The Insufficiently silent nights of holiday music

It is a fortunate thing that this, my now-customary annual post bemoaning the vast (and vastly lame) repertoire of standard Christmas music, is a written warning - given that the Christmas music that started polluting the airwaves at least a week before Thanksgiving may well have oblated the auditory systems of many dear readers and so rendered them overmuch reliant on sight to make their baleful way through this holiday season. Never fear. Avery writes again (or at least copies and pastes stuff he’s writen before!).

If this development of commercial radio switching to all-Christmas formats only weeks after Halloween is not entirely new, it is all the same horrifically new to me, and you may chalk it up to denial that I have taken this long to scoop my yearly spoonful of sand back into the ocean of unlistenably craptastic auditory pollution called Christmas music.

In any case, forthwith my customary admonishment to, as I originally put it, gird yourself for bad Christmas music:

It’s only November 29 and I’m already sick to death of “Jingle Bell Rock” and Burle Ives and “White Christmas” and the Ray Conniff Singers (”let’s all sing in unison everybody!”). Hasn’t anyone realized that there are only so many ways to rearrange “Silent Night” and “We Three Kings” before the songs collapse under their own threadbare weight? The state of Christmas music - Christian and secular - is atrocious. There’s a lot contributing to the dismal repetition of the same handful of exhausted melodies, which passes for Christmas music. First and foremost, the limited shelf life of Christmas projects disincentivizes artists and labels from investing heavily in good, original holiday music. Second, the hyper-commercialization of Christmas relies in large part on the sentimentality and faux nostalgia of traditional Christmas favorites softening the rapacious spending frenzy that’s at the root of most Christmas celebrations (”hey, we’re singing “Deck the Halls” while we elbow our way through Super Walmart, so this must mean Christmas isn’t an obscene orgy of getting and spending”). And since you’ve got only at most a couple of months of serious selling time and airplay for Christmas merchandise (in music), the best way to cash in on the Christmas cash-cow is to play to the saps who can’t get enough of “Rudolph” and “Little Drummer Boy” and Alvin & The Chipmunks. This kind of pandering leaves no air and shelf space for original, unproven tunes (and in turn, of course, recycling the same tripe season after season only reinforces the tendency to repeat “old favorites” next year, which is why, I assume, my local soft rock radio station has been taken over by schlocky Christmas crap … and speaking of radio, kudos to Chuck Peters for resisting the Christmas blinders most programmers put on when the tinsel and mistletoe come out). There are fine Christmas projects out there (B.B. King’s, Michael Buble’s [Avery in 2011: not the most recent one, alas], Linda Eder’s and, ridicule me though you may, Mariah Carey’s), but the profit-imperative behind the Bing-Crosby cliché Christmas (a complete fantasy, mind you) keeps these projects at the back of the rack. And there is original Christmas music being written out there, but it doesn’t get much airplay and little promotion because either it can’t compete with “Holly Jolly Christmas” or it’s a religious tune that’s too explicitly sectarian for pop Christmas radio.The situation in sg is not much better. Though original Christmas music fairs slightly better in Christian markets than others, that’s mainly because churches drive the creation of new Christmas musicals and other church music. Look at your average sg Christmas project and you’ll see the same forces at work here that thwart good Christmas music in secular markets: dashed off recordings geared toward holiday sales more than musical excellence. The few original tunes that may be included on these are often hastily assembled, kitchy affairs that are difficult to take seriously (for instance, EHSSQ’s “A Quartet Christmas”).

It kinda surprises me that this trend has persisted so long, since pretty clearly good holiday music - both Christian and secular - is in high demand when it manages to break through the Christmas-music barricade. Linda Eder’s recording of “Bells of St. Paul” became an instant classic when it came out a few years back, as is Kenny Loggin’s fine “Celebrate Me Home” (and Mariah Carey’s recording of “Miss You Most” is outstanding, though it doesn’t get as much play as Eder and Loggins). And it took only a matter of years for the wonderful “Mary Did You Know” to become sickeningly overdone - evidence, I think, that there is a demand for good, original Christmas music even if labels and vendors prefer to peddle holiday pap for easy profits. Aside from labels and artists investing in solidly built and performed Christmas music (which I don’t expect to see happen any time soon), perhaps part the problem is that the relatively small number of good, original Christmas tunes are too dispersed across and buried in a host of otherwise forgettable individual projects

The full thing is here.  Feel free to spread a little cheer with recommendations of actually good Christmas music in the comments.

