Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oldies but Goodies

     Today I want to explore some of the best Christmas songs from the bands of the '60s. Lots of good music and amazing bands from the sixties but the ratio of Christmas songs on my iPod is off. Released in 71 Happy Christmas-War Is Over is the first song I think of from the era. The Polyphonic Spree do a really good cover of the song and as I am sure we are all very familiar with the original I posted Polyphonic Spree's version.

     Perhaps my favorite of all is Father Christmas by The Kooks. A very punk rock take on Santa and his bag of toys. Forget the silly little toys, we just want your money.

     An underrated and until this year, unknown to me song is James Brown's Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto. I find it suspicious though, that none of the names listed are very "ghetto" I was expecting an Orangello or lil' something. Awesome song. Belle & Sebastian do a pretty good cover of this one but the original is still king.

     I couldn't very well do an oldies Christmas without posting Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys. Very Beach Boys. Like they heard Little Deuce Coope on the radio one day and said "That would make a GREAT Christmas song." Because evidently it isn't a blog post if I don't mention them, the Muppets sang this one with Denver. She & Him covered it on their new Christmas album too.

     Last but not least, Christmas Time Is Here Again by The Beatles. And how appropriate with today being the day our troops are O-U-T of Iraq! Welcome home men. Happy holidays to our troops. Because of brave men we can celebrate this season however we choose. Chritmaka anyone?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carol Of The (mostly) Bells {Episode 2}

     Carol Of The Bells isn't just another excuse to talk about the Muppets. It is also one of my favorite holiday songs. Big fan of a lot of the versions of this song. Many people like Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I have never really given them a fair shake but part of that is my lack of interest and a little bit of general apathy toward a bad that tours for only two months of the year. Rather we will have a rockin' violin version kick us off. These ladies can sing and although there seem to be parts of the song where she refuses to move her bowing elbow I have to give it up to someone who can dance around in heels and still fiddle like she does here.

     Another fun version is the dubstep or electro version. A few of my friends and coworkers really like dubstep. I am not as big a fan I prefer more ambient electronic music without the "drop" like the one at 0:45 in the video below.

     As promised the Muppets rock this track too. This time without Mr. Mile High. Animal up to some crazy antics and who knew Beeker had such an AMAZING voice?!?!!!

     Perhaps my favorite version displays some irony in that the origional version of this song was a Ukranian song about a bird welcoming in the new year. Here with the bird(and my) arch nemesis is Guster with the Carol Of The Meows.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Who Sang It Best Episode 1

         I am sure you all have seen the pictures of the ladies in magazines with the question who wore it better. If not then I assure you it exists as if there is more than one way to wear a dress or boots. Performing a work of art on the other hand is a different matter.

        Choosing to kick off my blog at the holidays is intense perhaps, but it gives me an easy first subject. I will write several posts about different holiday songs and see who did it best and perhaps shed some light on some awesome holiday music for people who check in and find some good gems for myself.

        The first song is appropriately Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Off the top of my head and iTunes library I can think of a few really good versions of this song. The first that comes to mind is Frank Sinatra's version which is perhaps the most popular. You could make a case for Judy Garland as the most popular but it is well documented that I am not the biggest fan of the female singers in general so there will be a shocking amount of bias as far as that goes. Frank has the classic voice and tone to the song.

         Bright Eyes has a great Christmas album and he will be featured in many of the posts I am sure. He did a great rendition of the song. His version is quite melancholy. Although the song itself when sung from the point of view of one singing the song out of a perspective of hope or hope lost and not celebration it fits quite well. I remember the year I really fell in love with this album is when I was in Boise, Idaho for Christmas. While I had many "faithful friends" there it was not the same as being able to spend the holidays with my family. Listening to this song didn't make me sad. Instead it fit my holiday mood. Not one of scroogery, but one of muted excitement.

           A hybrid of the two you say? Perhaps it is best embodied by Coldplay. Chris can sing and tickle the ivories plenty good. They play in a slower tempo than Frank but not with the disparaging voice that we hear from Bright Eyes.

           Taking the cake on fun has to be John Denver who got to sing it with Rowlf who is no slouch on the piano himself.

           So who sang it best? It depends on who you are and how you spend your holiday. At the bottom is a poll of wich version is your favorite.

Wich version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is your favorite?