Christmas Songs

This year, the girls and I hosted our family Christmas dinner and get-together. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons; the main one being we just moved into a new place and wanted to show off a little. Now, Christmas music at the Rieves house has always been pretty traditional. And, if it wasn’t traditional, it was bluegrass (My father loved bluegrass). This year, I wanted to do something different, so I decided to make a playlist of new Christmas songs for background music. The selection included some old favorites like Jingle Bells, White Christmas and Silent Night. But, I made a point of choosing songs that my family doesn’t listen to all that much. Songs like Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24 by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I know those may sound pretty common to a lot of you, but not in my family. Musically (and in other ways), I’m the black sheep in my family, listening to all sorts of electrically amplified stuff. In searching for new music, I found three that really stood out and I want to share them with you.

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Happy Christmas (War is Over) seems a fitting place to start. Especially when you consider the line in the chorus, “A very merry Christmas and happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear”. With events of the past few weeks, a year without fear sounds pretty good.

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If you’re old fart like me, you know The Kinks are responsible for the magnificent Girl, You Really Got Me (and you thought it was a Van Halen song). But they also gave us Father Christmas, a social justice anthem disguised as a rock and roll song. Don’t worry, it took me years to catch it. The last verse is the giveaway:

“Have yourself a merry, merry christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you’re drinkin’ down your wine”

It’s almost Dickensian.

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Rudolph,the Red-Nosed Reindeer has always been one of favorite Christmas traditions. I say tradition instead of song because, with all the television specials and such, the Rudolph phenomenon has transcended the original song; which, by the way, originated as a marketing ploy for the Montgomery Ward department store. The version you see here comes from Jack Johnson, who added a new verse because he didn’t like the way the other reindeer bullied Rudolph and, when they needed him, everything was supposed to be cool. So, Jack’s verse goes

“Well Rudolph he didn’t go for that
He said “I see through your silly games”
How could you look me in the face
When only yesterday you called me names?
Well all of the other reindeers man,
Well they sure did feel ashamed,
“Rudolph you know we’re sorry,
We’re truly gonna try to change”

Since I’ve been a bit heavy of late, I thought I’d leave with a little something to make you laugh. Here’s a scene from Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

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