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  1. irishlad wrote:

    The BEST Christmas song EVER….Fairytale of New York.The Pogues &Kirsty McColl(Rip) go on google it…you know you want to.

  2. irishlad wrote:

    …closely followed by “O Holy Night” Mario Lanza and “The Little Drummer Boy” Bing Crosby & David Bowie.

  3. Janet B wrote:

    Ok, Doug. Here we go again… :)

    I’ve been listening to my Christmas music since June (there was a reason - really). I don’t get tired of it. However, I will listen to MY music…very rarely will I turn on the radio this time of year. Program directors have a seriously sad lack of imagination when it comes to holiday music. I cannot listen to 12 versions of Winter Wonderland, back to back. ***shudder***
    Last week, I picked up Casting Crown’s Christmas cd, Peace On Earth. It’s been out for a couple of years - I’ve heard snippets - so it was on my get-list. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.
    Another unexpected great find was a little cd entitled A Moment’s Peace, Christmas. All instrumental, specifically cello & piano. That’s it. Wonderful arrangements, marrying the familiar carols with the unexpected hymn or chorus…such as Tell Me The Story of Jesus with Mary Did You Know, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with How Firm a Foundation. (Oh yeah - the guy playing the piano is Christopher Phillips.)

    Merry Christmas, Doug. Hope you find some music that will make your heart sing.

    Oh - irishlad? No one sings O Holy Night like David Phelps - no offense to Mario.
    And the BEST Christmas song EVER? Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah - from Michael W. Smith’s It’s A Wonderful Christmas. THAT is what we’re going to hear in Heaven.

  4. Judi wrote:

    A Windham Hill Christmas: The Night Before Christmas; A Winter’s Solstice; A Winter ’s Solstice III; A Winter’s Solstice V; all have refreshing arrangements of many sacred and secular carols. Not exactly SG but these contemporary instrumentals are much easier on the ear and the soul and the elevator holiday music that started on my FM stations the day after Halloween!

  5. ToddTenor wrote:

    The best Christmas album ever made is Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas.”

  6. Roslyn McLean wrote:

    I checked out what you consider good Christmas music and found it to be in actuallity a good example of XMassssss!!!!! Music. Christ is in no way held up in it. these people have for the most part no real musical gift or talent either vocally or instrumentally in my opinion. I’ll let God be the final judge. God Bless and may you have a Blessed Christmas

  7. TheOldATrain wrote:

    For those who are interested in classical music, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is outstanding, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to find an English translation of the German libretto for those who might actually want to know what the vocalists are saying :^)

  8. observor wrote:


  9. Joe wrote:

    Generally agree with Doug…far too early, far too much, most of it nowadays is diluted mish-mash (is that a word?).

    I did learn a new song a couple of years ago that still thrills me…”He Made A Way In The Manger”. Look it up, listen to it if you can find it, and marvel in the truth of the words.

    On a personal note, a few Christmases ago I was by myself in our local KMart, a store i am rarely in. Looking for a last minute “needed” toy for one of the grandkids. Disgusted by the wall-to-wall shoppers jostling me, yelling, arguing, etc. Not finding the toy, and standing there, feeling quite frustrated. When, all of a sudden, right above my head from the ceiling speaker, came these 4 words into my consciousness “…God and sinners reconciled…”

    The masterpiece by Charles Wesley and Felix Mendelssohn, otherwise known as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” I stood there, having just had my entire Christmas spirit instantly adjusted.

    The tears welled in my eyes, as i thought again of the grace of a loving and forgiving God, Who sent the best of Heaven, to die for the worst of earth, and then offer me the chance to be saved, and enjoy the forgiveness of my sins.

    It is a Christmas music I will never forget.
    Hallelujah. What a Savior.

