Friday, December 26, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special The Red Sea Pedestrians of Xmas! Partial-Video Guest Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental strumpet social secretary Fah Lo Suee and I are off to Lake Forest, California for a Xmas Prayer retreat at nature's nobleman Rick Warren 's Camelhump MegaChurch, or whatever it's called. This will be a thorougly heterosexual affair, from what I hear, so modesty forbids any detailed dispatches. Which means that posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But fortunately, constant reader Exposito has jumped into the fray in our absence, and as a result, here's a fabulously exciting and ethnically inventive project for us all:


Okay, take it away, Exposito!



I culled these from some old LPs given out as holiday premiums at Gulf stations and A&P supermarkets, as well as more recent recordings.

The criteria I used to select the recordings on this list were:

The performer should have been raised in a Jewish home (e.g., Sammy Davis, Jr doesn't qualify).

The songs must be traditional Christmas songs (e.g., Randy Newman 's "Christmas in Cape Town" and Lou Reed's "Xmas in February" are good, original songs about Christmas, so they don't make the list).

Tracks must include vocals (e.g., Leonard Bernstein conducting The Nutcracker Suite doesn't make the list).

The performer may not be the songwriter (this means Mel Torme singing "The Christmas Song" is out). [Uh, I don't think Mel is Jewish. But I get the point. -- Ed.]

Good interpretations of songs are discouraged (this is what disqualifies the rest of Mel Torme's recordings of Christmas songs, as well as Bette Midler's).

The inclusion of entire albums is discouraged (otherwise Neil Diamond would have over half the tracks on this list).

The song should actually make reference to Christmas, Jesus, or the New Testament (e.g., "Winter Wonderland" doesn't qualify).

Harry Connick, Jr. just didn't seem to worth including on a list of such curiosities. [Good idea -- Ed.]

Okay, and my totally top of my head Top Nine (not quite enough for a Minyan) are:

9. Barbra Streisand: I Wonder as I Wander

Barbra wanders quite far on this song, actually.

8. Richard Tucker: The Lord's Prayer

Tucker was a great singer, but this cover brings Philip Roth's story The Conversion of the Jews to mind.

7. Steve Lawrence: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Almost a dramatic reading.

6. Eddie Cantor: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

An early recording of this perennial.

5. Neil Diamond: Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

When peace meets Diamond, Diamond wins by a knockout punch.

4. Carly Simon: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

A reggae version, actually.

3. Eydie Gorme (with Steve): It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

In English and Spanish. [Uh, I think Gorme is actually Greek. Just saying. -- Ed.]

2. Neil Sedaka: What Child Is This?

Any other song on his Christmas album would work as well.

And the number one Jews of Christmas Ditty, like you thought it was something else, obviously is --

1. Barbra Streisand: Jingle Bells

An exception to the rule that the songs on the list should refer overtly to Christianity; here because of Streisand's unique interpretation of the word "Upsot."

Until David Lee Roth and Courtney Love collaborate on a Christmas album, this list might have to suffice.

So alright already -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: Best Fiction Film Reflecting the Spirit of the 60s!) is now up over at Box Office. If in the spirit of the holidays you could manage to get over there and leave a comment, it would definitely increase my viability with management.]


Brooklyn Girl said...

The Ramones wish you a Merry Christmas, Baby!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Now here's the real deal. A visit from St. Nicholas read by St. Bob. And if this is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Anonymous said...

Mel Torme is jewish!


P. Drāno said...

Eddie Fisher had a whole album of Christmas songs called "Christmas with Eddie Fisher".

steve simels said...

Mel Torme is Jewish?

Get me to Google, stat!

steve simels said...

Holy crap -- according to Wikipedia, Mel was indeed one of my people.

Oy gevalt, I regret the error.

dave™© said...

I culled these from some old LPs given out as holiday premiums at Gulf stations and A&P supermarkets...

I LOVE those! You can pick those up really cheap in most used vinyl places...

billy b said...

I didn't know Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Carly Simon, or Neil Sedaka were Jewish.

The things one learns on the blogs.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a simple goy from Vermont - I got nuthin'. (Can I offer up the Phil Spector XMAS K by default? - bill buckner

The Phantom Creeps said...

What about Kiss -- Gene Simmons is a nice (well, not really) Jewish boy.

And Adan whatsisname from the Counting Crows?

Libby Spencer said...

Being a useless goy girl, I had to employ teh google to play along this week. And we have an entry.

It appears Dinah Shore did O Little Town of Bethlehem on an album with Doris Day.

And Art Garfunkel apparently recorded O Come All Ye Faithful at some point in his life.

Word verify: Schotb. Is that Yiddish?

steve simels said...


News to me, kiddo....

MBowen said...

Hmmm...Warren Zevon? Nope. Blue Oyster Cult? Nuthin'. David Lee Roth? Zilch.

Oh, here's one..."The Christmas Song" by Sammy Davis Jr.!

dSmith said...

Oh the missed opportunities! Christmas with Mickey Katz! Barry Sisters in Bethlehem!

On one of those giveaway albums from the 60's Barbra
did "O Little Town of Bethlehem" It wasn't her finest waxing.

steves said...

Do animated Jews count? If so, I nominate this guy (and one of the best Christmas songs ever!).

Sadly, I couldn't find the original clip anywhere on Youtube, but this gets the point across:

steve simels said...

Libby Spencer said...
It appears Dinah Shore did O Little Town of Bethlehem on an album with Doris Day.

May I just say, and it has nothing to do with nostalgia, that I have always had a soft spot for Dinah?

Cute, a southern accent, and Jewish. And for her day, a hip chick.