So many of the classic holiday TV specials from the 60’s and 70’s are still show on television every year; I’m talking you Rudolphs, your Charlie Browns, your Grinches…. and watching them is always an instant rocket ship back to my childhood. These shows are perennial classics for a reason, but every year I scan the channel guide for one show that’s rarely seen these days. I’m talking about ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.’ Made in 1977, it was shown on HBO in 1978 and aired on ABC in 1980, which is probably where I first saw it (our house didn’t have cable TV until the 1990s. For real.) It’s a charming little tale from Jim Henson and his muppeteers, with music by the underappreciated musical genius Paul Williams. If you’ve never seen it, then pull up a seat, grab a nice warm beverage, and slow your life down for an hour or so, and check it out. Here for you, in its entirety, is Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. If you love it, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t, you can buy a copy on DVD for about 7 bucks.
Christmas is now officially less than 1 week away, so PLEASE tell me you’ve at least STARTED your Christmas shopping. What’s that? You haven’t?? Good Lord, man, what are you waiting for?? Time is slipping away from you. I think the best thing for you to do at this point is click on this Amazon banner:
Man, this bums me out… With all the news about David Letterman retiring in 2015 from CBS’ The Late Show, and Stephen Colbert taking over the reins, I completely failed to realize one of the ramifications of this: That this Christmas, 2014, would be the LAST of Letterman’s annual Christmas Spectaculars, whose arrival each year had become an unabashed holiday tradition for me. (I wrote about last year’s Spectacular HERE. Check it out.)
The Christmas-themed posts are coming fast and furious, but ’tis the season…. I mentioned Andy Cirzan in my piece on the fantastic Jingle Bell Rocks documentary a few days ago. He’s devoted what even would admits is an unhealthy amount of spare time digging around record shops, attics, basements, yard sales, and flea markets for the most obscure holiday records. The kind of music that make you shake your head and wonder how in the hell anybody ever thought recording it was a good idea, and how in the hell anybody ever thought BUYING it was a good idea.
Paul McCartney’s 1979 single ‘Wonderful Christmastime‘ gets an awful lot of airplay this time of the year; it also has to be one of the modern Christmas classics that gets the most crap dumped on it (the other one being Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ which is massively popular but also pure evil.) An awful lot of people seem to really hate ‘Wonderful Christmastime,’ which to be honest I’ve never really understood. It is what it is; a simple little pop song, the kind of song Paul McCartney can write in his sleep. He wrote and recorded the whole thing all by himself, and probably never intended it to become an annual headache for so many people. But I’ll say it: I like it. I’ve always liked it. Sure it can get tiresome when it’s played to death each year, but so can any other song. That said, I think I’d miss it if I didn’t hear it once or twice during the holidays. And now there’s a new version of the song that appeared online yesterday; and I think this version is even better than Sir Paul’s.
I posted a video in the last post that featured audio from some of The Beatles Christmas singles, so I thought this might be a good time to delve a bit deeper into some Beatles history that a lot of people today aren’t aware of.
Hey there! As evidence of me spending wasting a bit too much time on the internet, I’d like to share a few holiday tunes that I’ve stumbled across recently… Again, nothing mainstream here. There’s enough Mariah Carey and Buble and Bieber garbage on the radio and in the malls. You’ve got to dig a bit deeper for the good stuff. The stuff that falls between the cracks of the mainstream is so much more interesting, in my opinion.
*UPDATE 12/9/14: Jingle Bell Rocks is now available on Cable VOD, Digital & DVD!!! It’s also playing in theaters around the nation throughout December! In West Michigan, it will be screening at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids December 19-23!!* As I wrote about last time, I kinda have this thing about Christmas music. I love all music, and usually have it playing all day long, and the holidays are no exception. As a kid, mom always had Christmas platters spinning on the console hi-fi, and those old records burned themselves into my brain, and they remain a vital part of our holidays to this day.
The tail-end of 2014 has turned into a bit of a rough patch around here,as we are suffering from my Mom’s death in October. Getting myself into a good mood and keeping it there hasn’t exactly been easy, but I’m trying. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I find myself wondering if I’m going to find the holiday spirit at all this year. Mom was probably the main reason I love this time of the year so much, and her not being here is going to make things tough. But life goes on, and I’m going to try to persevere and not let myself get too down. Easier said than done, right?