  10. pj wrote:

    Janet B - agreed. Just heard David Phelps sing O Holy Night in Carnegie Hall. Amazing, as always.
    Among my favorite Christmas listening is also David’s “One Wintry Night” and “The Singer.”
    (wait for The Singer after O Come…)
    and his “Hark the Herald”

  11. Larry Ferguson wrote:

    I too, feel that more times than not songs get repeated way to much during the Christmas season. If not duplicated way too much they can easily be ripped off melody wise. If not any of those things, they make them comedic. Sometimes I wonder if it is just because the song would be seasonal and writers don’t put as much value on creating an outright incredible Christmas song.

    One incredible Christmas song that has never really seen the light, that I hope to change, is Dottie Rambo’s Mary Was The First One To Carry The Gospel”. She wasn’t thrilled that Mark Lowry later would write one with the same title, after all he had every Rambo record in existence. While Mark’s is more commercial and a familiar feel with the melody, Dottie’s is more dramatic. I really think it’s a hidden jewel. Dottie also wrote a song titled “The Stable Surely Housed A Mighty King”, she recorded it, hated the arrangement that Dony McGuire did within the production. An incredible arrangement could give the song a whole new life. I Call Him Lord easily works as a Christmas song to me as well and I keep it on rotation during the Christmas season.

    Dolly Parton is a great Christmas Music writer. Her album with Kenny Rogers, “Once Upon A Christmas”, is an amazing mix of originals as well as standards done with incredible arrangements by David Foster. “Once Upon A Christmas” was covered by the CCM group, Selah. A couple of the Christmas love songs were covered by Jeff and Sheri Easter. Gaither even covered Dolly’s “With Bells On”. It’s one of the biggest Christmas selling albums of all time. It’s currently high on the Holiday Chart.

    Kenny Rogers has many Christmas albums with some well written originals. David Archuleta released an incredible Christmas project. Legacy 5 has a beautiful project with a traditional Christmas sound. I hear that Susan Boyle has a wonderful Christmas album, though I’ve not purchased it as of yet. And for fund Classic Rock Christmas on itunes has some great stuff.

  12. Friday Night Revival wrote:

    Sting. “If On A Winter’s Night”. Original and creative, full with Sting’s medieval Castle living folk and jazz. Definitely not a typical Christmas album. But enjoyable because he’s such an interesting musician who clearly has his own brilliant and articulate mind.

  13. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    The Haven Quartet was a radio ministry group that made some great Christmas music. This is one of their best albums:

  14. Trevor Haley wrote:

    The best version of “O Holy Night” I have ever heard was a live performance by John Denver - just his voice and his guitar. I gained a new respect for his vocal talents after seeing that. It ALMOST made up for the hideous “Christmas Together” project he did with the Muppets….

  15. Scott wrote:

    I have been waiting for this annual dis of the Ray Conniff Singers….

  16. Rickin SouthernGA wrote:

    Re: #11. Larry, I have every Rambo album, also, and agree with you about “Mary Was the First…” Great song.
    I often wondered, as well, as much as Mark always claimed to adore the Rambos, why he would take that title verbatim for his own inferior (in mho) song.
    I appreciate all you did for Dottie in her later years. I miss her, as I know you do.

  17. heyhollywood wrote:

    I have spent the last week listening to Karen Peck & New River’s new Christmas project “Georgia Mountain Christmas.” I haven’t even taken it out of the player. It has 13 songs, most of which are new and it still gives me that Christmas feeling as soon as the first note begins. It is absolutely incredible from beginning to end. It couldn’t have been a more pleasant surprise.

  18. suzie wrote:

    Check out The Isaacs’ song Labor of Love on Youtube. Becky sings it with perfection. And it’s a great take on the reality of that forever-changing night. Just beautiful.

  19. Videoguy wrote:

    I like the Annie Moses Band Christmas project they put out a few years ago. Not exactly toe-tapping material, but the technical aspects and their musicianship are just incredible. Must see them in person to really appreciate and get the full effect.

  20. CVH wrote:

    I knew it was coming - just like the Archway seasonal cookies’ arrival at the supermarket - Doug’s annual diss of Ray Conniff is right on time. Looking back the records sound pretty kitschy but at the time they were simple and innovative. And they sold. Taking 25 voices and having them sing in unison over a pop orchestra was a catchy concept back then. He rode the wave as long as he could - and sold 70 million records in the process. That doesn’t mean it was good art, but people ate it up. Would you rather be Jaguar with sales of 50,000 or Ford with sales of 5.5 million?

