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I’m never happy to see Christmas pass; it makes all the decorations and holiday gear suddenly seem sad and out of date. It shouldn’t be so, as we are celebrating The Season, and that lasts beyond The Day, right? But we all know better. Santa is a symbol of hope and delight on Dec. 23rd; on the 26th he’s heaped in clearance bins. Even his most fervent constituency, children, has moved on.
The tune has been covered by scores of artists and nobody has ever come close to Nat King Cole's exquisite 1953 recording of this quintessentially American Christmas classic. On this recording, Nat Cole is accompanied by Nelson Riddle's orchestra and the arrangement is the same as the 1946 mega-hit, which was done with a simple string section.
TWC doesn't know if LA was a better place in 1953, but it was certainly classier and less crowded. Note the smogless, azure blue sky. It is said that the sweet fragrance of citrus blossoms perfumed the air for a hundred miles in every direction.
Believe it or don't, the traffic signal was likely built by Acme.
After the big war, people flocked to California, especially Southern California, which was America's incarnation of the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey. There was opportunity for all and, well, the weather is pretty great. After growing up in the brutal winters of St Paul, my folks loaded up a '49 Shivolay flat bed truck and headed for California's mild and sunny winters.
That's moi at about age twenty five. Please note the high dollar, avocado green carpet that graced half the apartments in the US during the 1970's. Also, take a look at the massive, double stacked speakers in the background. Technological advancements abound and my current speaker set-up would fit in a carry-on bag while producing a better sound and packing considerably more of a punch.
An all time favorite of mine, The House Blond and The Boy at Victoria Gardens, Christmas 2004.
My favorite uncle (L) and my dad, Christmas 1954.
And, to finish off our Throwback Thursday, Disneyland, Christmas 1961
Although the Google calendar app didn't quite get it right, the Jewish Festival of Lights began last night at sundown. Here's sending Hanukkah blessings to all my Jewish friends.
Back in the days of my vagrant yoot, I had a mad crush on this cute little Jewish girl, except I had no idea she was Jewish or even what that meant. In the days before the enlightenment, it was called Christmas Vacation, and when we returned to school that year, I asked her what cool Christmas gifts she had received. A puzzled look crossed her face and she replied that she didn't do Christmas. Say what?
My parents may have meant well as they explained how it worked. Well, she's Jewish, and what if you grow up, fall in love, and have kids? Then what? I dunno, but it seems to have worked out for my cousin. Deep down, I think they were just happy that she wasn't Catholic.
That said, for some inexplicable reason, this video brings my dear Mrs TWC a disproportionate amount of enjoyment. White Christmas? Meh. Run, Run, Reindeer? Just OK. Adam Sandler? Whole 'nother thing. Might be her favorite Christmas song.
85 street level degrees doesn't feel much like Christmas, but it gave me a chance for some tan maintenance. It is the Friday after Thanksgiving and that's when we open for Christmas with a raucous, upbeat, boogie version of a very familiar Chuck Berry classic. The odds are high that unless you're a long time Gentle Reader, you've not heard it, though it is the best rendition of the tune.
You can find several videos of Lynyrd Skynyrd's cover around the tubes, but in 2007 there weren't any at all. To rectify that tragedy, I made my own. Yes, those are my kids.
Done up right by one of the later incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the vocals are by Johnny Van Zant, Slick Rick (Rickey Medlocke), and HT (Hughie Thomasson). I love Billy Powell on keyboards, ain't nobody does piano boogie better, except maybe The Killer in his prime.
Christmas 2010 marked the House Blond's last recital and it was also the finale for her piano teacher, Ms Ruth. Consequently, all four of Ruth's kids were in attendance for Ruth's last hurrah. Gotta love entertainers, they know how to, well, entertain. Might be learned behavior or genetic, but her daughter, Laurie, put together a delightful catered lunch for the proud parents that begged for a good bottle of wine.
Ruth has been involved in the music scene in one way or another since childhood and at eight-six decided to call it a day. She spent many years in the Big Easy, writing and producing musicals in the French Quarter, all of which was lost to Katrina. Guess hard drives aren't the only thing that need backin' up. It's also sort of Kevin Baconish that Ruth's cousin, Stanley Ann Dunham, was President Obama's mother.
As the crowd thinned, a dapper, familiar-looking guy slipped in behind the keyboard and called out for Ruth. Someone wheeled her up front and her son-in-law smiled broadly and began to play an absolutely awesome rendition of the finest Christmas tune ever written. That would be The Christmas Song, of course.
As he finished, he smiled broadly again and said simply, Merry Christmas, Ruth. It was definitely a Kodak moment. That's Tiffany holding the mike for Dorian. Oh, and lots of you know why Dorian Harewood is familiar looking. You remember him from Roots, Full Metal Jacket, and The Jessie Owens Story. I think Tiffany referred to him as Mr. NBC.
TWC could have easily recorded Dorian's performance and therein lies the lesson. When you don't know what's coming, record it anyway. The delete key looms large, but opportunities don't knock twice.
And this is the guy who started it all.....
I believe that this clip is from the final episode of the Nat King Cole Show in December 1957.
Here's a nifty chart to help determine the proper response to a variety of greetings you may encounter during the next few weeks. You can print and snip, then slip it into your pocket or purse for quick reference.
It is the Friday after Thanksgiving and you are now free to commence celebrating the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. OK, well, technically the first day of Hanukkah was Thanksgiving Day, and I'd like to wish my Jewish friends all the best.
Traditionally, here at Casa de las Rocas Grandes, we open for Christmas with a raucous, upbeat, boogie version of a very familiar Chuck Berry classic. The odds are high that unless you're a long time Gentle Reader, you've not heard it. This is the best rendition of the tune.
You can find several videos of Lynyrd Skynyrd's cover around the tubes, but some years back there weren't any at all. To rectify that tragedy, I made my own. Yes, those are my kids.
Done up right by one of the later incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the vocals are by Johnny Van Zant, Slick Rick (Rickey Medlocke), and HT (Hughie Thomasson). I love Billy Powell on keyboards, ain't nobody does piano boogie better, except maybe The Killer in his prime. Can Skynyrd replace Billy Powell? I dunno, maybe not.