Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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Caroling Into Obscurity

There are a lot of Christmas and winter holiday standards we all know, but I'm sure we've also heard plenty of really obscure ones. Music books tend to have a lot of these in them, including:

  • Thirty-Two Feet and Eight Little Tails - A song about Santa's reindeer that was in both one of my mom's piano books and one of bethje's clarinet books. I know basically how it goes, but I've never heard it on the radio or anything.
  • When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter - I actually HAVE heard this one, as it was on a record I had as a kid. Still pretty obscure, though, I would imagine.
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Me - Sweet Christmas, what a horrible title! I remember seeing this in Beth's clarinet book and laughing over the title, and then I actually heard it at work in December 2006. The tune doesn't sound anything like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," but it is ABOUT a star. The version I heard had an R&B sound to it, but I'm not sure whether that's how it was originally conceived.
  • Christmas on the Moon - My mom liked to play this one on the piano, presumably just because of how weird it was. It was about some guy wanting to spend Christmas on the Moon (duh) with his girlfriend.
  • The Christmas Candy Calendar - Another piano book entry that my mom liked to play due to its oddness. The structure was much like "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but it measured the time until Christmas in pink peppermints. The main repeated line was, "Then you and I will bake a pumpkin pie and pick a purple tie for Uncle Lou."
  • Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella - I might well have actually heard this, but I couldn't tell you what it sounds like.

Another popular source of obscure Christmas songs is elementary school, a regular cesspool of ridiculous songs that you'll probably never hear elsewhere, and which might possibly have been written by the music teachers themselves in their infinite malaise. In first grade, we sang "The Santa Express," and our second grade song included the lines, "Christmas time is coming, drummers will be drumming, pipers will play." I also remember singing something to the tune of "Jingle Bells" that mocked Santa's weight problem. (Good lesson to teach kids, huh? :P) And while I was never in the chorus, I remember a fair number of songs that they did at choral concerts. Many of them were comical songs that really weren't all that funny to anyone but certain elementary school choral directors, like "The Last Shopping Day Until Christmas," and a song that referred to Nintendo as "the TV game that makes a funny noise." Gee, you can't tell THAT was written by someone who revels in their own old-fogeyism, could you?

If you have any favorites among obscure Christmas songs, feel free to comment. But I'd like to end this entry with a comment on a song I know pretty well, but have never really understood, "I Saw Three Ships." Since when does the Christmas story have a nautical theme? Jesus had several adventures on the Sea of Galilee, but that was when he was an adult. And St. Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors, but he doesn't come into that particular song. So help me out here, okay?

Oh, and happy birthday to lozenger8! It's summer where she is now, which must be nice.
Tags: holidays, music, nostalgia
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