December 4, 2017

At the Bicycle Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

And shop about whatever you want through the Althouse portal to Amazon (which is always in the sidebar).


Unknown said...

Best Christmas songs?

Here is a mix tape I made from songs I spent the better part of ten years tracking down, sourcing from scratchy albums and 45s. Then, with the Internet explosion, I was finally able to source it all from CD and make it into a 2-CD set. Funny how "out of print" gets less daunting when you can search the world..

001-The Ronettes-Sleigh Ride.mp3

Phil Spector was famously a "singles" artist, but at least once he pulled together a whole album of great songs: A Christmas Gift for you.

Unfortunately he turned out to be an evil man, but I haven't stopped listening to his music.

002-The Roches-Deck The Halls.mp3

Quirky harmony with an irrestibale syncopated rhythm. IMHO the best version of this song ever recorded.

003-Frank Sinatra-Christmas Waltz.mp3

A great performance of a great song (marred only by an awkward "things").

004-Frankie Vali & The Four Seasons-Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.mp3

Slaps you upside the head and grabs your eardrums. This is one case however where the 45 mono version is better. The CD version has an unfortunate "hey we can call it stereo if we put the vox on one channel and the instruments on the other" mix.

005-Bing Crosby & ??Silver Bells.mp3

You know White Chirstmas is going to be on the list, but
Crosby did some other good Christmas songs.

Unknown said...

006-Jo Stafford-Baby It's Cold Outside.mp3

This is from Jo Stafford's "winter" (not Christmas) album Ski Trails. Stafford had the purest voice of all the mid century women. Don't think too hard about her performing this with a male chorus though -- if you do, it's like she's inviting the football team to spend a snuggly evening.

007-Jeff Foskett-Some Children See Him.mp3

Foskett is a longtime Beach Boys & Brian Wilson sideman who specializes in recreating Brian's falsetto leads. He's also an accomplished guitarist. This is a nice traditional religious song with some echos of the Beach Boys' "All This Is That".

008-Bobbie Helms-Jingle Bell Rock.mp3

You know this song. Nuff said.

009-Ertha Kitt-Santa Baby.mp3

The best transactional Christmas song.

010-Elton John-Step Into Christmas.mp3

John's straight-forward, feel-good Christmas song.

Unknown said...

011-Andy Williams-Happy Holidays.mp3

"He'll be coming down the chimney, DOWN!" Williams is almost forgotten today (when's the last time you heard "Moon River"?), but he owns this one.

012-Jo Stafford-Moonlight In Vermont.mp3

Most associated with Margaret Whiting I think, but an exquisite version here.

013-The Whos-Welcome Christmas.mp3

"Yahoo Dores, Yahoo Dores!" From the Chuck Jones Grinch soundtrack.

014-The Waitresses-Christmas Wrapping.mp3

Possibly the best "new" Christmas song of the late 20th. "A&P has pride in me.."

015-The Nutcracker SuiteDance of Something.mp3

Sugarplum Faries, I think -- short and fun

Unknown said...

016-Burl IvesHolly, Jolly Christmas.mp3

From the Rudolph soundtrack. The version burned into everyone's head.

017-Elton John-Ho Ho Ho.mp3

John's drunk Christmas song..

018-The Carpenters-Merry Christmas, Darling.mp3

The Carpenter's music holds up better than you would expect, and this is a great original.

019-Jo Stafford-Winter Wonderland.mp3

You know the song, listen to Jo..

020-Darlene Love-Marshmallow World.mp3

You will *believe* It's a Marshmallow World when Darlene is done.

Unknown said...

021-Vince Guaraldi-Christmas Time Is Here.mp3

From the first Peanuts' special with kids chorous. Guaraldi passed much too soon.

022-Jo Stafford-Sleigh Ride.mp3

Another standard from Stafford.

023-The Beach Boys-Santa's Beard.mp3

A short, humorous, take on Mall Santas ("He's just helping Santa Clause") in the classic early Beach Boys style.

024-Frank Sinatra-Jingle Bells.mp3

*Swingle* Bells!

025-Nutcracker Suite-Dance of Something Else.mp3

More Nutcracker merriment.

Unknown said...

