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day permlink Thursday, 23 December 2004

permlink Sleigh Ride, Xmas Rhapsody

During every commercial Christmas season, I endure a persistent nuisance brought on by the endless repetition of endless variations of the same thirty-seven songs -- invariably, every year one of the songs will burrow into my musical hindbrain and just play in a loop, making me hum it day after day even as I pointlessly wish it away minute by minute.

(The sheer number of variant versions of the Christmas playlist is at least an improvement year over year -- Bing Crosby and Burl Ives are fabulous and classic, and so is Springsteen's "Santa Claus", but with four weeks of Christmas tapes assaulting you even as you pump your gas... no classic is that classic.)

This year, the song in my head is "Sleigh Ride" (composed by Leroy Anderson, words later added by Mitchell Parish). It's not just a catchy tune (there are lots of catchy tunes) -- it has the key characteristic of songs that can attack at any time: three pick-up eighth notes as the start of the melody. At the end of any musical phrase, no matter how final-sounding, it can strike again: "JUST HEAR THOSE sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too...COME ON, IT'S etc. etc." You could have just finished the Hallelujah Chorus' final chord and it could commandeer the beat without warning. And when you're humming it, you can't find a good place to just stop.

(By the way, the nicest version of Sleigh Ride with words that I know of is on Harry Connick Jr.'s When My Heart Finds Christmas.)

All of which is to emphasize that I like it when a truly different Christmas tune comes along -- it can ease the monotony of those thirty-seven songs.

"Christmas Rhapsody" by One of Each (free MP3, featuring the awesome tenor and my former MACH 1 bandmate Dave Taylor on the solo) qualifies as a very familiar tune, but thankfully not one of the usual suspects.

Give it a try; a lot of talent, energy and skill went into it, and not a little goofy insanity. Recommended. permlink     2 comment(s)  
Thanks for the early Christmas gift of suggesting I *hear* this, Steve. What a gem!
      ...posted by Brian on February 1, 2005 1:29 PM
What a great discovery of this Christmas Rhapsody. Thanks for posting it, Steve. I, too, am bombarded by way too many xmas tunes during the actual holiday season (does the season really start in Oct??!!). It was pleasant to hear something fresh, creative and witty. This will be on my playlist for 'The Holiday Season 2005'
      ...posted by Meg on March 13, 2005 11:47 AM
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