Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Week 2!

Another batch of Christmas goodies coming your way right…. now!

  1. Walt Kelly, “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” Uncle Jack wanted to hear this one, because Dad knew the whole thing and taught it to everyone in the family (at least, that’s the way I heard it). Walt Kelly was a cartoonist and the creator of Pogo, a comic that more often than not took on a distinctly political bent (he would bring characters into it who looked like politicians of the day and make cruel sport of them, at least that’s how I remember it). Walt is responsible for the line “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” Walt died in 1973 at the age of 60, but the song and memories of the cartoon live on in the hearts and minds of most people over 50.
  2. The Royal Guardsmen, “Snoopy’s Christmas” The Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” was a megahit in 1966, and they capitalized on it the following year wth this song about Snoopy and The Red Baron calling a truce for a drink during World War I. It was a #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand, and charted on the Billboard‘s “Best Bets for Christmas” chart three times, reaching #1, #15, and #11 in 1967, 1968, and 1969, respectively.
  3. “Hardrock, Coco, and Joe” A stop-action masterpiece created by Wah Ming Chang for Centaur Productions in 1953. One of the three Christmas videos that appeared on Garfield Goose and Friends on WGN in Chicago every weekday afternoon between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But you knew that, because I’m forever talking about it. Gene Autry recorded this sometime before this film was made.
  4. “Suzy Snowflake” The second stop-action classic by Centaur Productions. Rosemary Clooney made a record of this in 1951 and no doubt sang it to Miguel, Rafael, Gabriel and the rest of her children with Jose Ferrer.
  5. Gayla Peevey, “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” This is another classic, sung when she was just 10 years old in 1953. This video includes video of her in 2016, singing the song again. She hasn’t lost a step in the 63 intervening years.
  6. Pentatonix, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” I really enjoy these kids, and I don’t mind saying so. You might notice that Kristin Maldonado, the lone woman in the group, isn’t moving around much in this. One of her legs is in a cast (I’m not sure whether she broke it or something else happened) and she’s using a scooter for the bad leg. I hope she recovers soon, but you can see it hasn’t affected her voice.
  7. Leon Redbone and Dr. John, “Frosty The Snowman” I usually use the UPA animated version of this (the third of the three WGN Christmas videos), but Marie (Xmas Dolly) beat me to it this year. No problem, I like this version as well. Notice it was brought to us by Kodacolor Gold 100 film, which I guess is still around (they stopped making Kodachrome slide film a couple of years ago). I’m not sure anyone uses film anymore. Well, maybe my high school buddy Mark, who’s a photographer, although I think most of his pictures are digital now.
  8. Manhattan Transfer, “Let It Snow” Pentatonix put me inb the mood for more harmony, and who better than Manhattan Transfer to provide it? From their 1992 Christmas album. They released a new album, The Junction, earlier this year, and I can tell you it’s very good.
  9. Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops, “Sleigh Ride” Leroy Anderson, “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music” according to current Boston Pops conductor John Williams, wrote this during a heat wave in 1946 and didn’t finish it until 1948. Fiedler and the Pops, who recorded a lot of Anderson’s compositions, made their first recording of it in 1949. It’s still a staple of their Christmas concerts.
  10. Burl Ives, “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” One of my favorite Christmas songs and my favorite recording of it. Never mind what I do to the lyrics… (“Oh ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see, somebody waits for you, KICK HER ONCE FOR ME…”)

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for two weeks and one day until Christmas 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

16 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2018, Week 2!

  1. Great Christmas songs, John. If you want to hear a cute version of Frosty the Snowman, here’s one that is a bit different. When I lived in Marlton, NJ (near Philadelphia), this version of Frosty was played constantly.

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  2. John,

    Furtastic Christmas playlist! I recognized most of your selections, except the first by Walt Kelly, “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie”. Of course, many of your covers are new-to-me but not the titles, so it was pAwesome to listen to the various artists’ renditions of these favorite holiday classics. Have a blessed and joyful Christmas season, my friend!

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    1. I’ve heard that the Pops Christmas show is always good, though I haven’t seen one in years. I know PBS carries the New Year’s Eve show, but we don’t always have the best luck receiving the PBS stations (Atlanta has two, one statewide and the other run by the Atlanta Schools).

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  3. Ok I never liked The Manhattan Transfer with their use of the flat keys…annoys me😀. I am also not one for Pentataxyawn. I know…call me Grinch but how I love the others. Leon Redbone is great and I always love Burl Ives. Give me Snoopy any day and the Red Baron song is so much fun. If I could find that record, I would buy it as a gift for my brother. Oh and I love the clips used in the Redbone song which they used a couple from my favourite movie and showed how kids had fun before the safety police came into play…lol. The hippo song is fun as well and just…weird but I love it and she can sing it so well as a 73 yr old just her voice…not many can do that. I love the old stop motion and my heart belongs to the elf trio with the Asian Santa..I know he is jus5 grinning but he looks Asian. It brings me back to when I was little with my mom and dad….I miss that time. Great song list! Oh and you should listen to Porkey Pig’s version of Blue Christmas

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    1. MT uses a lot of jazz harmonies, with all the notes between the notes of the major scale in play (e.g. C#, D#, F#, G# and A# in the key of C). Dissonant, yes, but dissonance has its place in jazz.

      I think if you take a close look at Suzy Snowflake, she looks a little Asian, too. What makes those films so fascinating is that nary a computer was used to film them, and syncing the audio to the visual was all done by hand, so to speak. That in itself is an engineering marvel. I don’t know if Mr. Chang did any other stop-action, for Centaur or otherwise, but I’d like to find them. I wonder if Centaur did any other films, for that matter…

      Burl Ives was good at just about anything he did. If you’ve ever seen “The Big Valley” (one of Mary’s favorite movies, because of Gregory Peck, and one of mine for Burl and Chuck Connors), you know how good an actor he was. The day he died, I remember running over to the record store (remember those?) in the mall (remember those?) and buying one of his Greatest Hits compilations. He didn’t have an especially good voice, but I loved how he sang.

      Ah, the safety police… I love the pictures of some of the old playground equipment, where you took whatever chances there were that you’d break a limb just so you could have fun. I think the attitude of parents then was “go ahead and take your life in your hands! We can always make another kid!”

      Porky’s coming up. Stay tuned…

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  4. What a collection of (to me) novelty tunes, but I would expect no less from you. I think I’ve heard “Deck the Halls with Boston Charlie” before and it was wonderful to hear it again. Snoopy and the Red Baron, I should have used on my post for tomorrow. My Christmas Eve post is also pre written because it has to be. Suzy Snowflake was…fascinating. For the first 45 seconds or so I thought “cheesey” but then, the magic took over. I was in awe by the end. Because of that, I’d love to share a New York City memory with you – the Christmas Eve yulelog. Every Christmas Eve, our channel 11, WPIX, would preempt programming and show a yule log (filmed at the Mayor’s residence, which is called Gracie Mansion) and play carols. I found it on You Tube! https://youtu.be/VEx4KMzPegc
    Thank you and keep these coming!

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