031-Instrumental-We Are Santa's Elves.mp3

I had to fit something into an exactly timed gap on my old mix tape and this was exactly the right length. I got where I liked it a good bit. Another Rudolph soundtrack number.

032-The Beach Boys-Little Saint Nick.mp3

You know this song. Be sure to find the "single" mono version. That's the one with sleigh bells.

033-Tex Beneke-Merry Christmas Baby.mp3

Years after Miller, Beneke's famous voice is still in good, blusy shape.

034-The Temptations-Rudloph TRNRD.mp3

From the first Temptations Christmas album. You had the feeling listening to this that the Temps knew what it was like to not be invited to the Reindeer games.

035-Bing Crosby-White Christmas.mp3

Honestly. Has to be done.

Unknown said...

036-Jo Stafford-Let It Snow.mp3


037-Nat King Cole-The Christmas Song.mp3

Another obligatory classic, but not overrated.

038-Bruce Springsteen-Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.mp3

I had to look for this 45 for years, now it's everywhere. Listen to Springsteen really start to rock on the "You'd better watch out" segment.

039-Ray Stevens-Santa Claus Is Watchin' You.mp3

I believe Stevens did two versions of this song. This is the second.

040-The Kinks-Father Christmas.mp3

Probably the most cynical song here. My sister always skips over it.

Unknown said...

041-The Toys-Island of Misfit Toys.mp3

Another bit of Rudolphiana. What *was* wrong with that dollie anyway?

042-Jo Stafford-I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.mp3

And she warms us too.

043-The Roches-Good King Wenceslas.mp3

The best version ever recorded, bar none. Now you can *finally* understand the song.

044-Frank Sinatra-Time For Mistletoe & Holly.mp3

Time Indeed.

045-The Beach Boys-Holy Evening (AKA Christmas Morning).mp3

Basically a Dennis Wilson solo piece, very much in his signature style.

Unknown said...

051-Nutcracker Suite-Dance of a Third Thing.mp3

052-Burl Ives-Rudolph TRNRD.mp3

The TV closing coda version of the song.

Bonus tracks:

Let's not forget You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, and Bill Mumy's (yes, *that* Bill Mumy) one-upping of Eartha Kitt, I've Got Some Presents For Santa.

Big Mike said...

I have to thank Ossie Davis and "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve" for introducing me to the Trans Siberian Orchestra's interpretation of Christmas music.

Bruce Gee said...

Sufjan Stevens’ complete Christmas song list on youtube:
Some really bad songs here, but some keepers as well
And then of course, one must listen several times to Oh Magnus Mysterium:

Anonymous said...


Two questions:

1) Where is the best place to travel for last minute holidays?
2) I noticed that Madison did not make it in the best college towns (according to Washington Post magazine, 12/3). I am in town to consult for the next mid-term election. We are gearing up for POTUS Warren/Sanders/Gillibrand (2020) and Pelosi and Schumer (2018).


mockturtle said...

Handel's Messiah.

Howard said...

Santa and His Old Lady

Annie C said...

It's National Cookie Day. I've got the first pan of chocolate chip in the oven.

tcrosse said...

The Christmas Song

Assrat said...

I have to admit that "Carol of the Bells" gets to me every time. No idea why.

reader said...

Bare Naked Ladies God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Louis Armstrong Cool Yule

I like this version of Your a Mean One Mr. Grinch

Whirling Dervishes Your a Mean One Mr. Grinch

Curious George said...

O Holy Night is mine.

Here is a kinda cool T-Mobile flashmob "Home for the Holidays" done at Woodfield Mall out side of Chicago.

Sydney said...

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is my favorite. No matter who sings it.

Ken B said...

Nun wandere Maria
A lied by Hugo Wolf

Jack Wayne said...

Re tour previous post about Trump turning down Person of the Year by Time. They have released the list of names. My guess is they wanted to pair him with little rocket man.

tcrosse said...

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
A lied by Felix Mendelssohn

Tommy Duncan said...

Supreme Court allows President Trump's travel ban to go fully into effect

The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump's latest travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations to go into effect.

Two of the nine justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — dissented.

The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

DanTheMan said...

