Monday, December 19, 2011

a christmas carol

so i made it home to louisiana for the holidays! my step mom led the choir singing christmas songs at church on sunday, and she was real nervous, but i thought it turned out alright... kinda like gift giving: it's always been the thought that counts. but here is the one problem with the ward choirs - there ain't a tryout or nothing. so inevitably somebody gets in there that sounds a little less extraordinary than what you wish they did, and the rest of the choir is left teeter-tottering between the howl of a farmhouse hound and the grace of a Higher Power to pull them to safety. in this case the offending party was... well, i won't say his name, but b.h.h. (bless his heart,) he really got all into the christmas spirit, when the other 20+ people up there were wishing he'd gone a bit more scrooge and shut up. my father was one of them people. somehow my dad ended up right next to him when they got up to sing, and i could just see his face trying to remain neutral - but how do you stay neutral when you got that sound blaring in your ear? one woman in the alto section couldn't stop chuckling when he'd hit some real bad notes. well, luckily - there were enough parts when only the women were singing and enough other parts where it was all in unison, so that it weren't too bad. 'cause even the worst of singers do pretty okay during the unison parts.

but my point here - i do like me some christmas music, and they sang some good ones. i know a few of yall get all uptight when the radio goes all christmas, (and i do try to use terms like "holiday tree," and i try to remember to say "happy holidays" to people instead of "merry christmas," cause i know that the latter can be kinda isolating if you ain't somebody that celebrates christmas,) but i really do like this time of year. and especially here in louisiana; manger scenes everywhere, store employees saying merry christmas in the shopping malls (they ain't never heard of a non-christian down here), and 70 degree weather too. yeah, i can get behind a christmas like this one. (last year was in Laos, and the weather was even warmer than this, but there wasn't no christmas tree out in the village where i was staying.)

so here it is - my favorite christmas albums. and i don't care what anybody says, these are the best. (and the harry connick jr album is real bad, so don't even come up to me with that mess.)

5. the forbidden carols, michael mclean (i know the album ain't called that. but i call it that for obvious reasons to anyone that has heard the whole thing. and the story book that goes along with it is really awful. it's this whole mess about john the revelator flirting with this woman who ultimately cries "the day (she) takes the tree down," so i know that i shouldn't include the album on my list...but i can't help it. i still like it... i just do.)

4. our finest gifts, the nw boychoir and vocal point. i guess you can't buy this one no more, but they got a bunch of others; just go to their website. (i found this album in a 2nde hand shop in the university district, and then i looked em up online to see when they'd be performing. so i ended up seeing them back when their concerts were free; now they cost too much, but this is the best alternative. besides, who else can justifiably sing little drummer boy?)

3. the andy williams christmas album (he just sounds better than the rest. he sounds better than bing crosby, harry connick jr, michael bubbly, frank sinatra, adele, and any other similarly-styled singer living or dead.)

2. home for the holidays, amy grant (this might be an unlikely choice, but seriously, the album adds two songs to the bonafide christmas season staples. and also amy grant really believes in christ. some of the other singers only sing about christmas for the money.)

1. a christmas portrait, the carpenters. (i've never heard the original lp release, just the cd version. but that said, it's amazing; the album plays as one complete piece. and of course this is karen carpenter we're talkin bout here, with some unidentifiable input by her brother richard, i'm guessing. but by far the best christmas album of all time, hands down, 100% sure.)


Anonymous said...

Haha! I loved your ward choir story, so true! Merry Christmas!

jrm said...

thanks shelby! and merry holidays to you too!