The Phantom sees the deity

Here’s Michael Crawford (yes, the Phantom of the Opera) singing “O Holy Night,” from a 1993 NBC TV special called “David Foster’s Christmas Album.” It was recorded and is available.

The song was composed by a man named Adolphe Adam in 1847, setting the words of a poem written by Placide Cappeau to music. At the request of the parish priest, Cappeau wrote the poem to commemorate the renovation of the church’s organ in the French town of Roquemaure.

Gomer Pyle sang

This is Jim Nabors singing “Do You Hear What I Hear” from his 1971 “Christmas Album”. People on the Mainland remembers the recently-deceased Nabors as Gomer Pyle, the goofy well-meaning Marine. People in Hawai’i remember him as an unpretentious man willing to offer his name and work to a lot of good causes. People everywhere forget how beautiful his singing voice was.

A very old Carol indeed

Canadian Loreena McKennitt sings “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from her “Midwinter’s Night Dream” album released in 2008. It is one of the oldest of the English carols, dating back to at least the 16th century. The first printed version appeared in 1760. It’s even referred to in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: “… at the first sound of ‘God bless you, merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay!’, Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.”

McKennitt has used Middle Eastern instruments on her version, a callback to the place where the events being commemorated took place.

The original “Silver Bells” was in a movie

“Silver Bells” made its first appearance in the film “The Lemon Drop Kid” in 1951, sung by Marilyn Maxwell and Bob Hope (yes, Bob Hope). It was first recorded on vinyl in September 1950 by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, after the film had completed production but before it was released. When the Crosby/Richards duet became a hit Hope and Maxwell were brought back to reshoot the scenes in which the song appeared more elaborately; it’s unclear whether this clip is the first or second cut.

Judy Collins looks Away in a Manger

Ms. Judy Collins sings “Away in a Manger” from her 1994 album “Come Rejoice! A Judy Collins Christmas”. It’s beautifully sung, with spoken readings from the Gospel as well.

Collins is still touring, by the way. She just finished a joint tour with her long-ago inamorata Stephen Stills promoting their joint album “Everybody Knows.

TV Bowl Schedule 2017-2018

For your couch potato uncle via ESPN:

College Football Playoff schedule
Jan. 1
College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
5 p.m., ESPN
Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California

College Football Playoff at the Allstate Sugar Bowl
No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson
8:45 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans

Jan. 8
College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T
8 p.m. ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Bowl schedule

Dec. 16
Celebration Bowl
Grambling vs. North Carolina A&T
Noon, ABC
Mercedes-Benz Stadium

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Troy vs. North Texas
1 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans

AutoNation Cure Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State
2:30 p.m., CBSSN
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida

Las Vegas Bowl
No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon
3:30 p.m., ABC
Sam Boyd Stadium
Las Vegas

GILDAN New Mexico Bowl
Marshall vs. Colorado State
4:30 p.m., ESPN
Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State
8 p.m., ESPN
Cramton Bowl
Montgomery, Alabama

Dec. 19
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Akron vs. Florida Atlantic
7 p.m., ESPN
Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium
Boca Raton, Florida

Dec. 20
DXL Frisco Bowl
Louisiana Tech vs. SMU
8 p.m., ESPN
Toyota Stadium
Frisco, Texas

Dec. 21
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Temple vs. Florida International
8 p.m., ESPN
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, Florida

Dec. 22
Bahamas Bowl
UAB vs. Ohio
12:30 p.m., ESPN
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Nassau, Bahamas

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Wyoming
4 p.m., ESPN
Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium
Boise, Idaho

Dec. 23
Birmingham Bowl
Texas Tech vs. South Florida
Noon, ESPN
Legion Field
Birmingham, Alabama

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
San Diego State vs. Army
3:30 p.m., ESPN
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Fort Worth, Texas

Dollar General Bowl
Appalachian State vs. Toledo
7 p.m., ESPN
Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Mobile, Alabama

Dec. 24
Hawai’i Bowl
Fresno State vs. Houston
8:30 p.m., ESPN
Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium

Dec. 26
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Utah vs. West Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN
Cotton Bowl

Quick Lane Bowl
Duke vs. Northern Illinois
5:15 p.m., ESPN
Ford Field

Cactus Bowl
Kansas State vs. UCLA
9 p.m., ESPN
Chase Field

Dec. 27
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Southern Miss vs. Florida State
1:30 p.m., ESPN
Independence Stadium
Shreveport, Louisiana

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Iowa vs. Boston College
5:15 p.m., ESPN
Yankee Stadium
New York

Foster Farms Bowl
Arizona vs. Purdue
8:30 p.m., FOX
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, California

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Texas vs. Missouri
9 p.m., ESPN
NRG Stadium

Dec. 28
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Virginia vs. Navy
1:30 p.m. ESPN
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Annapolis, Maryland

Camping World Bowl
No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State
5:15 p.m., ESPN
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida

Valero Alamo Bowl
No. 13 Stanford vs. No. 15 TCU
9 p.m., ESPN
San Antonio, Texas

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State
9 p.m., FOX
SDCCU Stadium
San Diego

Dec. 29
Belk Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
1 p.m. ESPN
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina

Hyundai Sun Bowl
No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State
3 p.m., CBS
Sun Bowl
El Paso, Texas

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern
4:30 p.m., ESPN
Nissan Stadium
Nashville, Tennessee

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Utah State vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m., CBSSN
Arizona Stadium
Tucson, Arizona

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 8 USC vs. No. 5 Ohio State
8:30 p.m., ESPN
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas

Dec. 30
TaxSlayer Bowl
Louisville vs. No. 23 Mississippi State
Noon, ESPN
EverBank Field
Jacksonville, Florida

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State vs. No. 20 Memphis
12:30 p.m., ABC
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Memphis, Tennessee

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
No. 11 Washington vs. No. 9 Penn State
4 p.m., ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona

Capital One Orange Bowl
No. 10 Miami vs. No. 6 Wisconsin
8 p.m., ESPN
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida

Jan. 1
Outback Bowl
Michigan vs. South Carolina
Noon, ESPN2
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7 Auburn
12:30 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton’s
No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU
1 p.m., ABC
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida

Brass for a brassy song

Here’s Herb Alpert performing “Santa Baby.” I have cordially disliked this song since the first time I heard it. I still dislike it when it’s sung, but this has a brassy Latin style that I like. It’s from Alpert’s brand-new Christmas album “The Christmas Wish,” just released this winter 49 years after his previous Christmas album. This time he’s got a 10-piece rhythm section and is also backed by a 45-piece orchestra, a choir and a good arranger, Chris Walden, who worked with Michael Buble on his Christmas record a few years ago.