    OK, taking out my Ray Conniff CD, replacing it with Dean Martin’s “A Winter Romance” (Capitol, 1959).

    A few comments regarding the posts already made. One can objectively evaluate a musical performance and say it’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’, but regardless of that conclusion, taste is totally subjective. Janet likes the Casting Crowns record; I think it’s passable but not great. And maybe it’s me but I’ve acquired a distaste for much of David Phelps’ music in the last few years because almost everything he does is so over the top. Talented? Yes, no doubt. But does he respect the music he’s singing? Does he approach it carefully, mindful that he is interpreting a work of art or does he take a casual approach and see the song as a vehicle for his vocal gymnastics? He has a three octave full voice range. Very impressive. But personally I’d like more discrimination in what he sings and how he sings it.

    As far as Christmas music on the radio, the trend to start seasonal music earlier and earlier has about reached its high point (or low point, depending on your point of view). October 30 or 31 is about the earliest start; many stations flip in mid to late November. The typical secular station has about a 350 song Christmas playlist, smaller than most normal playlists at other times of the year. So repetition is inevitable. The consultants will tell you, only play the best songs, this is what draws and keeps listeners, and they’re right. To a point. It also turns an increasing number of listeners off. Like any trend, it won’t last forever. Research has shown that despite the short-term gain in cume and AQH stations get with all-Christmas programming, there is no residual benefit. In January, everyone migrates to whatever they were listening to before. Christian formats are a whole other animal - usually a wider variety of songs, bigger playlists and a lot of songs by Christian artists that never are heard on secular radio. Since around 80% of Christian radio networks and stations are listener-supported, there isn’t as much economic incentive or pressure to fight for listeners as with competing secular stations in a given market. I listen to more than a hundred new Christmas songs and probably 20-30 new records every season and the majority of it is crap. Same tunes, lame arrangements, so-so vocals. You either end up with something cheesy like “Where’s The Line To See Jesus?” or a tune that’s so ‘out there’ that you’d never associate it with the season.

    Doug mentions how badly “Mary Did You Know” has been whored around. If I hear one more soloist do “Grown Up Christmas List” this year, I’m going to throw up. When David Foster and Natalie Cole first did it in 1990 it was fresh and new. Amy Grant’s version in 1992 became hugely popular. But in the last two decades, it’s become a cliché, much like Newsong’s “The Christmas Shoes”. Where are the writers? Take the same thought and write something new, something good. Please – if you feel a leading to sing GUCL at church this Christmas, fight the urge. You probably just had too much eggnog.

    Oh and don’t waste your money on Mannheim’s new ‘Christmas Symphony’. The same arrangements with a few enhancements and swaps on a few leads - cello for voices, oboe for horns. Talk about milking it. If you have the original Christmas record from 1984 you’ll probably find it more satisfying, despite the old Yamaha keyboards and synth drums.

    As far as recommendations, Matt Wertz has a clever new record out; Matthew West as well with a few decent original cuts. In other categories, the Annie Moses Band ‘This Glorious Christmas’, an interesting mix of folk, jazz and classical. In traditional/choral/classical ‘A Festival of Carols’ (OOP) is a wonderful mix of traditional and obscure carols with choir and orchestra. And if you really want to go back, Doug Oldham’s first Christmas record (Impact, 1972) “Christmas with Doug Oldham” had a warm mix of favorites - spiritual but very accessible. It was one of the first projects he did with Ronn Huff. It’s available on his website which is maintained by his daughter Rebekah.

    OK, Dino’s done - those were short records back then. On to Alan Jackson and Jewel. Fa, la, la, la, la…

  21. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Hey FNR, cool Sting album. I listened to what he did with that Robert Louis Stevenson, and the writer in me got so inspired, you know what I did? I went and looked up a bunch of Stevenson poems, picked out a random one that looked cool, then sat there and wrote a melody for it in just a few minutes. It was that good.

  22. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Videoguy, thanks for the reminder on AMB. Wow.

