Home is the sailor, home from the sea

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was written in 1942 or 1943 by lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent. An additional writing credit was given to The Platters’ Buck Ram after a lawsuit. Bing Crosby recorded and released it in 1943 and the US War Department also released a live version Crosby recorded on the …

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New Christmas Albums, 2019

Here are 14 new Christmas albums that have been or will be released within the next month. Some are re-issues, some are from people I’ve never heard of, and at least one is made up of mostly new Christmas music. There are albums by The Oak Ridge Boys, Bing Crosby (with the London Symphony Orchestra), …

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Softly, softly

Tom Caufield performs an instrumental version of “Silent Night” on guitar. From Wikipedia: The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. …

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Leapin’ Lizards!

No, no, no. Leaping Lords, not lizards! Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on a 1949 Decca release. From Wikipedia: The song, published in England in 1780 without music as a chant or rhyme, is thought to be French in origin. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has a Roud …

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No snow out here, but I can dream

I know my East Coast and Southern friends are digging out from under, so I hope they don’t hate me for this. Eric Clapton plays and sings “White Christmas” in a way you’ve never heard before. The song has a fascinating history: Irving Berlin wrote it in either 1940 or 1941. The first public performance …

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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 …

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From the Wayback Machine

Here are The Andrews Sisters singing “Sleigh Ride.” . It’s not clear when this was first recorded, but it appeared on the 2004 compilation “Songs for Christmas”. The sisters had an incredible career. It began in the 1930s in the Midwest, first in vaudeville and then touring with big bands. They recorded hundreds of songs …

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Fugue for a Tinhorn President

We all know “Guys and Dolls,” right? Well, here’s a little switch. When Frank Sinatra formed Reprise Records in 1960 Sinatra recruited several artists for the fledgling label, such as fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. The original roster from 1961 to 1963 included Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney, Nancy …

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Mele Kalikimaka

The version of “Mele Kalikimaka” most people know was sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1950. It’s been covered by many folks since then, of course, but I’ve never heard one that captures the feel of it quite like this one by Kacey Musgraves, performed here on the Country Music Association’s Country …

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Blue

From the 1946 movie of the same name, here’s Bing Crosby singing “Blue Skies.” 26 years later, here are The Allman Brothers performing “Blue Sky.” Five years after that, Linda Ronstadt sang “Blue Bayou.” Ten years earlier, Paul Mauriat recorded an orchestral version of a Eurovision 4th-place finisher called “Love is Blue.” It hit the …

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