Goodnight everyone, and have a Christmas love weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy!

This week…

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Love is in the air. The Christmas kind. Let’s put it to music, shall we?

We begin with a Christmas song that’s been described as incredibly icky and creepy.

Incredibly icky?

Creepy?

Some folks think so (I don’t).

Do you know the Christmas song we’re talking about? It’s also been referred to as ‘Everyone’s Favorite Date-Rape Holiday Classic.’

Slay Belle (yes, that’s her name, no pun intended) writes about pop culture on persephonemagazine.com and takes a much more positive view of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

From her column:

The structure of “Baby” is a back and forth conversation between the male and female singers. Every line the woman utters is answered by him, until they come together at the end of the song. When we just look at “Say, what’s in this drink,” we ignore the lines that proceed and follow this, which are what indicates to the listener how we’re supposed to read the context.

The song sets up a story where the woman has dropped by her beau’s house on a cold winter night. They talk in the first verse about how long she’s going to stay. She has “another drink” and stays longer, and then later in the evening it’s implied that she’s going to sleep over.

The song, which is a back and forth, closes with the two voices in harmony. This is important — they’ve come together. They’re happy. They’re in agreement. The music has a wonderfully dramatic upswell and ends on a high note both literally and figuratively. The song ends with the woman doing what she wants to do, not what she’s expected to do, and there’s something very encouraging about that message.

There are lots of versions of this song, but I think this is one of the best you probably won’t hear on your FM radio.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 5 : News Photo

All that fuss, and it’s not really a Christmas song per se. It’s a winter song.

If you follow the world of entertainment gossip you know that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are the real deal. The couple started dating three years ago this month and she says she’s “super in love.”

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Shelton doesn’t sing on this track from a 2017 release, but I bet he was on Stefani’s mind.

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OK. If you’re going to a music blog about Christmas love songs you have to include “A Christmas Love Song.”

I couldn’t nail down the exact year this came out. There have been reports ranging from 1988 to the early 90’s.

Johnny Mandel, still alive in his 90’s, wrote the music. Husband and wife team Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote the lyrics. It’s a beauty. Note how it begins with a phrase that’s the title of that Mariah Carey song you hear so often these days.

 

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When our next performer passed away in 2000 the Guardian wrote:

One of the most evocative sounds of the mid- to late-1950s, issuing from juke boxes, radios and film soundtracks, was the sexy, whispering voice of Julie London, who has died aged 74. Her own view was that she had “only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”

Her voluptuous features on the album cover were described by publicists as “generating enough voltage to light up a theatre marquee”.

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Similarly, the cover of her Calendar Girl album featured 12 glamorous shots, and, for her 1961 album, Whatever Julie Wants…

Whatever Julie Wants

she was guarded by armed security men as she posed beside $750,000 worth of furs, jewels and piles of money.

This 1957 recording is vintage Julie London.

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In 1961 Ray Anthony and the Bookends recorded a Christmas song that, again, won’t be on radio playlists of 2018.

Get ready to pucker up.

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Bandleader Ray Anthony and his female vocal duo of Diane Hall and Anita Ray known as The Bookends.

BTW you can find “Christmas Kisses” and other great material on this CD…

That’s it for this week.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Have a weekend filled with love.

We close with this dedication to the love of my life, my Polish bride, Jennifer.

We’re not done smoochin’.

Couple Kissing Under The Mistletoe

 

Briana Evigan and Paul Campbell in Once Upon a Holiday (2015)

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: The forgotten Milwaukee Christmas concert

*AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG I’D LIKE TO THINK IT’S ALL GOOD. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST, IN MY VIEW, FORGOTTEN OLDIE SEGMENTS OF 2018. LOVE IT!*

During the holiday season of 1992, PBS aired a nationwide broadcast on its stations of “The Christmas Songs,” a concert featuring Mel Torme, Maureen McGovern, Doc Severinsen and His Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra directed by Zdenek Macal, the Carroll College PROJECT CREATE Children’s Choir, and the Alleluia Ringers of Concordia University.

The concert was taped at the then-Milwaukee Auditorium and it was terrific. The performance was aired for the next few years on PBS and then POOF, it was gone. Disappeared. Tucked into a vault somewhere. What a waste.

I asked a friend and good source at Milwaukee Public Television who was there then and remains now as to why. He supplied the answer with great detail.

PBS actually hired Milwaukee Public Television to produce the concert on their behalf and it was that year’s PBS national Christmas show.