  23. irishlad wrote:

    14. I have a friend who’s in to all sorts of music,to say his musical taste is eclectic would be a gross understatement and he told me a John Denver concert he was at was the BEST concert he ever attended including the Eagles and other stadium filling bands.So you might have something there Trevor.

  24. irishlad wrote:

    I’m usually on here ranting and raving about obscure Qts that no one’s heard of and/or gives a hoot about,but nevertheless here’s an other one this time from Washington MI.Check out “O Holy Night” on youtube(must stop being lazy and post the link)they’re very smooth indeed.

  25. irishlad wrote:

    Oh yes…must tell you who they are: New Destiny Qt :)

  26. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    If you’re looking for something a little more fresh and innovative this holiday season, check out Andrew Peterson’s “Behold The Lamb Of God.” Outstanding Christmas(ish) album featuring some pretty excellent songwriting.

  27. irishlad wrote:

    JanetB,CVH just told the world,well Avery readers the reason i picked ML over DP on “O Holy Night”

  28. BigC wrote:

    Christmas music is so much better in the outdoors!

  29. Sam wrote:

    I like Tim Davis’ Christmas Dreaming album, esp the song ‘Christmas comes to us all once a yr.’ Find it on itunes. Great voice!

    Also does anyone know who wrote this song??? (Not intending to change the topic, just asking.)

  30. NG wrote:

    Try the Carol Album — Seven Centuries of Christmas Music. Double CD set came out a number of years ago. Samples are here:

  31. Phil Gilliam wrote:

    Taranda Greene’s Version of O Holy Night is amazing.

  32. Lee wrote:

    #29 - Sue Smith and Caleb Collins wrote the Crabb song you’re asking about.

  33. Wade wrote:

    Phil — Taranda is amazing at about everything!!!

  34. Ode wrote:

    Christ is not upheld by giving him lip service.Chanting His name and reciting His works endlessly,song after song,when repeated enough times, will onlly dull the senses to total unability to notice the song’s message. Unless all you want is to entertain yourself while basking in self glorifying religiosity, that’s not the music that really matters.

    Why are you spoiling such a nice, inspiring, educational thread acting like an old witch, Roslyn? Insulted Avy, insulted singers, showed yourself as a total ignoramus, ordered God what He should do, then applied polish to all that turd wishing him “blessings”? Take your antics to other SG blogs. This is the only one where we WILL hold you responsible for the prettywording-covered ungodliness

  35. irishlad wrote:

    Ode, i would dearly love to take you somewhere really nice and do whatever it takes to calm into the pussycat kitten that i’m sure you are :)

  36. Wade wrote:

    irishdude I thing a cougar is as calm as it is going to get

  37. Ode wrote:

    purrrr…Sure, laddy, I am the pussycattiest kitten!That’s why I sharpen claws off a worthy object now and then. My parents see Christianity as a cheap religioun, and more then enough times I heard from unbelieving friends about people like poster 6 “this is why I am not a Christian”

    ( hm.. trying to re-bargain a deal with a handsome ayerish ) I dont have time to doll up for a fancy place now,luv, relatives visiting, hannukah coming… How about just a plain, jeans–are-allowed coffee shop, but you do “whatever it takes” twice instead?

  38. pussycat in training wrote:

    ( :) so balmy, I can be applied to a wound):

    After only 5 years of living in a country where Xmas is a national showtime, I still(blushing) have a puppy love for all xmas music….
    Janet, thanks, great album! Love O Come,Emmanuel in almost every version. NG, nice choirs. Ilad, what a lovely quartet with a baritone as lead. btw, I go see your CelticThunder on the 11th. 90$ + 20$ parking, sold out. I’ll tell how much scalpers wanted at the gate.

    So why singing guys in suits and ties sell a grand US tour without compromising their athenticity and SG suffer and loses lots of it identity to CCM-style if they want to make it big? The answer is pretty clear, but…

    acapella of Amasing Grace:

    “Halleluijah” is great, even i never get Cohen’s convoluted lyrics :D

  39. irishlad wrote:

    37 Twice?!..oh well, a guy’s gotta do wadda guys gotta..(you know the rest)..

  40. NG wrote:

    #pussycat: I like Thunder but love kd lang’s version of Hallelujah. Here’s the version she did when Cohen was inducted in the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

  41. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Chris Rice’s “Welcome To Our World” took off for a year or two. Several artists recorded it…most notably, Michael W. Smith on his 1998 _Christmastime_ CD and Amy Grant on her 1999 _Christmas To Remember_ CD.

