INTERESTING STUFF – 22 December 2018
Merry Christmas 2018

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2018

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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Christmas Oz

Well it’s the time of the year when I go on my annual rant about snow, icicles, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, sleigh bells and all that other folderol that seems to infect Christmas songs.

That’s not Christmas where I live and the couple of times I’ve experienced Christmas like that it felt completely, totally, utterly wrong.

Christmas is long warm (or dare I say hot) days with chilled Champagne or cold white wine sipped in the shade with cold prawns, lobster, salads and such for the Christmas feast.

Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting, let’s play some jolly music.

DADDY COOL would certainly know of what I speak as they come from Melbourne too.

Daddy Cool

They were the biggest band in Australia in the early seventies until they split. They reformed and split several times over the years but alas, no more as only two of the group are still alive.

The song today is from one of their later reformations when they recorded an album called “The New Cool”. The song is The Christmas Bug.

♫ Daddy Cool - The Christmas Bug

JULIA LEE AND HER BOYFRIENDS seem to have some sort of Christmas Spirit.

Julia Lee

It’s not the spirit usually associated with Christmas because Santa can’t bring what she wants most. I’ll let her (and her friends) tell you about it.

♫ Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends - Christmas Spirit

KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK AND JACK DEJOHNETTE perform and record regularly together.

Keith Jarrett Gary Peacock Jack DeJohnette

Separately they are some of the best around on their various instruments, so together they play some of the finest jazz going these days. From one of their albums, “After the Fall” we find out that Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Well, we knew that already, but it’s good to hear what they make of that hoary old song.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

THE HOLLY TWINS want only one thing for Christmas.

Holly Twins

Before I tell you what that is, I’d like to say that I know very little about The Holly Twins. The only thing is that they are twins and their names are Jonell and Glenell McQuaig. They sing I Want Elvis for Christmas.

They have the help of Eddie Cochran on this song both playing guitar and impersonating Elvis in between verses. Eddie died in a car crash at age 21.

♫ Holly Twins - I Want Elvis For Christmas

I featured a live video of THE POGUES' song Fairytale of New York in the very first of these Christmas columns and I thought it was time for their original studio version.


In the past I've also used a superior version of the song by Tex Perkins and Claire Bowditch who are also far better looking than SHANE MCGOWAN who sang the song. But then, I'm far better looking than Shane too.

Shane McGowan

That's Shane, not me. Singing with Shane is KIRSTY MCCOLL, daughter of singer/songwriter Ewan McColl.

Kirsty Maccoll

Kirsty died in a boating accident in 2000.

♫ Pogues - Fairytale of New York

RUFUS THOMAS is probably best known for his novelty songs, one of which, Walking the Dog, was a nice little earner for him when the Rolling Stones covered it.

Rufus Thomas

Naturally he doesn’t take the season too seriously when he tells his sweetie (or someone): I'll Be Your Santa Baby. He gives it a really funky feeling.

♫ Rufus Thomas - I'll Be Your Santa Baby

ESTHER PHILLIPS, also known as Little Esther, recorded a few songs with MEL WALKER, backed by the JOHNNY OTIS orchestra.

Esthe rMel & Johnny

Esther is disconsolate because her baby is so far away, but like all good Christmas wishes, everything comes good in the end. All this is revealed in Far Away Christmas Blues.

♫ Little Esther & Mel Walker with Johnny Otis Orchestra - Far Away Christmas Blues

This year we’ll have a couple of moments of couth to end proceedings.



Around his time the Concerto Grosso was top of the pops and he wrote a bunch of them (as did Handel and others). The one I’ve selected is the third movement of Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 8 because it’s also generally called Christmas Concerto, or if you want to be technically correct: Made for Christmas Night.

♫ Corelli - Concerto Grosso n.08 Op.6 (3)

J.S. BACH wrote cantatas for every Sunday of the year and all religious holidays.


He wrote several for the various days around Christmas and the one I’ve chosen is a chorale cantata for the first Sunday after Christmas which is close enough for me. It is the first movement of BWV 122, Das neugeborne Kindelein, or The new born child.

♫ Bach JS - Das neugeborne Kindelein BWV 122 ~ 1. Coro Das neugebornene Kindelein

Christmas Oz


And a Merry Ho Ho to my favorite music provider in his upside-down world of Australia! Warmest regards from another warm (well, sort of) part of the world, Southern California!

Merry Christmas Peter! Thank you for a wonderful year of Musicology. ~Cheers!

Happy Holidays, Peter and Norma.

It isn't just Australia that is enjoying a warm Christmas. Our day temperatures in Tucson, AZ are in the 70's and I have the front door open.

That's the best "Santa Clause is Coming To Town" that I have ever heard. Thanks for that. Now on to YouTube to hear my favorite holiday song by Mel Torme.

I'm not much for Christmas music as a rule, but this is a great bunch of songs. I too shall be enjoying a Melbourne Christmas for my 36th year. I am familiar with the other kind being from UK, I think I prefer the warm kind. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Merry Christmas to you and Asst. -- hope you're healing well.

Another interesting group of songs and artists. I've never cared much for so-called novelty tunes though there are a few I can enjoy listening to occasionally. As much as I like jazz I much prefer my Christmas music in more traditional genres.

Can appreciate your objection to talk of Christmas snow when you have none. Having grown up in snow country, living in Southern California as I do now, it doesn't feel like Christmas here to me. The only snow I see is on the distant mountain tops, if it hasn't melted after two or three days as usually happens. Christmas includes snow for me so mostly only those songs pluck my emotional strings -- also, wearing woolen clothes, turtle neck sweaters are my favored seasonal clothes but I can't wear them here 'cause they're too hot.

That said, I prefer to continue living in So Cal, have no desire to live again in snow country, but when Christmas rolls around I want to hear traditional (for my generation) Christmas music that talks of snow, cold, longing, memories, etc. generally with full orchestra.

I grew up in a snowless environment in central Texas, and Christmas usually found us in shorts and rollerskating or otherwise engaged in outdoor activities. Having been back in the snowy mid-west for decades, I've become used to more traditional Christmas scenes, but this year the snow came in November and is mostly gone now, so we probably don't look too much different than Australia, although you wouldn't want to be in an outdoor pool here.

Thank you for another year of interesting and entertaining music selections Peter and Norma. Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas from Florida! Thank you for wonderful music, this season and throughout the year.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

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