Thursday, December 8, 2016

Carols for Fun and Fundraising, 1-25

As introduced in the previous post (below), here are 25 actual carols to use for fun and fundraising, with links to printed and/or recorded music you can use to learn them if you don't know them. Some links are to carol-specific sites (and albums) with even more carols. Not a problem! I want to see more carolers on street corners and fewer e-mail appeals, however good the causes.

1. Jingle Bells: The first link contains complete English lyrics, plus a few in alternative languages. The second contains two Spanish choruses--one that was new to me (thank you, Bing) and one I used to sing. There are also thousands of joke and parody versions, of which the Youtube video provides a legitimate, full-length, sing-along sample, which I've learned and have been known to add to my version of "Jingle Bells." (The original song was meant to be comic, so why not add less familiar jokes to it?)

2. Mary's Little Boy Child:

Twelve Songs of Christmas

3. Blue Christmas: I learned this one from the album shown above, first, but all baby-boomers must agree that Elvis Presley recorded the official version.

4. White Christmas: Bing Crosby recorded the official version.

5. Merry Christmas Polka:

6. Silver Bells:

7. O Little Town of Bethlehem: The Spanish translation linked below is not the one I learned. I'm not finding "Hermosa aldea de Belen" online anywhere.

8. Adeste Fideles: I learned it first in English, then Latin, and only then Spanish. There are probably more than two Spanish versions; the last one is the one I learned.,_All_Ye_Faithful

9. Stille Nacht: I learned it first in English, then Spanish, and then German--not the order shown below. I'm aware of at least eleven English verses that more or less translate the original German song...enough people have translated "Stille Nacht" that you can expand it to fill the time available if you really want to. The first link gives three English verses for three German ones.

10. I Saw Three Ships: In my memory, we've moved from the Christmas album my parents owned to some sort of First Book of Nursery Songs I wore out before reaching school age.

11. My Two Front Teeth: Around this point, in memory, we reach the year people thought it was appropriate for me to sing this song. It's part of many baby-boomers' Christmas memories, so it works!

12. Up on the House Top: This is the first carol I remember learning at school. It was published well before Gene Autry's time, but he sang the official recording.

13. Nos Galan: Like everyone else, I learned (both of) the sillier versions first. Here is the official English translation of the classic Welsh carol, of which the versions you probably know are parodies.

Here's the traditional English parody, which most people in the U.S. probably believe is the original carol:

Here's the total nonsense parody, which has high nostalgia appeal for some baby-boomers and members of the Greatest Generation:

14. Snowflake: It's not on his Christmas album, but this was another one I learned from my parents' Jim Reeves LP collection. In between Gate City and Nickelsville there's an actual "town" (using the word loosely) known as Snowflake.

15. Nuttin' for Christmas: When baby-boomers (and even more when the Greatest Generation) were in primary school, shaming was a popular technique used for behavior modification and discipline. This "Sugarland" novelty song began with a child's voice saying, "Hey, Ricky, whatcha gettin' for Christmas?" One of my classes included a little discipline problem whose first name was Ricky. Nobody worried about whether he had a disease, and in fact I don't recall any evidence that he had one; he was just a bratty kid whom nobody, including teachers, noticeably liked. One of the punishments teachers meted out to this child was that the whole class sang, and recorded, the song--complete with the spoken, not sung, opening line calling out "Ricky," and the "Woe, woe" sound effects.

16. Carol of the Drum:

Christmas with the Trapp Familiy

17. Christmas Bells Are Ringing:

18. Do You Hear What I Hear:

19. Christmas Time Is Coming: I don't remember who recorded the version of this song that used to be played on WGAT radio, I think at least once a day, during December. It was before Emmylou Harris' time; it wasn't Sammy Kershaw, and it wasn't Patti Loveless. I remember two or three male voices. And I suspect the original lyrics were not "Cane foam's a-runnin'," because, although you want a cold day to boil down sorghum, I never heard of anyone waiting until Christmas. Thanksgiving, at the latest. "Cane foam" sounds like what I remember hearing, but what I remember making of it was "Santa Train's a-runnin'."

20. Il Est Ne: We didn't have French classes at school, but upon learning that my parents were teaching me Tourist French with records at home, a teacher helpfully gave me an "enrichment assignment" of learning French songs from a record the teacher owned. (I don't recall feeling either privileged or annoyed. I was still at that spongy-brain stage of childhood.) I'm sure that record no longer exists. The song is also on the Von Trapp recording shown above. Exhaustive lyrics:,_le_divin_Enfant

21. Twelve Days of Christmas: Can you believe anyone takes the "religious symbolism" seriously? Yes. This song seems to have been made for parodies.

22. Children Go Where I Send Ye: Part of the confusion of the Folk Process is that so many people hear, sing, and even print "send thee." "Thee" is singular. It can only be "Children, go where I send ye."

23. Tannenbaum: German and two sets of English verses:

24. Jingle Bell Rock: Has nostalgia appeal only for baby-boomers and younger people. Some people haaate it. Watch your audience.

25. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree: Same precautions as above, only more so. Some people do like this song. I don't claim to understand these people.