Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Defying Frost and Storm.

Merry Christmas! I didn't miss it after all! (Wink-wink.) The title refers to the fact that we lacked a white Christmas here, alas, and is taken from the lyrics of a song I'll get to in a bit...

I had a whole long post I scribbled out on paper, but can't find it. It'll suffice to say that the wife and I had a swell season, with many intimate parties (as in just the two of us), as well as a big one with many guests which was a big hit. That was, uh, this coming Sunday.

I vaguely remembered that one night after one of our little celebrations, I was drunkenly listening to some long-players. Consequently, I was inspired to write about a song I had never before taken note of. Considering that I was hammered enough to later have no recollection of writing it, the short piece is quite lucid:

My new favorite tune is "Hanover Winter Song" as performed by Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. It's featured on one of the albums making up "An Old-Fashioned Christmas," the 1977 Reader's Digest yuletide LP collection. This five album set can be found at any swap meet for about two bucks, but check for scratches first, because if you happen to get my family's original copy you can be sure a certain ham-handed little bastard ruined it by playing the fuck out of it and then not putting the discs back in their sleeves. That little shithead!

I admit to not keeping up on the new music front (is Liz Phair still cool? Or alive?), but I can't think of any recent song to rival this one for engaging nuttiness. In fact, I defy any indie band--yes, including HttMQF--to cover this tune satisfactorily. (That's not a challenge, just my usual superlatively uninformed bluster.)

HWS is a dramatic men's choral number which emulates German drinking songs. The intensity of the tune belies the lyrical theme of, as best as I can tell, simply being comfortable. (Unless I'm somehow misreading the line "Aha! We are warm, and we have our hearts' desires!") Seriously, it sounds upon first listen like young men marching off to war, but in fact it's a bunch of college boys smoking and drinking by a fireplace. I'd sneer at them, except that's precisely what I aspire to myself. I just looked the lyrics up and here are the first verses:

Ho, a song by the fire,
Pass the pipes, pass the bowl!
Ho, a song by the fire
With a skoal, with a skoal!

For the wolf-wind is wailing at the doorways,
And the snow drifts deep along the road,
And the ice gnomes are marching from their Norways,
And the great white cold walks abroad!

(Here the singers intone: zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom)

But, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm,
Aha we are warm, and we have our heart's desire!
For here, we're good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows,
And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship...
Of fellowship!

I'd like to note that the song following this absurdly triumphant romp, by ironic juxtaposition, is a maudlin number about an impoverished boy in threadbare clothes selling Christmas trees to happy rich people. His name is Rags. Yep, that's his name. Man, talk about fucked from the get-go. The somber ditty was conducted by Marty Gold and his miserable-sounding children's chorus, and written by Harry Vaughn, who probably also penned the grim myrrh verse of "We Three Kings of Orient Are."

Now here's some other stuff, courtesy of the scanner my wife will give me later tonight! First, a Nassau Coliseum schedule from thirty years ago (click on it to enlarge):

I love old clip art Santas, and here's one of my favorites... Ladies and gentlemen, Hairless Santa!


Blogger MO'SH said...

A brilliant return! goddamn that hillbilly dial-up! And quit that friggin' job! Wait! get another job first! Do you have a cell phone connection out there? Pete's got some kind of device that gets internet that way? Anyway, glad the season was grand! Bac bacaw!

Mon Jan 05, 06:53:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8 dollars for Islander tix?Now 8 dollars gets you a small flat pepsi and a pretzel which tastes like its from 1979.

Tue Jan 13, 10:33:00 PM 2009  

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