    I thought the song had staying power, and expected it to take it’s place alongside “Mary, Did You Know?” as one of the most memorable Christmas songs from the 1990s.

    But, I hardly hear it any more.

  42. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Yeah, why would anyone think of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as a Christmas song? I just heard it performed on _The Sing-Off_ during an episode that was supposed to be completely devoted to Christmas music.

    Whatever it is, a Christmas song it’s not. If you give it the benefit of the doubt, it’s the story of King David’s sin with Bathsheba. If you assume the worst, it’s blasphemous.


  43. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    I like “Welcome to the World,” but it’s not as great as “Mary Did You Know.”

    I don’t get why “Hallelujah” has been treated as a Christmas song either. What do you wanna bet it’s because Handel happened to write a song with the same name that’s been performed as a Christmas piece. Who knows but what it’s just that stupid?

  44. Wade wrote:

    PiT 38… BALMY!!! hahaha

  45. Trevor Haley wrote:

    Heard a live broadcast this morning on WSM radio with Mandy Barnett, who was a Christmas CD out. Awesome stuff. The guy that was playing flat-top for hear was not bad either…

  46. Trevor Haley wrote:

    That should read…for HER…sorry.

  47. cdguy wrote:

    DBM — I’m with you. It’s quite blasphemous, and had no place in anything connected to Christmas. This just goes to show that the world doesn’t have a clue!

    And they haven’t got a clue that they haven’t got a clue.

  48. JLL wrote:

    Any opinions on Faith Hill’s “A Baby Changes Everything”? I really liked it when I first heard her do it on her PBS special, but since then I’ve heard/read some people dissing it. Thoughts?

  49. irishlad wrote:

    Look, everyone with half a brain knows LC’s song “Hallelujah” is about adultery,but as soon as a word like that is mentioned all the small minded die-hards start getting their knickers into a twist. O Lord,save me from your followers…..please?

  50. irishlad wrote:

    42 DBM,just because he’s a clever Canadian Jew,he’s suddenly blasphemous? Were’d you get that pearl of wisdom from?

  51. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Well, “Hallelujah” is a word of praise and worship to God, and the song is using it to glorify sex.

    That might be a start.

  52. observor wrote:

    Tim Greene’s new Christmas CD is different. A lot of new original songs - very refreshing.

  53. Ode wrote:

    39…by choosing your birthplace wisely you escaped the chance to personally know Rasar (its “staff serg”, I believe) Gaon who was convinced that the lack of enthusiasm from lower ranks about the job tasks is easily cured by adding workload to their day “that the God has made, and we shall rejoice in it!” I wanted 2 secret, but long and slow kisses, with feeling- now I want 3 and something romanic as a bonus :D

  54. Ode wrote:

    40 -NG, thanks, nice.Full version seem to be clearer,but why he mixes Samson/Delilah in there as if it was one story? While I deeply respect Canadians,you are brainy, the kings in hockey and let israjews in without a visa -a very generous heartfelt welcome we haven’t become accustomed to in the last 6k years, but that one canuck just doesn’t make sense.Ok,it could be me,i got job related mental handicap- I think in binary and can’t grasp vague concepts…

  55. Ode wrote:

    51, Why can’t two go together? Tanach is glorifying adulterous sex in Song of Songs and other places,we don’t dismiss the Bible because of it. At least, unlike SoS, Cohen’s song actually drives home a point about adultery being wrong,check the lyrics.

    To say Hallelujah glorifies sex is like saying that Crabb Family singers( post 29) - the two highly obese women -glorify gluttony. Sin just happens, it’s sad.Talking about it doesn’t make a sinner’s praise any less valid. The girls from “Crabb Family” can’t find willpower to say NO even to donuts, can they (or us) bash King David for falling for a woman? He repented of that sin, yet still went on as unrepented serial adulterer, owner of a bunch of wives and concubines.

