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.
“Christmas is sights, especially the sights of Christmas reflected in the eyes of a child.”
“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”
“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”
“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”
“Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.”
“My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still.”
Let’s smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday.
Tonight, we continue our musical march to Christmas.
We all know Christmas is about the kids. This week’s musical selections are for the children, and the child in all of us this time of year.
We begin with the beautiful voice of Maureen McGovern who asks a musical question.
Juan Martinez hoists his daughter Kamila Martinez, 6, up so she can get a better view of the tree during the Macy’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at Downtown Crossings in Boston on Nov. 29, 2013 (Photo: Essdras M Suarez/Boston Globe Staff)
In the mid-to-late 1970’s the Salsoul Orchestra had some huge disco recordings and, like all entertainers, eventually released their own Christmas album.|
The children sing in this selection.
People walk in the Light Labyrinth in the Wilanow Palace Garden in Warsaw, Poland, Dec. 6, 2013. The Labyrinth, made of over 150,000 color lamps and based on themes from “Alice in Wonderland” is a winter attraction for children. (Photo: Alik Keplicz/Associated Press)
Our next song is not about Christmas though it has become a Christmas song. Maybe because of the lyrics that include “Brown paper packages tied up with strings.”
Julie Andrews, and much, much later, Carrie Underwood sang it in “The Sound of Music.”
A legend does it more than justice here.
Children play during the opening ceremony of Christmas season at the main square of Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 29. The Mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro, inaugurated officially the Christmas season with millions of light bulbs in different parts of the city. (Photo: Fernando Vergara/Associated Press)
When I was a kid and we were buying records by Elvis and the Beatles it was our parents who were spending money on recordings by Bert Kaempfert, a composer of light, very popular melodies who hailed from Hamburg.
Kaempfert met Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best at the Top Ten Club on the Reeperbahn. They called themselves the “Beat Brothers” and did backup for British singer and guitarist Tony Sheridan. Kaempfert produced their single, “My Bonnie,” the first official recording ever made by the Fab Four.
On March 20, 1965, the Top Ten of the Billboard chart included artists like the Beatles, the Supremes, Roger Miller, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Temptations, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Kaempfert was good enough to reach #11 with “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.”
His only Christmas album released in 1963 has the usual batch of Christmas tunes, and this original written by Kaempfert. The album notes predicted this would become a lasting favorite.
Kelly Orchard stops to look at trees that are illuminated at a preview for the Enchanted Christmas at the Forestry Commissions National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire on Nov. 27, 2013, in Tetbury, England. Enchanted Christmas, is Westonbirts signature winter event, aimed to inspire festive cheer with an illuminated one mile tree-lined trail. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
We’re not done yet.
At the Mouse House in Orlando, an undeniable favorite during the Christmas parade are the toy soldiers. It takes a special kind to march in that parade.
From 1961, here’s Tommy Sands & friends.
Christmas in Alaska came early to nearly 300 students attending school in the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Kwethluk. Thanks to the volunteer program coordinated by the Alaska National Guard, Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted children in the western Alaska community on December 11, 2013, and took pictures with them before helper elves handed out gifts. AP photo, Mark Thiessen
Listen to Christmas music on the radio and you’re certain to hear the same version of Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale. Let’s liven it up a bit, shall we.
Deployed troops share their Christmas stockings with children. Operation Give, a troop-support group, sends more than 20,000 stockings to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its annual Operation Christmas Stocking collection in 2013. Photo: US Defense Department
Here’s another Christmas classic you never hear on the radio, performed by Chicago and some special guests.
Young choristers take part in Bath Abbey’s candlelit Advent Procession on Dec. 1, in Bath, England. One of the most popular services of the historic Abbey’s year, which marks the beginning of Advent and the Christian year, takes the congregation from darkness into light with a mixture of readings and music supported by the Abbey’s choirs. (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
That’s it for this week’s segment.
Have a great weekend.
For my money, the best Christmas album with angelic vocals and lush arrangements is by the Carpenters.