One of our Florida Congresscritters just got 5 years in prison for setting up a fake charitable organization and using her position to enrich herself, her daughter, and her political staff.

Hey, wait... didn't somebody else do that, too?

OskarAndBianka said...

Amazing !!!
look -

Ken B said...

Now we know Strzok is the guy who changed the report to get Hillary off, and the guy who ambush interviewed Flynn. How are both inquiries not tainted? Deplorably and irredeemably tainted?

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exiledonmainstreet said...

Assrat said...
I have to admit that "Carol of the Bells" gets to me every time. No idea why."

Me too.

That one and "Silent Night."

HT said...

The supermoon the last few nights has been fantastic. However, not so fantastic are my iPhone pictures. Still have yet to come close to mastering night photography with the iPhone.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh Holy Night

The reason for the season.
You can take Santa Baby and stuff it up your chimney.

Fall on your knees!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

mockturtle, Messiah is an Easter piece; we've just repurposed it for Christmas.

DBQ, I don't like "O Holy Night," and not just because I hate playing those endless sextuplet noodles. For me: lively carols like "Ding Dong Merrily" and "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Wassail, Wassail" and "I Saw Three Ships," and old ones like "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" and "There is no rose of swych virtu."

320Busdriver said...

Tamiflu is a wonder drug. Use it if you can. Plus its off patent so its sooo worth $25.

exiledonmainstreet said...

NRO Never Trumper Rich Lowry admits Trump hasn't done a bad job:

"Also, it’s simply not true that all we have to show from the Trump administration is Gorsuch. The legislative agenda has been limited by the fact that Republicans have only 52 votes in the Senate. This is what pushed the GOP toward doing two big health and tax bills through reconciliation. When the health-care bill failed (Trump contributed to this failure, but there were lots of other factors, too), it seemed they could get nothing this year. Now, it appears very likely that they will get the tax bill, which includes a rifle-shot elimination of the individual mandate. And the administration has been steadily reversing the executive aggrandizements of the Obama administration. Trump has governed so far as more of a Republican and conservative than I expected."

Chuck hardest hit.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I also like "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleman," which is hearty and merry and always evokes a Dickensian scene in my head.

The SJWs will want to change it to "Gentlepersons."

Big Mike said...

@exiledonmainstreet, the comma is after "Merry." That's a question from College Bowl back in the 1960s.

320Busdriver said...

Gorgeous instrumentals on Eaken Piano Trio, Christmas and Hanukah "I'll be home for the Holidays"

Two faves are ...El Noi De La Mare and 8 Bright Candles

Available on Spotify

tcrosse said...

God Bless You, Jerry Mandelbaum, Alan Sherman, 1962.

Michael K said...

I used your Amazon link to get the new Lewandowski book, out tomorrow.

Big Mike said...

@DBQ, back in my youth the choir director at the church my family attended had the choir put a sense of genuine happiness into the stanza "The weary world rejoices!" and then somehow had the emotion build further during "For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn." I mean, Josh Groban is a capable singer, but where is the glory in his glorious morn? Why isn't there any joy in his rejoicing? He's not alone, of course, most singers just sing the words same as if they were singing "la-di-dah-dah." But that long deceased (unless she's lived past a hundred) choir director ruined the carol for me when I hear modern singers sing it.

I did, however, once see a singer literally fall -- I mean drop straight down -- onto his knees while singing "Fall on your knees."

Paco Wové said...

We've got a CD of old traditional European carols that includes alternate, now uncommon melodies for God Rest Ye Merrie, Gentlemen and O Little Town of Bethlehem. They are lots of fun because they are well-suited to being sung by a pub full of drunken revelers full of good cheer, and the recording emphasizes that.

For emotional impact, though, this one, this specific recording, affects me like no other.

Big Mike said...

@exiledonmainstreet, here's one that incorporates "Silent Night" in a sort of ironic way. It's based on an actual event, albeit one that happened in Christmas 1914, not 1915.

Francisco D said...

My Trek 7.2 (made in Wisconsin I presume) was refurbished today. It's a good bike, but nothing fancy.

What is the name of the woman who ran for governor and was part of the Trek family?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Francisco, it was Mary Burke. It took me at least 30 seconds before I could remember her name. She went on a ski vacation right after the election and has not been heard of since. for all I know, she fell off a cliff.

