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