Posted by: graemebird | December 24, 2009

Christmas Song Interpretation Thread.

This is a thread to do with finding various singers that have added new life to Christmas Carols. But if you don’t have a really good example a good Christmas song will do.

A long time ago a Couzie-bro pointed out to me that Willie Nelson was terrific when it came to Christmas Carols. And that advice has held me in good stead over the years. But a quick review of his efforts on youtube doesn’t begin to do justice to him. And it may be because of the vermin tax department, giving him all that trouble. Perhaps he is not in a good position to leave his best efforts going for free.

I’ll choose this one to start off the thread. It may be a little hard on your ears, being as this music would seem to not have any black influence to it. The black non-black influence cutoff can be made solid between Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. I tend to think of Bing as the better singer on points. But whereas Sinatra is in jukeboxes all around town, Crosby is not, and I interpret this fact as being about us not really having an ear for music that lacks the black-American influence.

If you have better versions of Good King Wenceslas, do please post them one after the other. I particularly like this Carol and don’t really know why but I can guess or say some tangential things about it. Firstly he is a good King walking about with a page and you don’t hear much about his retinue of bully-boy soldiers. Or clergy for that matter. In fact the first you hear of him he is riding on a pony. And maybe its kind of nice to hear about a “Good King” as opposed to a “Great King”. Maybe we need to have the economic historians start checking out the tolerable and the good kings to see if capital accumulation and general conditions improved a lot under their reign.

Actually of course I didn’t think about these things when I first recognised that I kinda liked this Christmas carol.

Here is Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing this one. Note the intensely pleasing and quintessential “American” voice of Rosemary Clooney. I’ll keep posting Christmas songs and carols that I think are kinda neat, even if you mean-spirited Scrooge-lovin’ readers don’t want to help me out on this.



  1. A great effort from Hillary Duff. And I’m a big fan of Billy Idol. Excellent work from the baddest girl in Bad Girls. But in the end I had to give it to Hall & Oates:

  2. I might be able to find a version that beats this on points. But this is an excellent version. And I am after all a big fan of Billy Idol.

    If you are male and not in the Christmas mood just substitute “tight mistress” and then the song will do it for you surely.

  3. say Graeme is this one of your couzie bros? are you part Maori?

  4. Of course. If you are a maori and another maori is not a couzie-bro, that maori is a cat or a dog. I’m getting ready to go home and claim my part of the booty from the renewed treaty. I’m going to be going around declaring places “sacred sites”

    Better watch out. The Maori Bird Santa Claus is coming to town. Give it up for the E-Street-Band.

  5. Fascinating, outre choices Birdie.

    For me Christmas music is first and foremost Bach and his Christmas Oratorio

    and then more Bach any Bach on and on into delirious infinity

  6. I was thinking of you when I went to the cult to see if they had a Christmas song. But I couldn’t find a christmas songfrom the cult. So we might break up this Christmas song gig with Cult songs. Just for variety.

    You have your Christmas Songs. And your songs from the Cult. Thats variety right there.

    Jingle Bells Jingle Bells. One-Horse-Open Sleigh. Beautiful-Girl. I’ll listen to your choice directly. Like the Lorax we never gave us the Cult their fair due. Will they ever come back to us? “Love is never Love until its gone” (Rogers-Nelson).

  7. Yeah thats interesting Philomena. Don’t know that much about Bach but I know enough that I find him very easy on the ears. I can get it right away. Whereas with the other classical blokes it often takes me a while to get it. Very cool.


    Just mixing it up with the cult. Who must be feeling neglected this Christmas. Unappreciated by Philistines and persons of low vision.

    “I’m a wild hearted son
    Hey mama, the world didn’t want me to run
    Wild hearted son”

  9. The Cult rocks!!

    Funnily enough White Christmas is probably one of my favourite Christmas songs.

    and who else to play it but the sublime Bird.

  10. One more for you Birdie.

    Happy Christmas.

  11. “The Cult rocks!!”

    So long as you believe they were never gone. Its when good girls like you stop believing that they start fading and their hips grow tired and start to lose that swivel. They start to melt away. But like Frosty, if you keep believing, they will always be with us.

  12. Isn’t Shirley a honey. I guess since she’s gay. The fantasy changes. And one would be happy to be invited in as part of the team.

  13. For Philomena the temptress:

  14. Birdie, Shirley Bassey’s not gay. I guess she is/was a top gay icon along with Garland, Minnelli, Steisand and perhaps the no 1 male gay diva icon of them all, Maria Callas, but that’s more to do with these singers being very emotionally expressive, something appreciated by gay men in particular, than these women themselves being gay, which they weren’t/aren’t mostly.

  15. Right. Well I’ve been gypped and let down and let myself down then. I’ve not appreciated this girl as much as I should have. From here on in I’ll seek her work out soak more of her work up when I can.

  16. I’m thinking of a particularly good song that sounds like her but surely isn’t her. Wait there temptress. I’ll just go and find it.

  17. Divas like the ones I mentioned are usually sopranos – and of course always female – and this is important because only the soprano can offer the emotional catharsis sought and valued.

    They do this by several means including being capable of singing at a such a high pitch that words become unintelligible which is half the goal and point, for when the emotions are so enormous and extravagant words simply don’t matter to the singer or the listener. Words get in the way!

    Divas are imperious, authoritative, capricious and yet also vulnerable, loving and willing to sacrifice all for love. Their singing is ecstatic and for men or so the theory goes, the singing of these emotionally extravagant creatures gives men the opportunity to explore the inner life of women in a way no other art form does (apart from literature).

  18. Anticipating your thinking I updated the video for that song I linked.

  19. Of course both male and female operatic characters can dispense with words altogether and reveal their natures and feelings by pure vocalising.

    As in the playful example by Mozart of the mutual delight of Papageno and his bird-bride in The Magic Flute

  20. Great song and video clips Birdie.

  21. It makes me think of shirley simply because its the sort of song that she could make an even better fist of. Its her sort of song don’t you think?

  22. Sometimes comparisons between divas are odious, Birdie, and unnecessary.

  23. Did I play this one for you already?

  24. This one makes it sound too easy. Too effortless:

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