  56. Janet B wrote:

    JLL - I love A Baby Changes Everything…wish that Faith would’ve included more songs like that on her cd.

    DBM - Agree with you on Welcome To Our World…maybe it’ll get “rediscovered” someday?

    irishlad - Growing up, it wasn’t Christmas for me until I heard Perry Como sing O Holy Night. So, see? Never Mario.

    CVH - Yes. Musical taste IS subjective…but there was no call for you to get snarky about it. As a classically trained vocalist/musician, I’m sure that DP’s appreciation for his art (and the crafting thereof) is more than adequate. Sheesh.

    Pussycat in training - You’re welcome. :)
    If you want/need more suggestions, I’ve got plenty.

  57. Ode wrote:

    CVH, a very interesting review, thanx.

  58. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    Jesus is the reason for all seasons, not just his fake birthday. Lyrically, Christmas music is just like southern gospel music inasmuch as some of it speaks biblical truth and some does not. The heightened level of discernment in music this time of year is as pharisitical as it is useless in the Kingdom.

    This whole thread makes me want to permanently ditch saying “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays” , if for no other reason than disassociation from the uber-righteous (see, e.g., No. 51).

  59. Rickin SouthernGA wrote:

    Re: #52. Sex is a gift from God. One of the many gifts we praise and worship and thank him for. If there is an issue with that gift, blame God.

  60. CVH wrote:

    #56 Janet B - snarky? I said he’s talented and has an impressive vocal range. But if he appreciates the art of the song as you suggest, it should be more evident in his repertoire and performance. With the GVB gig he has an easy pass in that the majority of concertgoers are easily impressed and his level of talent exceeds that of many of his peers. He works hard but there’s a difference between showmanship and artistry and in the southern gospel market one is often mistaken for the other. Sheesh, yourself.

  61. irishlad wrote:

    54,NOW you’ve got may crank turning!..for a romantic bonus,can we do it in binary? ;)
    CVH..hey man, Janet B was a tad rough on you :-/
    MARIO MARIO MARIO!! :) (Como wasn’t bad)

  62. NG wrote:

    Thanks Ode for the kind words about Canadian but I think Americans are going a little overboard this week in showing love to Canadian performers. Four of the top five positions on the Billboard music chart are by Canadians including two Christmas albums. Michael Buble”s “Christmas” is #1 and Justin Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe” is #3. Drake is at #4 and Nickelback at #5 but those two are not Christmas albums.
    Considering some of that music maybe the South Park gang were onto something with their song “Blame Canada.”

  63. Wade wrote:

    Soli #60 — you said…”This whole thread makes me want to permanently ditch saying “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays” , if for no other reason than disassociation from the uber-righteous (see, e.g., No. 51).”…

    I say AMEN!!! For me it starts with righteous!!!

    CVH — I always thought you were a little snarky!!! Sheesh but I don’t hate ya for it, in fact it’s adorable!!

    irishdude — we almost skyped the other night and it was tempting, but I just could not make my first skype experience be with a guy!!! Yes I still have the gossip!!! For Christmas I promise to go back and find the emails and cut & paste it for ya!!!

    TGIF… Hope every one has Super Weekend!!

  64. Janet B wrote:

    CVH: Yes - snarky. It’s one thing to say that you’ve acquired a distaste for DP’s music (your right to do so); it’s quite another to question his motives & attitudes about his performances. There you’re getting into an area where you’re attacking the MAN and not just his music. THAT’S snarky.

  65. irishlad wrote:

    Yes indeed,DP’s a very big fish in a very small pond,much the same as that other big fish ME was/is.Michael himself declared that when he was forced out of the Gospel scene he found it too competitive in the non-Gospel world.The same can be said for David,if it were that easy he’d be up there with Mr Groban(and don’t start the “one’s a tenor the other’s a baritone debate”)Dp has dipped his toes enough in the secular music world to refute that argument.I dare say if he’d jumped straight in to that particular pond, fresh out of Baylor perhaps he would have been well up the aquatic food chain by now.

