Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 42 (December 19, 2021): Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 42 (December 19, 2021): Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

This Week’s Theme: Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

The four-part holiday-themed Faux Show series wraps up with a selection of traditional holiday songs. This mix of carols, hymns, and standards presents what most people consider the music of the holidays. As always, the songs span across different genres and decades. If you are keeping track, this final show completes a four-part series that presented a total of 149 holiday tracks by 149 different artists. No artists were repeated and, except for the “Jingle Bells” show, no songs were repeated. You’re welcome.

I’m not going to go into detail on the artists and songs in this week’s show. Instead, I have provided a selection of holiday themed stuff that you may find interesting. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Welcome to Radio Faux Show number forty-two.

First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.


Amazon Music

Holiday Movies

Ms. Faux and I watch Hallmark movies during November and December. Daily. We also watch a slew of holiday films from throughout the decades. We watch plenty of new ones we don’t know, but we mostly watch the tried and true. And, yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Most people know Tom Cavanagh from the television shows Ed and The Flash. In the Faux household, he is most beloved as the star of the holiday tv movie classic Snow. In it, he plays Nick Snowden AKA Santa Claus. The film co-stars Hallmark holiday movie icon Ashley Williams, and the two of them are hilarious as a zookeeper (Williams) who has, unbeknownst to her, illegally penned up one of Santa’s (Cavanagh) reindeers. Without eight reindeers, the sleigh can’t fly; and no sleigh, no Christmas. In the film, Cavanagh explains the story of how he became Santa. It is my favorite Santa Claus origin story.
The greatest Christmas story ever told.
Even if you don’t believe that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, you can’t argue that Gremlins isn’t one. It has caroling!
The entire house battle scene of Home Alone never fails to produce laugh out loud, can’t breathe hilarity. My favorite sequence is the final escape scene. “Marv, what are you doing?”
There isn’t a single dull moment in Christmas Vacation. This isn’t the funniest scene, but there is something about the moment when Clark cuts into the turkey that makes this the most memorable scene of the film. “I told you we put it in too early.”
This scene from Life of Brian shows the true meaning of Christmas.
Nothing shows the joy of Christmas better than Buddy’s reaction after he is told “it’s time for an announcement.”

A Variety of Music Clips

In my opinion, Rick Danko was the heart of The Band. This live footage from 1977 is always worth a view during the holidays.
There aren’t many songs about Hanukkah, which is why this may be the best one ever written.
Or maybe this is the best song about Hanukkah?
A great holiday song from the greatest metal band of all time.
Although it wasn’t called Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve when it started, the first show of this classic end of year music show started in 1972 with Three Dog Night as the host.
Before Dick Clark took the throne, Guy Lombardo ruled New Year’s Eve for twenty years.

Let’s Have a Chat About “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Over the last few years, the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has become a hotbed of conflict. The major issue is that some feel it is more or less the “Christmas date-rape song” because they view it as a story of a man trying to get a woman drunk in order to make her stay at his house instead of leaving. On the surface, I can see this interpretation holding some merit, and over the years I have gone back and forth on my view of the song. However, as with everything else in life, context is key. If you are going to hold an opinion on this song, or anything else in the world, you need to have your information straight and place your understanding in the context of the issue at hand. That is what mature adults are supposed to do, although we appear to be moving toward a world in which, by that definition, there aren’t many mature adults left. So, in the spirit of understanding and context, here is the deal with the song. It is NOT a song about a man taking advantage of a woman.

The main argument against the song is that the man is forcefully attempting to make the woman stay in order to sexually assault her. Lyrics such as “I’ll put some records on while I pour,” “It’s bad out there, no cabs to be had out there,” and “Mind if I move in closer? What’s the sense of hurting my pride?…Think of my life-long sorrow,” if taken at face value, appear to imply that the man is trying to get the woman drunk in order to take advantage of her. He is using alcohol to lower her defenses, exaggerated weather conditions to keep her from leaving, and guilt to coerce her into a sexual encounter. In the wake of the Cosby trial, this interpretation exploded into the mainstream and the song was banned by some radio stations. The problem with this interpretation is that it is not accurate within the context of the time the song was written nor the meaning of the lyrics.

When written in 1944, it is important to note that women were not permitted to spend the night with a boyfriend. That does not mean that the relationships between men and women were different in 1944. It just means that women had to deal with the supposedly acceptable norms forced upon them by society at the time. If a woman wanted to spend the night with a man, she couldn’t do so without creating a valid pretense. The entire alcohol subtext must be understood in the context of the language of the time and the setup of the story leading up to the mention of wine. The woman has had a nice evening and knows that her family is waiting for her at home because it is not acceptable for her to stay out. But she brings up the idea of having another drink. She then uses a common expression of the time, “Say, what’s in this drink?,” in order to displace herself from being responsible if she stays longer. This was a common excuse of the time, used to cover up any matter of social indiscretion created by the conservative expectations of society. Taken as a whole, this is a conversation between two consenting adults who are attempting to have a mature relationship during a time when women were not allowed to do so.

An SNL Christmas

No one does holiday music like SNL.

