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!
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.
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.
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.”
Shelton doesn’t sing on this track from a 2017 release, but I bet he was on Stefani’s mind.
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.
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”.
Similarly, the cover of her Calendar Girl album featured 12 glamorous shots, and, for her 1961 album, 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.
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.
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.
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’.