Monday, December 12, 2011

"December Will be Magic Again"

We here at the Back-Up Plan R THRILLED that R local radio stations Bgan seriously playing Christmas rock&roll favorites this past week. The best of these songs R marvelous oldies & it does yer soul good 2 hear them at least 1nce a year. They really light us up.
Don't know if we've got the Christmas Spirit yet -- it's bn a long time since we felt "Christmasy," possibly as long ago as 1971, but still. If we've gotta choose Btween "Hotel California" & Xmas oldies, we'll take the Christmas songs every time.
Local radio started Thurs nite with Elton John's whirlwind "Step Into Christmas," 1 of his greatest hits -- love the bells & chimes & synths & the cool acoustic guitar. & the whole thing's a great production.
Then we heard John Lennon's classic "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," 1 of the 1st 45-rpm singles TAD ever bought, on green-Apple vinyl, way back in 1971. John was a sentimental guy, tho he denied it, & "War is Over" still sounds great. & how bout that huge Phil Spector production?
We were shocked on Fri nite 2 hear Peter, Paul and Mary's 1962 "A'Soulin," a magical Christmas classic from their album MOVING -- the same album that had "Puff the Magic Dragon." "A'Soulin" is pretty dark & mysterious 4 an Xmas song, but it's also hypnotic & a lotta fun. & the vocals R -- do we have 2 say this? -- just freakin great.
We've even heard Andy Williams' "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," 1 of the best things HE ever did. His voice is so rich, from that '50s "crooner" background he came from -- & the song conjures up images of happy shoppers & good-natured holiday bustle ... so you KNOW it's a fantasy. But it's a good 1....
Also heard the Carpenters' heartwarming "Merry Christmas, Darling," a real classic from 1971. Their Xmas album, A CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT, has a lotta great stuff on it, if you can get past the fact that it's THE CARPENTERS. Best of all is "It's Christmas Time," which starts as a wonderful intimate Karen Carpenter-with-piano miniature & then turns in2 a huge production with chorus & orchestra. It's really moving. 1 of their best ever.
Our local classic rock station also played Cheech and Chong's hilarious "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" -- not a song, but freakin great anyway. Tell your kids Mom & Dad (or Grandma & Grandpa) useta talk like this sorta....
& on Sun nite, 1 station unXpectedly bashed out Darlene Love & Phil Spector's glorious "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." You've heard it even if you don't think you have -- it played under the opening credits of the movie GREMLINS some 30 years ago. It's from Spector's acclaimed CHRISTMAS ALBUM that we here have never heard. But if that's a sample....
Haven't yet heard Kate Bush's gorgeous "December Will be Magic Again," & don't really Xpect 2, but it would do the American public a lotta good 2 hear it. Also haven't heard the Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy's Christmas," a terrific 1967 masterpiece that -- in its 6-minute long version -- was to us the 1st real "rock opera."
When TAD was a kid, his favorite Christmas carol was "Carol of the Bells," possibly Bcos when those choral vocals start building up it sounds like some kinda wild windstorm comin on. But he's heard so many versions of it since then that it's kinda lost its attractiveness.
These days he leans more toward the almost supernaturally beautiful "O Holy Night" -- when it's done right it puts a lump in his throat & a tear in his eye every time.
Hope yer local music-providers R playing something good 4 the holidays.
NEbody out there heard Barbra Streisand's hilarious version of "Jingle Bells"?
...& we personally don't care if we ever hear "Jingle Bell Rock" or "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" EVER again....

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