Tag: Christmas Music

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January 6 is the twelfth day of Christmas, so I am not out of season with Christmas music. Yup, the Twelve Days of Christmas are not part of Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. Rather, the Christian church, both east* and west,** commemorate this ancient feast day twelve days after commemorating Christ’s birth. To […]

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‘Tis the Season for Bad Christmas Music

 

The Christmas season brings with it holiday music: some quite good, some not so good, and some wonderfully bad. Every wave of popular music brings with it eventual Christmas singles or albums. Singing stars, and others, seem drawn like the wise men following the star. Consider a few examples, but do set your beverage down before listening, as some are inadvertently merry and bright.

We start, of course, with disco. At the tail end of the disco craze, you could expect orchestras to show they are with it. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra did not disappoint, recording a medley, “Hooked on Christmas” in 1981. The Universal Robot Band released “Disco Christmas” in 1977, straddling street cred and sentiment. Then there were the combined efforts of various session musicians and disco labels. Salsoul released the 1976 album whose cover art you see here. I think the Salsoul OrchestraChristmas Medley” is better than the philharmonic attempt. All of these are better than the perhaps earnest attempt by Charo: “Mamacita, Donde este Santa Clause.” Then there is the album by Mirror Image, a group of studio musicians, turned out Disco Noël with “Silver Bells” as you’ve never heard it before:

A Calico Christmas

 

Spending my teenage years growing up in Laredo, TX, was not a particularly easy or pleasant experience. Amongst the many annoyances one had to deal with in a culturally isolated South Texas border town was a lack of quality English-language programming on the radio. If you weren’t into silly bubble-gum pop or a multitude of Spanish-language musical genres, you were out of luck. Thus, I had to rely heavily on AM radio stations broadcasting from San Antonio, some 150 miles up I-35.

Among the ones I listened to most were KTSA 550-AM, a talk radio station (on which I would discover a dynamic young conservative talk show host named Rush Limbaugh in June 1991) and KKYX 680-AM, a country music station that every Friday featured a college football program hosted by then-Texas Tech head coach William “Spike” Dykes.

While listening to the latter in December 1990, a beautiful, sentimental song was played over and over again. The name of the song was “Calico Christmas.” It had wonderful lyrics, telling the story of a soldier stationed overseas who was missing Christmas in his Texas hometown, dreaming of his bride in her favorite calico dress. It received a lot of airplay likely because hundreds of thousands of American troops had been recently deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. War was imminent, and no doubt the song helped sooth the angst of many on the home front.

Just in time for Christmas! It’s the annual “Michael Graham Christmas Eve Radio Dance Party!” Perfect listening for family gatherings, Christmas parties, or torturing inmates at Guantanamo Bay.

Enjoy…and Merry Christmas!

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This is a great time of year for people who love music and Christmas. Some favorites I’ve been listening to this month… Aretha Franklin’s rendition of Joy to the World Kathy Troccoli’s Sentimental Christmas album. “Only Always” is a standout on the album; a romantic Christmas love song. I love Selah’s religious Rose of Bethlehem album for its […]

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Here we are. It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve mostly made it, save a couple of days I had to do my real job. Sorry about that, everyone. At this point, for everyone who has followed me this far, I’d like to thank you for accompanying me on this journey. I’ve had my thoughts and impressions, but […]

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Let’s take a good helping of Christmas: from the virgin birth, even to today’s crazy over-the-top decorations and lights. I love it all. I love this season and it makes me feel young at heart. Then let’s take the Beatles. Sure, not everyone likes the Beatles, but many of us have one or two song […]

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I’m not sure why I enjoy Elvis Christmas songs so much. Maybe he’s to blame for the surfeit of rock and pop Christmas songs, which means he would be ultimately to blame for lines like “do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” and songs like “Last Christmas” or tomorrow’s selection which is the worst […]

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Here it is, my absolute favorite Christmas song of all time. Even as a child I loved it, mixed in as it was with all these raucous Christmas songs (like the aforementioned demanding figgy pudding) that elementary school students like to sing. This one was a quiet, gentle song that perhaps that introvert within a […]

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Hey! I know I’ve missed a couple of days with this series, so today I’m adding a little bonus post! A couple of people requested I share some of their favorites. It seemed a good idea to use that as a bonus post because I had just about all of this planned. Well, sort of […]

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The holidays for some time have been associated with families and homecoming. This was of paramount importance to our family. Every year at Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas (not necessarily in that order), grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and sometimes relatives beyond that circle would all gather at one home where we’d enjoy a meal together, play […]

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In yet another “singing Angels category” I give you, “Angels We Have Heard on High”. Another jubilant song that features the angelic choir the shepherds got to see watching their flocks at night, it’s always been a favorite of mine in words, in musicality, and pacing. But I’m going to be honest here, that’s not […]

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If you grew up in church like I did, your parents hid you in various rooms during the week and stole canned food from the church kitchen so that the staff wouldn’t realize there were actual people living in the church. Wait, no, that never happened. But as a good seventies-eighties Christian Family we went […]

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I’ve already discussed perhaps the greatest Christmas special of all time, but it’s not the only one by far. In fact, for us kids at Christmas in the seventies and eighties, there was good number of Christmas specials that bombarded our television through the season of Advent. We had our favorites – including Rudolph which […]

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Let me start with an apology: Sorry about yesterday, folks. I worked eleven hours for pay, and had no time to write about music. This wasn’t anticipated, so we skipped a day. Now this song, this one is up near the top of my list of horrible songs. In fact, this is number two. We’ll […]

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Here’s a funny one. See, I’ve always sort of liked this song. It’s simple, but compelling. It starts low and quiet and builds up to an exciting climax. I used to sit at our home in Newberg and enjoy this song every time it came on. I rarely listened to the words beyond the “Do […]

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So last night my lovely wife Amanda was saying, “Your writing is just so amazing as you are handsome, but I bet your readers would like some sort of index to easily follow your list.” To which I replied, “That’s the best idea I’ve had tonight! Dang I’m handsome!” I think it went something like […]

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Let’s face it, we all agree that one of the best part of spending Christmas with family is watching the old musical comedies with Bing Crosby and such. And by “we all” I mean, “a handful of people, my sister, and I.” Okay so it’s an acquired taste for some of us. For me, as […]

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Now here’s a song just about everyone knows the tune to. It’s bright, chipper, and seems to be featured in just about every Christmas movie I have seen except for maybe Die Hard which would make for that film’s only flaw. I suspect that few know all the verses to this song, because like yesterday’s […]

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