MONDAY’S MUSIC MOVES ME: ‘Twas The Week Before Christmas…

No real rhyme or reason to the songs I picked today, just songs I like.

  1. Lucy & Schroeder From A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy asking Schroeder to play her a song.
  2. Walt Kelly, “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” From the comic strip Pogo by Walt Kelly, this was a classic song they sang in the swamp one year. Dad knew it and used to sing it, and Uncle Jack mentioned it a while back.
  3. John Williams and The Boston Pops, “Sleigh Ride” This was written by Leroy Anderson, who also wrote “The Syncopated Clock,” “Holiday for Strings,” and “The Typewriter,” among others. Arthur Fiedler used to feature Leroy’s music in performances by The Boston Pops, and as you can see John Williams continued the tradition.
  4. Los Straitjackets, “Linus and Lucy” Written by Vince Guaraldi for A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s been featured in all the Peanuts specials since. Los Straitjackets are an instrumental rock band from Nashville that performs in masks. I rather like them, myself.
  5. United States Navy Band, “Dueling Jingle Bells” When you cross “Dueling Banjos” with “Jingle Bells,” the results are pretty amazing, as you’ll see and hear in this clip. Didn’t get the names of the players, but all are senior NCO’s.
  6. Irish Defence Forces, “The Little Drummer Boy” The pipers from the Irish Defence Forces, the military of the Republic of Ireland, play this. I was in a bagpipe mood.
  7. Clan Currie, “Angels We Have Heard On High” More Christmas bagpipes, this by a family group.
  8. Judy Garland, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” From the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis starring Judy Garland. These are the original lyrics from the movie; most popular versions use different lyrics. The choir at church does this during the Christmas season at the Sign of Peace, and I find it very hard to keep my composure.
  9. John Denver and The Muppets, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” From 1979’s John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. After the last song, I figured we could use a laugh.
  10. Arlo Guthrie, “The Pause Of Mr. Claus” From his 1968 live album. In the interest of time, I found a version that just had the song. The longer one had a pretty funny monologue that was indicative of the time.
  11. Andy Williams, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” Andy Williams and Christmas go together like Scotch and soda.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 18, 2017. Only seven more days ’til Xmas!

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Monday’s Music Moves Me: More Christmas Songs

I wrote a Friday Five post of Christmas songs last year, and thought it was good enough that I could add a few more songs and come up with another playlist. So, here ya go, for Christmas Extravaganza 2017, Week 2!

  1. Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, “Silver Bells” From 1951’s The Lemon Drop Kid, an adaptation of Damon Runyon’s story with music added. That’s William Frawley, who you know from I Love Lucy and My Three Sons, doing the singing at the beginning of the clip.
  2. Burl Ives, “Silver And Gold” Burl won my recent Battle of the Bands, and here he is as the voice of Sam the Snowman from the 1964 Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, doing one of my favorite songs from that show.
  3. Pentatonix, “The Little Drummer Boy” This group’s harmony is incredible and their arranging skills are fantastic.
  4. Tommy Emmanuel, “Jingle Bells” My favorite fingerstyle guitar player and the last person on whom the late Chet Atkins bestowed the title Certified Guitar Player.
  5. Mel Blanc, “Ja, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree” The man of a thousand voices puts on a Teutonic accent for this humorous adaptation of the German language teaching song “Schnitzelbank,” which, if you’ve ever been to a German restaurant with a floor show, you’ve probably sung. The first time I heard it was at The Brown Bear restaurant on North Clark Street in Chicago. Gemütlichkeit!
  6. Eartha Kitt, “Santa Baby” Can’t let a Christmas season go by without hearing this classic by the woman Orson Welles called “the most exciting woman in the world.”
  7. Porky Pig, “Blue Christmas” You’re getting a double shot of Mel Blanc this week as Porky stutters his way through this Elvis Presley hit. Actually, I think it’s someone else, but Mel provided the original voice.
  8. The Royal Guardsmen, “Snoopy’s Christmas” A song dedicated to that intrepid World War I Flying Ace and his never-ending battle against Manfred von Richthofen, a/k/a The Red Baron. They take a few minutes off from their air battle to celebrate the holiday.
  9. Thurl Ravenscroft, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” The voice of Tony The Tiger provided the vocal for this song, from the 1966 special, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which runs every year at this time somewhere.
  10. Bing Crosby, “Mele Kalikimaka” Der Bingle gives us this Christmas-in-Hawai’i song.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 11, 2017. Happy birthday, Jim!

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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The Friday Five: Top Five Songs From The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest

A while back, I did a couple of posts that gave the top songs from the Eurovision Song Contest, both for 2015 (then the current year) and 1974 (the year ABBA placed first with “Waterloo”). This year’s contest ended last Saturday, with Portugal’s Salvador Sobral winning for his song “Amar Pelos Dois.” It was the first time Portugal won the contest, and the first time they placed in the top five in the 53 years they’ve participated. Congratulations to them.

#5: Robin Bengsston (Sweden), “I Can’t Go On”

#4: Blanche (Belgium), “City Lights”

#3: Sunstroke Project (Moldova), “Hey, Mamma!”

#2: Kristian Kostov (Bulgaria), “Beautiful Mess”

#1: Salvador Sobral (Portugal), “Amar Pelos Dois”

This year’s winners left me with that “meh” feeling. Most of the contestants were chosen from their home country’s Idol or The Voice program on TV, and almost all the songs in the final round were sung in English. I guess this is a byproduct of Europe becoming more or less one country, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, what did you think of the finalists, and of the competition in general? The full list of all the participating countries and how they placed is on Wikipedia, and all the songs are on YouTube.

That’s The Friday Five for May 19, 2017.

A to Z ’17: Reflections

I WON! YAY ME!

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How did the A to Z Challenge go for me? Very smoothly. It should by now: this was my fifth year doing it, and I’ve learned from my mistakes in previous years.

  • I got everything written and scheduled before April 1.
  • I responded to most of my comments, at least giving the comments a “like.”
  • I tried to visit everyone that visited me, and the people who had visited them.
  • I found a lot of blogs by going through the list from the Theme Reveal. I’d visit a blog and its visitors, and added all that were participating in the challenge to a Feedly list so I’d remember where I’d found them. I think I added about a hundred blogs to that list.
  • You’ll find a list of my entries for the Challenge here. It’s the first entry in the list under “Special Pages” in the sidebar.

Now, hate me all you want: I suggested going without a list this year. We’ll talk about the reasons why we chose to go that way at a later date, probably on the Challenge blog. We’re all busy reading your reflection posts and tallying the results of the survey (which is here; you have until the 20th, a week from Saturday). From my perspective, I’ve always found that visiting my visitors and their visitors works much better than picking them at random off a list. Last year, by the way, Jacob had a project whre he went looking for new blogs to read, and documented the whole process. It’s a good read.

Great job, everyone! I’ll try to get to as many of you as I can over the next few months.

One other thing: Some WordPress users are having trouble leaving commnents on Blogger blogs. It was the reason I set up the simulcast blog for the main Challenge blog. If you’re in that position, here is a suggestion:

  • If you have a Google account, use it to comment on Blogger.
  • If you don’t have a Google account, open one, then use it to comment on Blogger.

Google hasn’t changed Blogger much since they got it, apart from finding new ways to force ads onto people’s pages and making it almost impossible to comment with anything other than a Google account. It’s a pain in the backside, just like almost everything else Google touches, but it’s best to play along.