For Part 3 of this Christmas odyssey of music, I wanted to include a couple of songs that I hadn’t found a place for yet. There are only six, but they’re six good ones.
- Frosty the Snowman – Leon Redbone and Dr. John: The first time I heard this, I was in Knoxville, Tennessee on business. I was in the car driving back from dinner when it came on the radio. I thought it was cool enough that Leon Redbone was singing “Frosty the Snowman,” but when Dr. John joined him, the cool factor went up about a thousand times. I hope you like it as much as I do.
- Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives: I love the song, because I can mess with the lyrics (“ho, ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see, somebody waits for you, KICK her once for me”… as I tell people, I’m nine years old with over fifty years’ experience), but mostly because it’s Burl Ives singing it. We’ll hear more from Burl later.
- Ríu Ríu Chíu – The Monkees: Wikipedia tells us this song is a Spanish villancico, and that it is the story of the Immaculate Conception and the Birth of Christ. It’s a beautiful song, and The Monkees, normally not thought of as serious musicians, do a beautiful job with it.
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland: From the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, these are the original words to the song, at least the ones that made it to the movie. The original lyrics to the song, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past / Have yourself a merry little Christmas / Pop that champagne cork / Next year we may all be living in New York,” were deemed too depressing by Judy Garland and Vicente Minnelli, the director, who asked lyricist Hugh Martin to change them and make them a little more upbeat. And they are, a little. Frank Sinatra’s version, with further modification to the lyrics, is the one most familiar. The Music Ministry at our parish plays this song at the Sign of Peace at Masses during the Christmas season, and I nearly lose it every time they do.
- Silver and Gold – Burl Ives: One of the songs from the 1964 Rankin/Bass TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, later a single for Burl Ives. Mary claims I look like Bumble, the Abominable Snowman from the show, since I grew the beard.
- Happy Birthday Jesus – Kayumanggi Rondalla: I wanted to include this because two of our friends, Gene and Angie, who I met during my Music Ministry days and are two of the best musicians I know, are members of the group. (Gene is partially obscured by the music stands, but you can see his head and also the small guitar-like instrument he’s playing about the third person from the right; Angie, unfortunately, is obscured by the director.) Kayumanggi Rondalla is a Philippine folk string ensemble which uses traditional Philippine instruments, such as the octavina (the instrument Gene is playing), the laúd, and the bandurria. The woman who posted this video clip posted several others of the group to her YouTube account, in case you want to check out some of the other clips of them.
So, that’s the third installment of Christmas music from me. If I don’t see you before then, have a Merry Christmas this Friday!