If you grew up at a certain time, then the 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is rooted inside your brain. Don't even try dislodging it. It's stuck there forever. Which, in a lot of ways, isn't such a bad thing, and though it always seems waaaaaay too long (for me) at sixty minutes with commercials, it does have that blissfully absurd little elf who yearns to pursue a different profession:
Better yet, and one of the main reasons for the show's staying power, it has songs by Johnny Marks, who wrote the original music and lyrics for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in 1949 (based on a poem written by his brother-in-law Robert L. May, who created "Rudolph"). Years later, he wrote the rest of the special's songs, like "Silver and Gold" performed by Burl Ives. They're all included in Nick at Nite's "A Classic Cartoon Christmas," which has a truckload of other tunes from our collective childhoods, like Jimmy Durante's "Frosty the Snowman," Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here," The Muppets' "We Need A Little Christmas," and the list goes on and on. It really is one of the few Christmas albums you need.
Judy, Judy, Judy. Some would say it's just not Christmastime without her (namely me) (don't argue).
If you love Judy (like any sane person would), then do yourself a favor and visit The Judy Room, the absolute best Judy reference site out there - with all the latest news, photos, rare audio and video, a free webzine. Since this is the site's 15th anniversary, they're also offering an exclusive version of "The Judy Garland Christmas Album." Originally cobbled together in 1995, the commercially-released CD was a "just okay" collection of her seasonal tunes from her TV show. But "The Judy Room" ups the ante, giving you a supah-charged version all but exploding with more Christmas fun. Trust me, if it's Christmas-oriented and Judy, it's here. And, yes, she sings "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" - in a swing version with Bing Crosby!
"The one thing that can help most of our problems is dancing!" said James Brown, who not only said it, he lived it:
And in a flared two-toned jumper, too, bless his heart. The Founding Father of Funk is so ubiquitous, that I wasn't surprised when I first learned he'd cut a Christmas LP. What did surprise me is how listenable it is, and by that I mean, it's possible to play this throughout the year and still get caught up in its soulful highs and low-down lows. James famously demanded outright perfection from his musicians, which pays off - and how - in the complete "James Brown Christmas," with tracks and alternate versions here for the first time. Just listen to him and musicians go at it on "Go Power At Christmas Time" or the classic "Santa Clause Go Straight To The Ghetto." It's all so infectious that even your ol' granny will be up on her feet.
Speaking of infectious, the Secret Song File - believe it or not - has managed to avoid any and all contagious suchlikes and aforesaids in her travels. And everyone knows it. Even when she cut herself while shaving her legs once and blood spurted every which way, no one ran for cover. See that guy below, one of her poison-bite-taste-testers? He's utterly nonplussed.
Whenever an oopsie catches her by surprise, The Secret Song File likes to kick up her mood with some good ol' fashioned rock 'n' roll, and though the seeds (*cough*) of her favorite new album supposedly originate in the indie or alternative world, there's no denying the rockin' good times these musicians deliver. Back in the day, you might have heard them on the radio (*cough*cough*), but that's so-o-o old school, ain't it?
Happy Ho-Ho to each and every one of you!
Leave a li'l something-something comment in the stocking with care, if you dare!