Christmas Carol Kun-NECK-shun, Part Deux

06 Dec

The last kun-NECK-shun ended with Barenaked Ladies and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

kun-NECK-shun: The Barenaked Ladies released a single in 1998 called Brian Wilson, about a guy whose life parallels the life of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys released a Christmas album in 1964 with an original first track, entitled Little Saint Nick, done in typical Beach Boy style:

Little St. Nick

kun-NECK-shun: The Beach Boys covered one of my favorite Stevie Wonder hits, I Was Made to Love You, on their Wild Honey album in 1967. The same year, Stevie introduced a Christmas song of his own, What Christmas Means to Me. I absolutely LOVE this song. It is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs and gets me movin’ and groovin’.

What Christmas Means to Me

kun-NECK-shun: The incomparable Stevie Wonder wrote and produced Til You Come Back to Me for the divine Aretha Franklin. Aretha was a very good friend of Billy Preston of Get Back fame. Here is Ree Ree doing one of the loveliest Christmas ballads ever, O Holy Night, accompanied by Mr. Billy Preston:

Link to Youtube —->            O Holy Night

kun-NECK-shun: Aretha’s legendary Live at the Fillmore West album from her San Fransico concert in 1971 included a spirited appearance by Ray Charles who sang a reprise of Spirit in the Dark with The Queen of Soul. One of Ray’s best Christmas songs is Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Betty Carter:

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (with Betty Carter)


Posted by on December 6, 2007 in christmas, holidays, kun-neck-shuns


13 responses to “Christmas Carol Kun-NECK-shun, Part Deux

  1. thedingoateyobaby

    December 6, 2007 at 10:50 am

    The beach Boys always trigger bittersweet feelings when I hear their music and it could be Little Deuce Coupe or Little Saint Nick. Every time I hear a Beach Boy tune I get a little misty and sad. I believe they call it melancholy. I love The Beach Boys.

  2. Colette

    December 6, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    wow, MM, great stuff — getting busy!

    I sent the Billy Preston/Aretha duet out as a kind of holiday e-card last year. It’s a gem!

    And I bought that crazy Beach Boys Xmas album for my hubby two years ago. He’s a Brian Wilson maniac.

    And thanks for the Ray & Betty! That is the coooolest duet album of all time. Betty Carter (aka Betty Bebop) went on to the become of the most innovative jazz singers ever. But the two of them sound so, so sexy…..

    Also, loved the Little Richard set. He was the patron sent of my darling friend Richard, who died on the way to meet me at JazzFest in New Orleans. (yes, it’s been a reallllly weird year, peeps…)

    Anyway, the sheer screaming surreality of Little Richard can obscure that he can really sing — as per in that fine version of “Send Me Some Loving.”

  3. brc

    December 6, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    MM these Christmas Carol kon-NECK-shun posts are soooooooooo much fun. I didn’t think it was possible that there was a Christmas Carol that I had never heard, but I don’t recall ever hearing the Stevie Wonder song before. I also had never heard the Ray/Betty version of Baby It’s Cold Outside — wonderful!

    BTW, the Little St. Nick and the O Holy Night links are not working. It says “no longer available.” Have you heard Josh Groban’s version of O Holy Night? It’s fabulous (this live version doesn’t have quite the impact of the recorded version… possibly because it’s hard to hear the instrumentals accompanying him):

  4. music maven

    December 6, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Fixed. Had to link to Youtube on O Holy Night.

    Celine Dion does a great version as does Aaron Neville. OHN is one of my all time favorite Christmas Carols. Glad you like the Stevie….it’s such a fun song.

  5. Colette

    December 7, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Two more favorites:

    Take 6 acapella Xmas medley:

    And speaking of Ray & Betty — another great winter cut from their swell album together — with nice pics of them both. I knew Betty a little — amazing woman:

  6. Colette

    December 7, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Oh, the title of the Ray/Betty is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” There is also a version on youtube by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan that’s groovy too. But Ray & Betty rule!

  7. music maven

    December 7, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Yeah, Colette, that’s the same song as above. I liked the other version better but the pictures are good.

  8. jenfera

    December 7, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    MM, I love the format of these posts! Reminds me of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

    One of my favorite Christmas albums as a kid was (no laughing!) John Denver & The Muppets, A Christmas Together. On that fabulous recording, Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem perform a cover of Little Saint Nick. The best part is Animal yelling, “Run, Run Reindeer!” Hysterical! Enjoy!

  9. Colette

    December 8, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Hey MM — I just posted the alt version of Ray & Betty’s cold outside ONLY because the pics were so cool — it was weird to see a shot of Nina Simone on that “romance” montage, when she wasn’t singing!

    Anyway, you started something with that song! Now I’m obsessed with it! (Maybe cause it’s so cold outside here…)

    Some weird, weird pairings on this songi– including BO BICE & JOAN OSBORNE:

    Then there’s the ROD STEWART/DOLLY PARTON matchup:

    And the really nice, yet also a little weird RAY/DIONNE duet on it:

    So whaddya think? Just be glad I didn’t share the Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey version!!!

  10. music maven

    December 8, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Love the Bo Bice…I saw that one last year and thought it was really good.

    Of course, Rod’s sexy, raspy voice is always delicious but this song really provides opportunity for it.

    The Ray/Dionne is also good but she gets on my nerves. I like Betty better.

    Fascinatingly, here is the ORIGINAL VERSION with Ricardo Montalban (yes, Mr. Rourke) and Ester Williams. Who’d a thunk it?

  11. Colette

    December 8, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Oh Ricardo!! Didn’t those kids marry or something?

    And what was the deal with Bo Bice? I know he had stomach problems and surgery (boy, can I relate to that), and put out an album recently. But he seems to be one of the really talented AI finalists that the franchise has completely written off. Am I missing something, since I’m not from the school of Hard Rock, or have they just ignored the kid after praising him to the skies when he was on the show?

  12. music maven

    December 9, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I believe that Fernando Lamas married Ester Williams. He thought she was simply “mah-vel-us”. His son, Lorenzo Lamas’ mother was another Hollywood actress, Arlene Dahl.

    Ricardo tidbit: He married Georgiana Young, Loretta Young’s sister, and has been married to her for 63 years. He is also now confined to a wheelchair, since 1993 and just turned 87 years old.

    As for Bo…I think that Bo, like Taylor, is a non-conformist. AI only backs those who fit the mold and don’t protest (Kelly — at the beginning, Carrie, Chris, Clay, Kellie). Those that try to have some independence or don’t fit the get rich model of pop music, i.e., Fantasia, Rueben, Taylor don’t get the time of day. It’s all about the money and what the person can make for them….NOT cultivating new talent as they like to claim.

  13. Colette

    December 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    You got that right, girl!


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