Saturday, December 19, 2009


Comments (43) RSS

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kim in portland 1
Great song. I love playing it on my guitar.
Posted by kim in portland on December 19, 2009 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Andrew Cole 2
It's a wonderful song, but it's also completely secular. Santa, chestnuts, yuletide carols, silver bells -- and then they segue into Here We Come A-Wassailing, which, again, is all about the celebration surrounding Christmas and not Christmas itself. So, yeah, this is exactly the sort of thing Keillor's article was about.

It's also the high point of the slick commercial Christmas song, in that Tormé wrote it in July solely to have a Christmas song. Doesn't make it a bad song, but you could certainly point to this song as an early example of the commercialization of Christmas.

All of this from a non-Christian, by the way, if that means anything.
Posted by Andrew Cole on December 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Close, Judy. And reindeer, rainbows, same difference after a few cocktails.

Christmas has been a secular holiday for generations. The way Christians can "win" the "war on Christmas" is to not fight it. Who cares if Best Buy says "Happy Holidays"? Remove yourself from the commercialism and celebrate it in your homes & churches in a simple way. Plus if anyone has a beef with Christmas being stolen it's the pagans.
Posted by nttnypride on December 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Tetchy Brit 4
#3 Common sense? On the internet? ~head explodes~
Posted by Tetchy Brit on December 19, 2009 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Loveschild 5
Beautiful. She had an impeccable taste.

Sad someone can't even bring himself to at least aknowledge that it's a Christmas song.
Posted by Loveschild on December 19, 2009 at 3:08 PM · Report this
My favorite Christmas song has become "Christmastime for the Jews"; lyrics by Robert Smigel, great Phil Spectoresque sound and kick-ass vocals by Darlene Love.

Now it's nearly 10:30
Yes, it's time for bed
Daily Show reruns dancin' in their heads
Maybe next year they'll learn how to hold their booze
It's Christmas Time for the Jews

Posted by Roma on December 19, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
danindowntown 7
@ 5 Um, the title of this post is a reference to the post about Garrison Keillor's column in the Baltimore Sun that Savage posted previously. Once again you need to get a clue.

It's been a while since I have seen your posts here. Sorry to have you back.
Posted by danindowntown on December 19, 2009 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Telsa Grills 8
@5: Not strictly, no. Using your own yardstick, Lovesknuckledragging, it's not referring to teh nativity or fire-brimstone lullabies. It's a seasonal piece, and it means different things to different folk. If you're Jewish, it's what you associate with being in the month of December. You're still allowed to enjoy it. Being from Australia, this winter-centric theme through most of these songs has to come across as always lulzy. Head to the barbie, not the hearth.

I am surprised, however, that Judy didn't slur her way through that. There were some "ah-ah-ah ALMOST" moments, though, where it looked like she was thinking to herself how nice Mel's shoulder would be for passing out.
Posted by Telsa Grills on December 19, 2009 at 3:37 PM · Report this
This really is a lovely song. Musically it's a great achievement in sentimental jazz balladry.

It's those characteristics that make it a crummy christmas carol (carol denotes religiosity and appropriateness for singing tromping around in the snow). It has no propulsive rhythm to keep everyone on tempo. The melody bobs and weaves, in a way that makes it sound atonal when sung without accompaniment. But the chordal structure is too complex for unskilled singers to attempt to harmonize.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on December 19, 2009 at 3:39 PM · Report this
...which i think it's kind of a crucially important addition to the american christmas repertoire. It remains popular because it communicates something about the cultural experience of christmas that religious songs can't: the melancholy and the warmth; nostalgia and conflict. The inexplicably-being-moved-by-stuff-you-know-is-emotionally-manipulative. Etc.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on December 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM · Report this
The Velvet Fog. Fuckin' loved him. Since I heard him as a kid there's been a special place in my heart for coasters, people who aim for the middlebrow market but could do better. That he became briefly astonishingly good live with genuine jazzmen as side musicians, then morphed into a panty creamer for geriatrics - he is just a true hero to me.
Posted by gloomy gus on December 19, 2009 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 12
The Christmas Song was written during a July heatwave, to out psych the stifling air.

