Wednesday, December 21, 2011

28 Days Of Christmas, 28 of the Best Christmas Songs, 9, 10 and 11... plus The 10 Best Santas and Some Stuff To Fill Out The List!: Song 23, etc.

This morning, when I posted a catch-up on SUPERXmas!, I mentioned that as a kid, I used to listen to Johnny Cash singing "Go Tell It On The Mountain," which I distinctly recall my dad playing on the big white hi-fi in the living room.

That's a cherished Christmas memory: The tree up, by the piano, the fancy dining room table with its Christmas centerpiece, the hi-fi, which was 7' long and had a sliding top that hid the turntable, booming out Johnny Cash's deep, low voice singing about shouting from the mountain side how Jesus was born.

There's just two problems with that cherished Christmas memory:

1. Johnny Cash never sang that song.

2. That song may not even be a Christmas song.

Let's take number two: According to legend, "legend" meaning "a retired professor from Northern Illinois University who is considered the leading expert on Christmas carols," which I kind of take as an affront because up until I read that, I considered myself the world's leading expert on Christmas carols, which means that this professor and I are going to have to have a duel of some kind, perhaps a carol-off in which we march 10 paces and sing Christmas carols at each other?
I'll work on that.

Anyway, Professor Christmas (sounds like a TV movie to me!) William Studwell says:

It is an energetic, inspired carol...It is the greatest of all American folk carols... Most carols of the 20th century are not so enthusiastic. This is more like some of the older carols, like Joy to the World or Come All Ye Faithful in that regard...It shows some real enthusiasm for the Christmas holiday.

That article notes that Studwell (is that really your name?) says that:

Like many carols, the precise history of “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is a bit fuzzy. Although generally considered an anonymous work, Studwell believes the piece was written by Frederick Jerome Work (1880-1942), a black composer, teacher and scholar. Work was deeply involved in the collection, arrangement and dissemination of black spirituals, so it is possible...that Work only discovered and preserved the song.
So it may or may not be a carol, given that it was recorded by Simon & Garfunkel, among others, not on a Christmas album but on their "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." work.

But it became a Christmas song, in part because guys like Professor Christmas, there, named it the Carol of the Year 2004, and in part because while Johnny Cash didn't sing it, Jim Nabors did, and here's his version:

Which is the version I thought was by Johnny Cash.

And today's Santa/Santa's Helper, Etc.? Let's get political with

Bo the White House Dog.

Bo's kind of a last minute pick for this list, but he's getting the recognition because like everything else Democrats do, Bo is destroying religion/faith/family/Santa/something else you care about. Unlike most Democrats, Bo's not destroying society/God/your sex life by trying to have government maintain a basic social safety net to avoid people from starving to death in the streets or dying of treatable diseases -- you bastards, you Democrats!-- but instead, Bo has taken the more direct route to wrecking everything you hold dear:

Lying in front of a fire peacefully.

Oh, the humanity! That's the FOX News story about the White House Christmas card; the headline is theirs, not mine.

Sure, that may look like a peaceful domestic scene, a silent night at the White House, if you will, but some people aren't fooled by it -- including Sarah Palin, who said:

"It's odd," that the card doesn't celebrate what she said are the traditional Christmas values of "family, faith and freedom."

Palin added:

It's just a different way of thinking coming out of the White House.

Notwithstanding that this:

actually exists, we've sort of reached saturation point with both Christmas means... and patriotism, haven't we? I mean, after this, won't Christmas and patriotism just sort of crystallize into the kind of giant structure formed by supersaturation, until we have lawn ornaments consisting of baby Jesus riding a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer just ahead of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (all shaped like Obama?) (Also: Dibs on that idea.)

Since when is Christmas about freedom? The Fourth Of July is about freedom. Unless Christmas has already absorbed that holiday, too.

Cynics will note that Palin recently floated the idea that she might actually make a run for president, and that back in 2009 she gave a speech entitled "Faith, Family, Freedom: Remembering What Really Matters."

We've all been waiting for a candidate whose platform consists entirely of shopping at Neiman Marcus, getting rich off her daughter's pregnancy, and attacking Christmas cards, haven't we?

Prior Songs/Santas:

Prior songs/Santas:

22. Kung Fu Christmas/ John McClain.

19-21: Another Rock & Roll Christmas, You Are My Joy, Santa Stole My Girlfriend, plus The Santa Clause Claus, Cousin Eddie who I kept calling Cousin Randy, and Yukon Cornelius.

17, 18: Nella Fantasia, Angels We Have Heard On High, and Larry Stewart.

16. You'll Never Find My Christmas, Bishop Allen, and Gizmo the Mogwai

15. The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Bob & Doug McKenzie, plus Bad Santa.

14. When the River Meets The Sea, by John Denver, plus "Doc Bullfrog."

13. All I Want For Christmas, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Santa who helped Superman fight Toyman.

12. We Need A Little Christmas, Glee version, and The Holiday Armadillo.

11, 10, 9: The Little Drummer Boy, Johnny Cash; What Christmas Means To Me, Stevie Wonder; What's This, by Julia Nunes and Ian Axel, and "The Santa From A Nightmare Before Christmas".

8. Taste The Coast, by Admiral Fallow

7. Dringo Bell, Mediaeval Babes

6. Born Is The King (It's Christmas) by Hillside

5: Tijuana Christmas by The Border Brass

4. Christmas Griping, REM

3. A Christmas Waltz, She & Him

2. Don't Shoot Me, Santa, The Killers

1. Snoopy's Christmas, The Royal Guardsmen


Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

Doesn't the song say: Go Tell It on the Mountain; That Jesus Christ is born? I mean that's what Christmas is supposed to be about, isn't it?

Anyway, I guess it's no surprise Palin said something dumb. I mean what did she want a dancing Santa in that picture? A nativity scene? You got the fireplace, a poinsettia, garland on the mantle, gifts. Yeesh.

Though Santa might not want to come down that chimney with the roaring fire plus a dog waiting for him...

Stephen Hayes said...

Growing up we had a seven foot Curtis Mathis stereo that sounds much like yours. If "Go Tell It On The Mountain" isn't a Christmas song it should be.

Andrew Leon said...

I never could reconcile Jin Nabors singing with Gomer Pyle. It just never has made sense to me. But my mom loved him and his singing.

Rusty Webb said...

Jim Nabors - that guy would have won a presidential election in a landslide. He was a mechanic, a marine, a wonderful singer. An everyman's president.

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

I wish that Jim Nabors could have lived life as an open gay man but no one would have accepted him as such. I'm glad that the world is changing. It's a shame he had to be so deep in the closet that he was in Narnia most of his life.