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The Holiday Mix CD

  • Wednesday, December 13 2006 @ 01:53 MST
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Pump up the Volume
A couple of years ago I put together a holiday mix CD that I was quite proud of. This year I put together another one and I've decided to basically post the liner notes of these two CDs right here on my blog. Who knew the mixed CD racket would go so high-tech? This is very much a seasonal CD. Most of the songs are obviously ones that you only hear at this time of year but they're the songs I can't live without every December.
1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLaughlin
I just like this for being a little bit kitschy and impromptu.

2. Christmas Wonderland – Bert Kamphert
I love the melancholy trumpet solo that is the heart of this piece.

3. Glad to Be Alive – Blue Rodeo
In 2002 the Palace of Gold tour hit the west in late November and Greg Keelor would introduce this song as a “kind of Christmas song”.

4. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby
5. Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
6. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Oldies but goodies.

7. Something About Christmas Time – Bryan Adams
Not just 1980s cheese, Canadian 1980s cheese.

8. Please Come Home By Christmas – Etta James
One of the great blues voices of our time. It's only fitting that even her Christmas album has sad songs on it.

9. You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch
This song has great similes.

10. Blue Christmas – Elvis
It's interesting to me that there are so many songs that depict lost relationships being worse at Christmas.

11. I'll Be Home for Christmas – Bing Crosby
I just had to include some Bing. I always think of how bitter-sweet this song must have been to troops overseas during WWII. I guess it still must be for the troops away from home now.

12. Christmas in the Trenches – John McCutcheon
As a friend said to me “only you could make a Christmas CD with TWO songs about the First World War on it” (keep scrolling for the other one).

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.
I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, ``Now listen up, me boys!'' each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
``He's singing bloody well, you know!'' my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war
As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
``God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'' struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was ``Stille Nacht.'' ``Tis `Silent Night','' says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky
``There's someone coming toward us!'' the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night
Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men
Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night
``Whose family have I fixed within my sights?''
'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore
My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

13. Song for a Winter's Night – Sarah McLaughlin
The darkness in winter can make it such a lonely, heartbreaking time. In summer it's easier to keep busy and forget things that don't need to be thought about but winter leaves too much time to reflect.

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin'
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The mornin' light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
And to be once again with with you
To be once again with with you

14. Christmas Comes to Us All Once A Year – Mahalia Jackson
This is one of my Red Deer Grandmother's favourite artists.

15. Hands – Jewel
This is a very pretty version of this song. I could stand to listen to more uplifting music like this.

16. Parade of the Toy Soldiers – Harry Connick Jr.
Obnoxious, loud, high trumpet...that's all you need to know about why I like this one.

17. Santa Baby – Marilyn Monroe
This is credited to Marilyn but I think that it might it actually be a professional impersonator. At any rate, I like it better that the Eartha Kitt version. No reason, I just do. It's also infinitely better than the 1980's Madonna cover that she sings in her I'm-a-coot-wittle-girl voice.

18. Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Redding
A nice R&B version of this song.

19. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (Christmas Version)
Christmas, flying, WWI. I think this might be the best song ever written although I seriously doubt that Richthofen would have given a shit that he heard the bells from the village below. Also, if Snoopy's wings were icing that badly he wouldn't have been “landing” behind enemy lines or anywhere else for that matter.

20. Fairy Tale of New York – The Pouges
Evil Scientist hates this song. “Merry effin' Christmas!” He rants, “it's supposed to be a happy time of year!” For a non-Christian he sure gets bent out of shape about it. I'm not sure that he realizes that for a lot of people, this isn't a very happy time of year.

21. Silent Night – John Denver and the Muppet's
Dude, it's the Muppet's singing in German! How cool is that?

22. Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon
Reflection is an important part of the holiday season.

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Xmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Xmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Xmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Xmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

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