Sorry for the radio silence—the buyers of my old house moved up the closing from the 15th to the 7th and now they want to close on Friday (i.e., in two days). I'm not complaining—God bless 'em—but with the New Year's holidays intervening, we're all scrambling. My pool table is still in the basement there and I have a trailer full of stuff in the driveway and a hundred and one things to do—I need the property tax receipt, my realtor has to collect lien waivers, all sorts of details I thought I'd have another week to plug away at. It's not so much that this move has been difficult, as that I'm just really bad at this sort of thing.
In a lot of ways, 2014 was one of the best years of my life. I'll be sorry to see it go, and I'll be hoping for a lot of carryover into 2015. I didn't have one of these—
Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson's "Blue Christmas" is mainly associated with Elvis Presley, who recorded it in 1957, but it had already been a hit for several musicians by that time and it would go on to be recorded by everyone from Shakin' Stevens to Polkadot Cadaver. Including a version by the Beach Boys in 1964 that's so schlocky it'll make your fillings tingle.
On the other hand, it's a perfect match for the antiquarian stylings of Mister Colonel Redbone, whose '20s jug band sensibilities and mouth-full-of-cotton-balls singing is perfectly matched to the lugubrious sentiment of the song...which benefits from the straight deadpan delivery and stripped-down accompaniment. Joined in this video by some beautiful playing by the swing stalwart Ken Peplowski (virtually all of whose many records are enjoyable—I love his Benny Goodman interpretations for instance) and some guy doing a pitch-perfect comedic impression of a TV host. I love it in the beginning when the camera pulls back from the host to reveal old Leon in his shades and top hat. Makes me laugh even when I know it's coming.
Have a good New Year's Eve and be careful out there if you're driving tonight. And don't be blue. Raise a glass of seltzer water to me and my beloved S. if you think about it. Here's to you and here's to 2015.
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Featured Comments from:
jsmidt: "The host is a son of Wisconsin."
Mike replies: Oh, so he's a real music guy then. My bad. All is forgiven.
Bob Keefer: "Another Ken Peplowski fan! He's not only a great musician, but a lovely guy. I've gotten to know him a bit over the years as he's frequently played in Oregon."