The Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are finally finished and the first of December is in the rear view mirror. This is the time of year when people start putting up holiday lights, decorating trees, and driving like maniacs (don’t roll your eyes, you know its true).
This is also the time, every year, when most businesses start a cycle of Christmas tunes, occasionally interrupted by one of Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song variants. Depending on where you are you may notice a preponderance of irreligious tunes (Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, White Christmas) or religious ones (Silent Night, We Three Kings, Away In a Manger).
If you’re in a particularly trendy store, you’ll also likely run across some of the modern “adult” Christmas songs designed to be somewhat irreverent, from Baby, It’s Cold Outside and Santa Baby down to the most beloved Christmas song to mention drunk tanks and include sexual insults and slurs, Fairytale of New York.
You’ll get the Bing Crosby / David Bowie rendition of Little Drummer Boy just about anywhere, because it’s fantastic. It just is.
But most artists carve out a Christmas song or three, sometimes an entire album, during their careers. The simple fact is that variants on the classics are the ones people get to hear. The other ones? Not so much.
With that in mind, the Night Owl is bringing to you some of the Christmas songs you’re less likely to run across while doing holiday shopping.
First up is a true classic… and by that, I mean a song that predates most other Christmas songs played today. If you want to get into the holiday spirit with the most disturbing Christmas song around, here’s Down In Yon Forest, rendition by one of Canada’s most famous troubadours, Bruce Cockburn:
Getting from a 1500s song that seems somewhat inclined to cause suicidal depression, I move forward a half of a millennium to one of my favorites from the year just past. From Skinny Lister, a folk-punk British band, Christmas Calls:
While I’m presenting that, I should probably present one from the band that Skinny Lister opened for on one of their first American tours, the Dropkick Murphys’ The Season’s Upon Us.
Then there’s the much prettier but far more open to artistic impression tune, Star of Wonder by Tori Amos. A traditional Christmas tune in its composition, it’s a beautiful addition to any playlist for the season. And the album it’s off of, Midwinter Graces, has other beautiful renditions. And very strange ones. Because Tori Amos.
But because I can’t just leave it with some beautiful, odd music… I’m leaving it with some very much NOT beautiful, but odd, music. Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy, a country tune originally from Buck Owens in 1965 but known mostly by hardcore Garth Brooks fans after he covered the tune. Enjoy this rendition by Bowling For Soup.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite family/personal holiday tradition of the season?