PBS paid for the producers and directors, etc. The Milwaukee tech crew was utilized but PBS also brought in a large remote unit that Milwaukee staffed as Milwaukee’s truck was deemed too small, so it was used just for backup recording of the concert. PBS also brought in a large remote audio production truck from Nashville to handle all the sound mixing.

As to why this great concert hasn’t been an annual tradition on public television, I was informed it all amounts to rights payments. My source believes PBS negotiated and paid for two years usage of the concert tape, and then, no more.

For it to be used again, someone would have to do the re-negotiations with all the artists, the musicians, etc. Everyone would need to get paid yet again. In 1992 even the musicians that did a bit of a solo part got paid extra. Then there are also the payments to the musicians health and welfare (read pension) fund.  Again, we’re talking $$$.

What about another (YIKES) pledge drive to support a rebroadcast? Just a thought.

Hard to find a tape of that entire concert, even on Ebay, etc.

We did find a few videos from that show.

Let’s begin with numero uno.

And…

BONUS!

ENCORE!

Good luck finding it.

Today’s highly interesting read (11/30/18): Don’t let Trump hatred thwart the school choice movement

This week the website Urban Milwaukee reported that “the most recent state school report cards found a gap between MPS regular schools and Milwaukee charter schools and private schools participating in the choice program.” MPS is being outperformed

It’s a well-written piece with plenty documentation.

Please take a look as the article is a prelude to today’s read fro,m best-selling author and radio talk-show host …

Larry Elder.

From his column:

The Detroit school board recently voted 6-to-1 to consider removing Dr. Ben Carson’s name from one of its high schools. Carson, a former Detroit student and former head of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pioneered several groundbreaking neurosurgical procedures. He now serves as President Donald Trump’s secretary of housing and urban development. But one school board member said Carson’s name on the school is comparable to “having Trump’s name on our school in blackface.”

Let’s hope that hatred for Trump does not stall the growing movement for private school choice as an alternative to public K-12 education. A 2015 survey conducted by Knowledge Networks for Education Next found that nationally, 13 percent of non-teacher parents have sent one or more of their school-age kids to private school for at least some of their K-12 schooling. But 20 percent of teachers with children have done the same. The number is much higher for teachers in urban areas.

There’s more. You can read it here.

18TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Previously on This Just In…

The update.

Other articles in this series:

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

’Wait Until 8th’ pledge asks parents to hold off on giving smartphones to kids

How smartphones hijack our brains

Smartphones really are dangerous for our kids (they put them at risk for suicide and more)

Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone?

Smartphone habits of kids becoming a danger to Milwaukee’s public education

Commentary: Why quitting smartphones is the new quitting smoking

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier — up to a point, new research shows

Phone-addicted teens aren’t as happy as those who play sports and hang out IRL, new study suggests

Screen addiction is destroying travel. Here’s how to stop it

How to break up with your phone

Exclusive: Nearly half of parents worry their child is addicted to mobile devices

 I wish my mom’s phone wasn’t invented, 2nd grader writes in school project

Parents this common habit is making your kids act like monsters

We Need to Talk About Farting on the Subway

More Screen Time For Teens Linked To ADHD Symptoms

Smartphones raising a mentally fragile generation

Today’s highly interesting read (11/28/18): The Suburbs Are Changing. But Not in All the Ways Liberals Hope.

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As a suburban dweller I was intrigued by a piece this week in the NY Times about suburban voters.

“Rural areas are now reliably Republican, urban areas overwhelmingly Democratic. The suburbs are lodged in between, with many economically conservative but socially liberal voters who have a foot in each party — or for whom neither party is a perfect fit.” These suburban voters’ priorities “are homeowner, taxpayer and school parent.”

Read the article here.

“Beware, beware, beware of the naked man”

Singer-songwriter and composer Randy Newman turned 75 today. Best known for his distinctive voice and film scores for 8 Pixar films, he was called the greatest songwriter alive by Paul McCartney.

His singles included, ‘Short People’, ‘I Love L.A.’,  and ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’ (Three Dog Night). A Grammy and Emmy Award-winner, Newman has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards and won twice—for ‘We Belong Together’ (Toy Story) and ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ (Monsters, Inc.).  Newman is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

One of Newman’s lesser known songs is based on a true story. A friend of Newman’s who happened to be a public defender told him about a woman who had her purse stolen by a naked man running down the street. A few blocks away police found a naked guy with the woman’s purse who swore he didn’t commit the crime. Another naked man handed the purse to him.

So why was the guy now in custody naked? He said he was having an affair with his friend’s wife, and when his friend came home, he fled out the fire escape and didn’t have time to put his clothes on.

The case went to court, and the naked man was convicted.

From one of my favorite groups…