What a great season it’s been thus far. We’ve had more visits in just the first than week than we had all season last year. It’s been wonderful. The comments have also been much appreciated. That’s what Christmas is all about—bringing people together, whether that might be at your family dinner table or through the blogosphere. With that said, I’d like to send my best to our friends over at Bongobells. They’ve dealt with some hard times recently—you can read about it on their site. Here’s hoping the season finds them, and everyone, in the best of places.
As I compiled the songs for today’s post, I realized that nearly all of them are a little downbeat. It’s a cloudy, cold day here in Virginia and the songs fit the atmosphere today.
Please Come Home for Christmas – Charles Brown
Here’s an example of why people hate the typical Christmas tunes we hear on the radio. Each year, stations drag out the boring, uninspired Eagles version of this song. And, if you only listen to mainstream radio (and I suppose people still do), you’d only know of that version and be missing Charles Brown soulful and mournful rendition. This is by far my favorite version of the song. We have another one done by The Uniques that we’ll post this season.
Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day – Brenda Lee
Yet again—everyone knows “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” which is a fine tune. But Brenda Lee recorded lots of Christmas songs. Don’t let those soaring strings and backup vocals fool you—much like “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home” this is a deeply melancholy song.
Christmas Is Just Another Day for Me – Ernest Tubb
The Texas Troubadour lamenting the “gloom around [his] Christmas tree.” Tubb’s voice was unmistakable. He actually mocked his own singing style. He told an interviewer that 95% of the men in bars would hear his music on the juke box and reply to their girlfriends, "I can sing better than him," and Tubb added that they would be right. But of course, we know that’s not true. The rip of this song features a skip toward the end for some reason.
Christmas Eve Can Kill You – The Everly Brothers
The brothers never sounded more like Simon and Garfunkle than on this 1972 track. It’s relentlessly depressing and might verge on parody if their vocals didn’t play it so straight. It should be no surprise that the song was included in a now out-of-print compilation called Bummed Out Christmas which featured such other downbeat holiday songs as “Santa Got a DWI” and “Somebody Stole My Santa.”
Call Collect On Christmas – Del McCoury
This one comes courtesy of Brendan over at The Rising Storm, one of my favorite blog sites on the net. I had never heard this track before but it just might take the cake as the saddest on this list. This comes from 1974’s My Dixie Home. As Brendan noted, it doesn’t sound like a “typical” Christmas song. But it certainly sounds like the best of bluegrass.
Coming up in the next few days, I’ll try to dig back through my CD collection and post a few pre-war blues tracks.