American Elephants


O Holy Night! by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

I hope to stop in more throughout the day, but in case you don’t, I know my fellow elephants join me in wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases! And Joy to the World!



Merry Christmas Three-fer by American Elephant

I suppose I should have known from the start that since much of my favorite Christmas carols were hard to find audio recordings of, that finding them on YouTube would be even more unlikely. That obvious conclusion, nonetheless, escaped me.

BUT! While I haven’t necessarily been able to find the songs I most wanted to share, I have found some fun stuff that I hadn’t seen or heard before myself. The first of which is a performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which is usually one the most tedious and/or obnoxious carols around, but NOT when done by the King’s Singers with Julie Andrews. Dame Andrews doesn’t actually sing in this one, while it’s her special, she’s just there for comedic effect. Although everyone should own at least one of her various Christmas albums.

The second is the sultry stylings of legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson in That’s What I Want for Christmas. Often imitated, never equaled.

And last but not least, Chanticleer, perhaps the best men’s chorus in the world, performing in the Medievil Sculpture Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in front of the Neapolitan Baroque Créche and Christmas Tree. The tree is beautiful beyond compare, the acoustics in the room are breathtaking. Many PBS stations will replay the performance each year — watch the whole performance if you can.



My Favorite Things by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Music, Pop Culture, Religion | Tags: , ,

Nobody beats the original by Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, but one of my favorite things is Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ Christmas Album. We grew up with it, and last year I found this rare footage on YouTube. The whole album is a classic; one that everyone should have.



Sussex Carol by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , ,

I love traditional English carols, particularly the less familiar ones. They always remind me of my English grandma. Sussex Carol was, “first published in the 17th century by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs. It is not clear whether Wadding wrote the song or was recording an earlier composition.” It is performed here by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, one of the best in the world.



Old Toy Trains by American Elephant
December 24, 2013, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

My tastes in Christmas music are all over the map. First choral, then jazz, now country — and who knows what next. I like an eclectic mix. Now, I’m generally not very big on much country music — nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t usually my thing — but that means when I DO like a country song, you know it’s gotta be a good one. And so this is.

Old Toy Trains was, I believe, first introduced by Roger Miller back sometime in the late 1960′s and has since become a standard covered by many — but my favorite by far is this deep, cozy version by Toby Keith from the compilation CD, A Country Christmas. All the nostalgia of childhood Christmas wrapped up in one comfortable old song.

I liked it so much the first year I heard it, that I dragged out the old HO and set it up around the Christmas tree. *I* thought it was charming and watched it circle underneath the twinkling lights for hours; no one else seemed to even notice.

Then again, mine was no where near as cool as this guy’s. Now, THAT’s cool!



Buon Natale by American Elephant
December 21, 2010, 9:50 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Nat King Cole, believe it or not, sings more than just The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). This is one of my favorites, because unlike that other, you don’t hear it every time you turn around, and besides, it’s just fun.



Snow! by American Elephant
December 19, 2010, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Movies, Music | Tags: , , ,

I have snow on the brain as I watch other parts of the country, and world, being covered in blankets of beautiful white just in time for Christmas. We still don’t have any here, and so far the weather report suggests we won’t get any until two days after Christmas.

So some carols and songs that have more to do with snow than Christmas are buzzing around my brain. The first is Snow from the movie musical White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. The second is also titled Snow, but a very different song by the French songstress Claudine Longet.

What about you? Are you going to have a white Christmas?



Old Toy Trains by American Elephant
December 16, 2010, 7:31 am
Filed under: Music, Politics, Religion | Tags: ,

Like I said, my tastes in Christmas music are all over the map. First choral, then jazz, now country — and who knows what next. I like an eclectic mix. Now, I’m generally not very big on much country music — nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t usually my thing — but that means when I DO like a country song, you know it’s gotta be a good one. And so this is.

Old Toy Trains was, I believe, first introduced by Roger Miller back sometime in the late 1960′s and has since become a standard covered by many — but my favorite by far is this deep, cozy version by Toby Keith from the compilation CD, A Country Christmas. All the nostalgia of childhood Christmas wrapped up in one comfortable old song.

I liked it so much the first year I heard it, that I dragged out the old HO and set it up around the Christmas tree. *I* thought it was charming and watched it circle underneath the twinkling lights for hours; no one else seemed to even notice.

Then again, mine was no where near as cool as this guy’s. Now, THAT’s cool!



My Favorite Things by American Elephant
December 16, 2009, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , ,

Nobody beats the original by Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, but one of my favorite things is Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ Christmas Album. We grew up with it, and this year I found this rare footage on YouTube. The whole album is a classic.



Carol of the Bells by American Elephant
December 13, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: Music, Television | Tags: , , ,

Shchdedryk, The Ukrainian Carol, or Carol of the Bells — different names for the same beautiful carol. There are so many excellent renditions of this carol to choose from — unless you happen to be limiting yourself to performances available on YouTube — in which case you get a thousand mediocre High School Choirs, ten-thousand amateur webcam performances, and if you are persistent, you might unearth a few gems.

I am.

So, I present, first, the Muppets, followed by Julie Andrews in her (1973?) Christmas Special with the Treorchy Male Choir, and finally George Winston’s beautiful piano arrangement.

Merry Christmas!



We Need a Little Christmas by American Elephant
December 12, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , ,

The New Christy Minstrels, from one of my favorite Christmas albums.



Christmas Classics by American Elephant
December 10, 2009, 1:43 am
Filed under: Movies, Music, Religion | Tags: , ,

Before the stop-motion animation Rudolph we all know and love came to be, there was this animated short written by Robert May and Joe Stultz, and directed by Max Fleischer.

And here is the original White Christmas from the movie Holiday Inn, starring Washington State’s own Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The actress is Marjorie Reynolds, but the voice is Martha Mears. The song became such a hit that they wrote an entire movie around it the next year. But this time, Fred Astaire declined the role which then went to Danny Kaye. Fred may have later regretted that decision because White Christmas went on to become the biggest movie of 1954.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,429 other followers

%d bloggers like this: