other artists would contribute to his work.
“O Thou that Tellest”, the original alto aria, adapted by Take 6 and Stevie Wonder – so how could it possibly go wrong? Well, it doesn’t! Close harmony and Stevie’s classic voice – oh, yeah.

Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion – London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.
Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion – Stevie Wonder and Take 6. produced by Take 6

Bonus music

Santa’s Too Fat For The Hula Hoop – The Pixies with Thurl Ravenscroft as Santa Claus (c 1958). No, not THOSE Pixies.

Coverville 1105: A Very Christmas Coverville 2015


The Advent post

It was more like the opening scene of The Life of Brian, where the lead character is clearly NOT Jesus of Nazareth.

christ in christmas

Keef – Cartoon: Tis the Season.

Giant Santa Vs. The Brontosaurus That Wanted to Eat Christmas!, plus Eddie, the Renaissance Geek’s tradition.

Babe Ruth as Santa Claus, 1947.

Let’s play Christmas Song BINGO!!

The Wreath of Khan

Stephen Colbert Puts The Christ Back In C(hrist)offee.

The Salvation Army Just Killed Your Excuse That You’re “Out of Change”.
Coke cans
The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns.

Some warranted Black Friday cynicism (video #1)

UK department store John Lewis’ 2015 Christmas TV advert, “The Man on The Moon”.

Both SamuraiFrog and Jaquandor have – and will have – nifty seasonal stuff.

Some months ago, my terrestrial buddy Bruce posted this picture on his Facebook page, and I rather liked it. Someone, though, “as a Christian,” was terribly offended.

I thought it was more like the opening scene of the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian, where the lead character is clearly NOT Jesus of Nazareth. Of course, some people were offended by that film too, and as a Christian, I just don’t get that, either.

Gold, Frankenstein, and mirth.

Music Throwback Saturday: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
(Isaiah 40: 4)

handel.soulfulHandel’s Messiah is surely An Unexpected Easter Masterpiece. But I’ve sung it often enough during Advent – that period before Christmas that we’re now in – to associate it more with this season, even though it was first performed in April 1742, to an audience of 700, “as ladies had heeded pleas by management to wear dresses ‘without Hoops’ in order to make ‘Room for more company.'”

Some 250 years later, Mervyn Warren begat Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a “critically acclaimed gospel album by various artists. [It] has been widely praised for its use of multiple genres of African-American music, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, big band, jazz fusion, R&B and hip hop.

“The album received the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as the 1992 Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year.”

Overture – London Philharmonic Orchestra
Overture: A Partial History of Black Music – Mervyn Warren, Janice Chandler Eteme, Dwayne Adell, Cedric Dent, Joe Hogue

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
(Isaiah 40: 4)

Every Valley Shall Be Exalted – London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
“Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” Lizz Lee and Chris Willis (with Mike E.)

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