XMAS BLOG - XMAS SONGS, Love em or Hate em?

Christmas songs aren’t for everyone.  For those that don’t like them luckily they only have to hear them once a year.  I wonder what other music can you say that about?    
Here’s a few of my faves.  Let me know what yours are, or more importantly, what they aren’t. 

Louis Armstrong:  Zat You Santa Claus:

Fear, paranoia, suspicion?  This Christmas gem has them all.  But the real star may be Satchmo’s infectious vocal delivery, which puts this one over the top for me.  Plus it really swings. 
I don’t know of another Christmas song that manages to effortlessly combine dark elements of the unknown in an inviting, swinging package.   
Musically, the reeds blowing whole notes on the bridge (“Are you bringing a present for me”) sound like a cold Winter’s wind with the quarter-note downbeats of the snare drum and bass affecting footsteps walking hurriedly through the night. 

I love the air of mistrust in the line “Would you mind slipping it under my door”. 
By song’s end, Satchmo is pleading ““Say it’s you, Santa Claus” 
Then a signature Louis Armstrong ad-lib to wrap it: 
“Ah, that’s him alright!” 

From one American classic to another: 

Beach Boys: Little St Nick

First off, a Christmas song from a Southern Californian band drenched in surf and sand.  Everyone does Christmas songs now, all shapes and genres, but back in ’63 this must’ve bee rather unique.  But it shines with all the brilliance of any great Beach Boys song.   

A song not about Santa the man himself but rather an ode to Santa’s mode of transportation, how true to form for the Beach Boys.  It’s a strong showing that they melded the genre to fit their style, instead of the other way around, even that early on. 

Musically, it somehow manages to feel like Christmas and the beach.  And the half step climb at the end always gets me. 

Lyrically, it’s notable that Santa doesn’t get called out by name til the second verse.  Though he’s aptly described in verse one: “ A real famous cat all dressed up in red”.  And the 60s turn of phrases like “He’s cruisin’ every pad with a little surprise” just add to the atmosphere.  And there's some nice detail in lines like: “She’s candy-apple red with a ski for a wheel”. 

Let me know your faves or hates below.
Thanks and Merry Krimble.

2 comments

  • Rob

    Rob NYC

    Mostly hate Xmas songs, but Sachmo, Bing and Frank can't do much wrong in this sense, along with a handful of others. If you can pick the playlist sure but if you're victim to supermarket, after store, after store of the best of the worst, def puts a downer light on em. New site looking tweed my man. Cracking up over the BHB band blurb. Hilarious. Can't believe you didn't mention Steve's band van though. That baby is one sweet ride and, as I found out, a good ploy not to replace the drummer when he falls off his drum riser one too many times. And I thought you're nickname was Le Bradderie? Just for Euro gigs huh? Excellent new disc guys btw! Just finished listening to it. Wish we could see youse live. One day soon hopefully!

    Mostly hate Xmas songs, but Sachmo, Bing and Frank can't do much wrong in this sense, along with a handful of others. If you can pick the playlist sure but if you're victim to supermarket, after store, after store of the best of the worst, def puts a downer light on em. New site looking tweed my man. Cracking up over the BHB band blurb. Hilarious. Can't believe you didn't mention Steve's band van though. That baby is one sweet ride and, as I found out, a good ploy not to replace the drummer when he falls off his drum riser one too many times. And I thought you're nickname was Le Bradderie? Just for Euro gigs huh?

    Excellent new disc guys btw! Just finished listening to it. Wish we could see youse live. One day soon hopefully!

  • Rob

    Rob NYC

    btw, what you got against old drunk motherfuckers? I'm one.

    btw, what you got against old drunk motherfuckers? I'm one.

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