Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blue Christmas - A Christmas Music Countdown

“I’ll have a blue Christmas I know, dear
I hope your white Christmas brings you cheer
And when you say your prayers on this Christmas Eve
Will you feel the same dear as when you prayed with me?”
Ernest Tubb - 1948

Elvis Presley was so well-known for “Blue Christmas” that only older country music fans know that it was actually first recorded by country music singer Ernest Tubb in 1948.  Elvis also left out the lrycis above.

Tubb was born on a cotton farm in 1914 near Crisp, Texas (now a ghost town). His father was a sharecropper. Tubb spent his spare time learning to sing, yodel, and play the guitar. When he was 19, he took a job singing at a San Antonio radio station. Tubb also dug ditches for the Works Progress Administration and clerked at a drug store. In 1939, he moved to San Angelo, Texas and was hired to do a 15-minute afternoon live show on radio station KGKL-AM. He drove a beer delivery truck in order to support himself during this time. That same year, he had tonsillectomy which affected his singing style (he often remarked that half the men in the bars he sang at could sing better than he could) and he turned to songwriting.

Tubb didn’t write “Blue Christmas,” however; it was written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson. In 1957, Elvis Presley effectively made "Blue Christmas" a steadfast rock-and-roll holiday classic by recording it in his signature style. The song has since been recorded by a host of rock and country artists alike, as well as those of other genres.   * Source: Wikipedia

Elvis would have been 75 this year. Perhaps he would have sung a song such as “Blue-Light Christmas.” Today is Cyber Monday; why they didn’t hold it on Saturday, I’ll never understand when people are home and less likely to abuse their work computers and take a chance on losing their jobs.

Here are a few CD tips for your Cyber Monday holiday music shopping:

 Encore Christmas with the Boston Pops – a must-have for any Christmas music collection.

 The Sound of Christmas – The Sound of Music was a marvelous movie; it’s always been my favorite. But “The Sound of Christmas” is an album by the real Trapp Family Singers. In their time, music festivals were common in Europe, particularly the famous Salzburg Music Festival. The Von Trapps won for a very good reason. Even Hitler wanted to meet them but Baron Von Trapp declined the invitation and shortly after that, the family left Europe. Many of the songs are in German; a few are in English. “Silent Night” is sung in German and then in English and they sing a capella – with no accompaniment. Buy this album and find out for yourselves why the Von Trapp Family Singers were famous long before the musical or the movie ever came out. This is the ultimate Christmas Eve song. But more about that on Christmas Eve.

 Jim Nabors’ Christmas – The present generation hardly knows who Jim Nabors is (he’s still alive). If they ever see The Andy Griffith Show or Gomer Pyle, USMC, on reruns on Nickelodeon, they would never guess the goofy gas station attendant had such a powerful voice (although he did occasionally sing on the shows). He hid his rich, baritone voice behind the high-pitched, goofy character he played deliberately. But more on that on Christmas Eve, too. All I can say is, it serves humanity right. This is the other must-listen for a perfect, musical Christmas Eve.

 Any Christmas album by the Canadian Brass. “Christmas with the Canadian Brass” features the Great Organ of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The CB are all superb musicians and the perform with style, flair, and humor (they’ve been known to do concerts in tuxedos and sneakers). With the CB, you get the best traditional brass quintet, with a modern twist or two.

Good luck with your Cyber Monday shopping.


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