Interestingly, the score of the Sleigh Ride song was written in the same vein, so this may be a trend amongst 20th century Christmas carols to be written in summer hot spells.

Oh, and Yuletide is heathen, not secular. Wotanic, to be specific. It's all about Thor's big hammer.
Posted by Uriel-238 on December 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 13
I've been working out a pet peeve over one of my favorite Christmas carols, O' Holy Night, which is oh-so-disappointing when a pop-star doesn't even bother with the high note. In a recent version over the radio, the artist performed the piece with gospel flair, not only hit the high-note, but then repeated the refrain again one octave higher.

Goddess, it was bliss.
Posted by Uriel-238 on December 19, 2009 at 4:17 PM · Report this
read "born to kvetch" to find out what Jews really think about our fake god, and about our celebration of "krats-mikh" (scratch me).
Posted by Put the Christ back in Xmas, and the Ccchhh back in chanukah on December 19, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@11, Torme was a real treasure. His jazz albums with Marty Paich were smoky and soulful, light and lively all at once. Great, great stuff. Judy I could always take or leave -- better than Streisand, certainly, but still a little too strident, and she couldn't swing at all.
Posted by Fnarf on December 19, 2009 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Thanks for this, what a thoroughly charming performance by two greats of yesterday. Their harmonizing at the last is enchanting. Gone are the days... Keillor's article was, like Keillor, preposterous. This performance is the perfect answer.
Posted by Thanks so much! on December 19, 2009 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Vince 17
The older I get the less these songs seem to have any meaning. I think I lack teary eyed sentimentality. I find the holiday forced and like the weather, unbearable. Both need to be over.
Posted by Vince on December 19, 2009 at 5:01 PM · Report this
Ah, Fnarf, there's a happy hour I've lost hunting for that swingin' treasure you describe so well. Thanks.

(And though I respect your views on Judy/Barbra, I have spent far too much of my life with elderly gays to be able to agree.)
Posted by gloomy gus on December 19, 2009 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Coincidentally (or perhaps not) there's an op-ed piece in the NY Times by Michael Feinstein entitled "Whose Christmas Is It?" in which he mentions popular Christmas songs by Jewish writers.…
Posted by Roma on December 19, 2009 at 5:56 PM · Report this
I heard the "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" song the other day and was happy to realize there wasn't a single religious reference in the entire song. Its my new favorite shortest day of the year song now.
Posted by Jersey on December 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM · Report this
It is kinda jewy.
Posted by patrick66 on December 19, 2009 at 6:54 PM · Report this
It's a fact that without jews or homersecshuls there'd be no music for Xmas or any other holidays.
Posted by Weekilter on December 19, 2009 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Thank you Dan, that was nice.
Posted by SolCat on December 19, 2009 at 6:58 PM · Report this
Thanks Dan, enjoy your holidays whichever you prefer to honor. the Busman
Posted by busman on December 19, 2009 at 7:35 PM · Report this
4f...sake 25
Oh, Judy Garland. Thanks, Dan.
Posted by 4f...sake on December 19, 2009 at 9:17 PM · Report this
Fnarf 26
@20, "in the meadow we can build a snowman, and pretend that he is Parson Brown". Sounds like a religious reference to me. Possibly even a gay marriage one! "He'll say 'are you married?' we'll say 'no, man, but you can do the job when you're in town'".
Posted by Fnarf on December 19, 2009 at 9:42 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 27
I like 'em all, the Jewish wintery stuff and the ancient, brooding advent hymns, the odd English "The Holly and the Ivy" and the trashy country modern stuff. Enjoy your holidays, everyone!
Posted by kk in seattle on December 19, 2009 at 10:22 PM · Report this
There'd be no form of good art whatsoever without gays or Jews, except for Judy Garland maybe.
Posted by sarah68 on December 19, 2009 at 10:28 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 29
Judy was out of her gourd on reds during the taping of this special, and she was the one fucking the guy who appeared as Liza'a date - well, until she caught him in the sack with another guy after coming home early from a hard day of taping her TV show a few months later.
Posted by Bauhaus I on December 20, 2009 at 1:15 AM · Report this
Fnarf 30
Mrs. Fnarf would like me to point out that the best Christmas song of all is "My Christmas Song To You" by the Partridge Family, followed very closely by "Merry Christmas Everybody" by Slade, "Last Christmas" by Wham!, and "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You", by Billy Squier. So that's settled.
Posted by Fnarf on December 20, 2009 at 1:52 AM · Report this
For you @13…

Cartman hits the high note around 1:45. Merry Christmas.
Posted by PA Native on December 20, 2009 at 2:02 AM · Report this
Take a chill pill- you hate fat people, he hates jews.
Posted by yesyouare on December 20, 2009 at 5:27 AM · Report this

The best Judy Garland sings of Christmas ever. Heartbreaking, and those eyes---beautiful, even if she was likely strung out when it was filmed.
Posted by catballou on December 20, 2009 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Your first holiday season without your Mom - a very sweet way to remember her, Dan.
Posted by RTR on December 20, 2009 at 8:52 AM · Report this
meowmeowkitty 35
@Fnarf -- Judy can't swing? Look to her early MGM years. She could swing like hell and was a great dancer too.

Posted by meowmeowkitty on December 20, 2009 at 12:13 PM · Report this
college dude from madison 36
This is one of the few Christmas songs that I don't find intolerable, if it comes on the radio I'll actually probably turn it up.

I've always seen the "war on Christmas" bullshit as the safe majority liking to feel "persecuted" once and a while. If you want to put the Christ back in Christmas maybe you should get off the cross and let Him back up there...Just a thought
Posted by college dude from madison on December 20, 2009 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Loveschild, I hate to be the one to break it to you, sweetie, but are you not aware of the fact that your icon looks really, well, gay? Jesse Jackson hasn't had dibs on the "Rainbow Coalition" for a long time, Mary.
Posted by Gigolo Asshattin' on December 20, 2009 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 38
Thank you, PA Native. That made my day.
Posted by Uriel-238 on December 20, 2009 at 5:44 PM · Report this
The more Jewish songs get played during the holidays, the less they have to hear about Jesus, angels, mangers, shepherds, etc. Let's make the Birth of Our Lord all about SNOW!
Posted by Let it snow ho ho ho on December 20, 2009 at 8:51 PM · Report this
Tom X 40
Hands down, my favorite Christmas song. Most fun to sing, too.

Although I always enjoy the Charlie Brown soundtrack, Christmas in Hollis and the Waitresses' Christmas Rap, that goofy old thing!
Posted by Tom X on December 21, 2009 at 8:09 AM · Report this
Uriel-238 41
The birth of your lord, Allegedly happened in the springtime, and wasn't even recognized until they needed something to coincide with the re-birth of our lord, the Sun.

Y'know, the big light in the sky, without which this rock would be as lifeless as the moon, and without which you, I and your prodigal manger-born son of a Mesopotamian transplant wouldn't exist. Heck. Neither would the transplant.

So the more seasonal songs there are about snow, and not Jesus in a manger, I say the better.
Posted by Uriel-238 on December 21, 2009 at 2:35 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 42
..i saw mel torme 'open' for sarah vaughn at ravinia a few decades ago.. she was, as to have been expected, transcendant. but he gave her a tough run for her money..and they both ( in seperate sets) sang 'send in the clowns' ruled.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on December 22, 2009 at 2:42 AM · Report this
Mel Torme was one of the most gifted musicians and singers. He could sing anything and harmonise flawlessly. Judy........well, if you know anything about dreams and special red shoes and a voice that could melt hearts....say no more.

A sadly missed duo from the old school of Real Music performers.

RIP and never far from my thinking in making music comparisons with the performers of today.
Posted by hattonhall on October 28, 2012 at 2:52 AM · Report this

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