Freeman Hunt said...

Paco, what is the album?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The best version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I love the mystery and Medieval aura of the video. Plus Anne Lennox has such a powerful voice. The drums, the mummery, the hint of the pagan sources of many of our European Christmas traditions. Love it.

Traditional Christmas carols and music appeal to me. Seriously. I like Ertha Kitt but if I have to hear Santa Baby one more time.......

narciso said...

In other news:
You cidnt see that coming

Assorted odds and ends

Inga said...

Another woman comes forward with a story to tell and a yearbook with an inscription too.

“Woman who says she dated Roy Moore when she was 17 and he was 34 reveals what she says is new evidence of their relationship

A woman says she found a handwritten graduation card from Roy Moore that she says proves the two dated when she was 17 and he was 34.

Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was incensed by Moore denying that he knew any of the women who have accused him of various levels of sexual misconduct they say happened when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.”

Paco Wové said...

Freeman - the album is called The Carol Album: Seven Centuries of Christmas Music. I confess that I can't find the alternate version of O Little Town... on it; perhaps my memory got it mixed up with The Babe of Bethlehem, with which I am otherwise unfamiliar. God Rest You Merry... is there, though. Also a version of Ding Dong Merrily on High that kicks ass.

mockturtle said...

DantheMan reportsOne of our Florida Congresscritters just got 5 years in prison for setting up a fake charitable organization and using her position to enrich herself, her daughter, and her political staff.

I saw that. And she is a 'person of color', too! How could that happen? Must be racism on someone's part./s

mockturtle said...

And the really bad wig doesn't help her case.

Michael K said...

The details of the attempted coup d'etat are coming out finally,

The former U.S. intelligence official told this reporter, “with the recent revelation that Strzok was removed from the Special Counsel investigation for making anti-Trump text messages it seems likely that the accuracy and veracity of the 302 of Flynn’s interview as a whole should be reviewed and called into question.”

Strzok was also the one who interviewed Hillary without an oath, he changed the Comey recommendation from "Gross Negligence" to "Carelessness." He was in charge of the Hillary email server thing where the FBI did not take custody of the server,. He was in charge of the Trump-Russian "investigation."

The guy really gets around.

Drago said...

Ingas pathetic army of paid hacks comes up with ANOTHER last minute note!

Just in time to try and kickstart the dying dem campaign in Alabama.

You know, similar to Sen Gropey Franken's dem pals "discovering" lots of uncounted ballots in car trumks!

Hopefully this latest note wasnt written on the back of Rathers fake National Guard documents!

Btw, Franken isnt going anywhere and ingas pals seem perfectly ok with that.


Drago said...

LLR Chuck is going to be working overtime coming up with creative defenses for Strzok!

Kevin said...

Don't let Chuck know this is yet another win for Trump:

LaVar Ball told ESPN that he has pulled his son LiAngelo out of UCLA.

"We are exploring other options with Gelo," LaVar Ball said. "He's out of there."

LiAngelo Ball, a freshman, is one of three UCLA basketball players who were indefinitely suspended after a shoplifting incident in China.

Ball, the middle Ball brother, did not play a single game in college after being suspended from the team -- along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

"I'm not sitting back and waiting," LaVar Ball told ESPN. "He wasn't punished this bad in China."

"We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they're in jail here."

Big Mike said...

And don't forget "Mary's Boy Child." The classic Harry Belafonte version, not Boney M.

Kevin said...

040-The Kinks-Father Christmas.mp3

Probably the most cynical song here. My sister always skips over it.

I like to pair it with:

The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight tonight)

320Busdriver said...

Francisco D said, "My Trek 7.2 (made in Wisconsin I presume) was refurbished today. It's a good bike, but nothing fancy."

More than 99% of Trek bikes are made overseas. Only the most expensive carbon fiber frame bikes are still made in WI, and lately some of that work has been sent offshore.


William said...

The best anti-Christmas song is The Pogues, "A Fairytale of New York". The best Christmas song has to be Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". If you play them back to back and, then, make a wish, nothing much happens.

Freeman Hunt said...

Thank you, Paco!