Alternative Holidays

There is more to the holiday season then Christmas, and I’m not talking about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

December 23 is Festivus. Don’t forget to celebrate.
If you aren’t in the Christmas spirit, try Merlinpeen for a change of pace.

Christmas Music and War

War during Christmas time is unavoidable, but sometimes this collision of destruction and peace rises above the day-to-day horrors of war.

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Although it isn’t as well-known as other 20th century holiday songs, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” is one of the most moving Christmas songs ever written. The most well-known version was composed by Johnny Marks in 1956 and recorded by Bing Crosby. The origin of the song, however, dates back to 1863, in the middle of The American Civil War. Two years after the death of his beloved wife in 1861, a fifty-six year old Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “Christmas Bells” as a reaction to his son joining the Union Army to fight in the war even though Longfellow did not believe he should do so. In November of 1863 his son was injured in battle. Although he survived, this was all too much for Longfellow to take without reacting in the best way he knew how. On Christmas Day, 1863, he wrote the poem which led to the modern version of the song sung now.

The modern version only incorporates verses one, two, six, and seven. Although the overall message of peace on earth is not lost in this reworking, there is a giant leap in context when the middle verses are removed. This was obviously done by Marks to remove the literal connections to the South in the war, but seventy years later one would like to think that the complete context can be appreciated by an intelligent public.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

The Christmas Truce of 1914

In addition to my obsession with music, I am a World War I buff. One of my favorite WWI stories is The Christmas Truce of 1914. If you aren’t up on your WWI history, this is about four months after the start of a war that was already one of the most deadly and horrifying wars in history, and was only going to get more deadly and horrifying over the course of the next four years. The original belief was that the war would be over in months, but on Christmas Eve 1914 the war was nowhere near an end. In this context, it may make sense that on that day, all along the Western Front trenches, there was a pause in the killing when the British soldiers began to hear singing coming from the German trenches on the other side of “no-man’s land.” This led to German soldier’s telling British soldiers to come across to them – a request that seemed fraught with peril after months of killing of anyone who dared poke his head out of his trench – and the English replied that they would if the German’s would meet half way. What ensued is impossible to imagine, especially to anyone who understands the amount of death inflicted during the war. For the rest of that day, and sometimes even longer, British and German soldiers laid down their guns, met, exchanged gifts, and even took part in makeshift football (soccer) matches.

This is a beautiful story, but it has always been most impactful to me because, according to legend, the first of these truces occurred when a German officer named Walter Kirchhoff (a tenor with the Berlin Opera) sang “Silent Night” in German and then in English. As his voice carried across “no-man’s land,” the joy of the holiday was more powerful than the fear of the soldiers, and the fighting, although only briefly, was stopped. The singing of this one man turned into singing by entire lines of soldiers on both sides, one of the greatest examples of the healing power of music in history.

This may sound like a nice allegory – a quaint story of how “music can tame the wild beast” – but it is all true. There are photos you can easily find, and there are thousands of letters written home to parents, wives, and loved ones that explain the impact of this night on the soldiers and their revelation that the enemy aren’t any different than themselves.

Thanks for listening (and reading)!

Track List

TrackArtistSong Title
1Little Jimmy ThomasDeck The Halls
2The DriftersWhite Christmas
3The TemptationsRudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
4Jimmy SmithWe Three Kings
5Ray Charles and Betty CarterBaby It’s Cold Outside
6Steve Lawrence and Eydie GormeWinter Wonderland
7Les Brown & His Band of RenownThe Nutcracker Suite
8Mel TormeThe Christmas Song
9Michael FeinsteinHave Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
10Oscar PetersonGod Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
11Lena HorneLet It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
12The Swingle SingersMedley: El Noi De La Mare/Hanej Nynej Jezisku/Canzone Dei Zampognari
13The King’s SingersEs ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
14The VenturesSilver Bells
15The RonettesSleigh Ride
16Bruce SpringsteenSanta Claus Is Coming To Town
17Jimmy DuranteFrosty the Snowman
18Take 6I Saw Three Ships
19Daryl Hall and John OatesIt Came Upon A Midnight Clear
20Annie LennoxLullay Lullay (Coventry Carol)
21Jacob CollierIn The Bleak Midwinter
22Cambridge SingersDing dong! merrily on high
23The Singers UnlimitedBright, Bright the Holly Berries
24John Denver & The MuppetsTwelve Days Of Christmas
25Burl IvesA Holly Jolly Christmas
26Los LobosArbolito de Navidad
27John FaheyJoy To The World
28Willie NelsonBlue Christmas
29Ralph StanleyChildren, Go Where I Send Thee
30Sister Rosetta TharpeO Little Town Of Bethlehem
31George WinstonThe Holly and The Ivy
32Ill ConsideredGood King Wenceslas
33Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong OrchestraDo You Hear What I Hear
34CanSilent Night
35Chet Baker (Amazon)/Leslie Odom, Jr. (Spotify)The First Noel
36Andrew BirdAuld Lang Syne

2 thoughts on “Radio Faux Show Volume 1, Number 42 (December 19, 2021): Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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