  66. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    But it implies that the “broken” Hallelujah is just as good as the “holy” one:

    You say I took the name in vain
    I don’t even know the name
    But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
    There’s a blaze of light in every word
    It doesn’t matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken Hallelujah


    Phelps: Easy on the boy, he can sing. I just saw him in concert last night and it was kinda cool. Do I wish he’d ditch the extra pop improv? Sure, but he’s probably the most gifted tenor in gospel or pop, and he can do a smoking “O Holy Night.” It doesn’t mean he’s my favorite, but it does mean I respect him.

  67. CVH wrote:

    Wade, bless you brother. You’re right, my snarkiness is one of my most adorable qualities.

    irishlad, no worries. I’ve wrestled with ygg; Janet’s a lightweight in comparison.

    Janet, bless you for trying but it is entirely within the realm of permissibility to speculate about an artist’s attitude and motives. Any person who puts themself in the public eye is subject to such scrutiny. As I said in my original post, he is talented and has an impressive range. But the proof is in the pudding (or black pudding as irishlad might say), and asking questions or speculating about aspects of an artist’s work is not “attacking the MAN”.

  68. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Yeah. Janet might kick your tail, but I’ll decapitate you.

  69. irishlad wrote:

    Ohhhhhh CVH, YGG’s all up for breaking the 6th but not the 7th.

  70. CVH wrote:

    ygg - that’s what I love about you…

  71. art wrote:

    Back to Christmas music: Last night I heard a local production of the Barlow Girls’ “Hallelujah The Light has come” (not sure of the exact title. That song has stuck in my mind all day.

  72. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Downhere has a good Christmas song called “How Many Kings.” Marc Martel is really a brilliant singer. I think he sings “Nessun Dorma” better than David Phelps (but more on that in an upcoming post).

  73. irishlad wrote:

    Ooops ygg..I forgot my caps were on,no point in inflating an already over-sized ego :)

  74. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    No. 72: so where exactly is your moral outrage over David Phelps covering Nessun Dorma? And don’t give us the “no one considers that a Christmas song” nonsense. Phelps’s rendition has been fully embraced by southern gospel fandom complete with raising hands in worship during the performance of a song about a guy lusting after some chick. Talk about a broken hallelujah…

    Or are Gaither artists immune to your “it glorifies sex” objection at No. 51? Word of advice: if you want to play the part of an intellectual here, you’d better start practicing some intellectual honesty.

  75. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    I do think it’s a little silly to perform it in a southern gospel context.

  76. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    No. 75: I’ll bet “Hallelujah” would only be “a little silly” to you as well if it were on a Michael English Christmas album. Congratulations, you just lost whatever credibility you had.

  77. Ode wrote:

    :D sure, but i don’t even know what the the binary kiss is, Ilad! i’m one generation removed from just got off the camel, where’d I learn fancy kinks? In comparison to Yankee romancing CVH in combat, or our good ol Wade, hot playboy and ladies’ pet, i am boring….


    Appreciate the offer, whatever suggestions you,being a singer, might have, Ill be very grateful, knowing close to nothing in comparison to most in here…
    Particularly interested in acapella SG songs lately, getting tired of both progressivish SG(usually it’s just a bad version of CCM) and old SG,sung to, as our Soli rightfully says, karaoke machine.

  78. Ode wrote:


    The 2 known concepts in Hebrew tradition are loosely translated here as holy and broken. All Tehilim(Praises)is divided in 2 kinds, Praises when we are happy, esp hallel hagadol, and ones when we are in pain. Broken ones were made by David when “baffled”, hurt,”it all went wrong”,for God is with us when we suffer, sin, or are joyful.

    (From your lips she drew) the Hallelujah- a Jewish prayer, not a chant or an equivalent of “god!” or “jesus!” screams during sex, or whatever dirt that DBM and cdguy saw in it.

    Broken Praise Jah, like ps51, is better, it was created when he was acutely aware of his sin.The holy ones were written, without a shadow of remorse!, by David the happy polygamist/serial adulterer that had sex with minors –in contemporary culture all that would end him in court, and consequently, prison.

  79. CVH wrote:

    Soli, I think ygg is a faux intellectual. She only comments or replies when it suits her; she doesn’t ever engage in serious conversation. Of course she probably believes no one here is worth her time. I would certainly be at or near the front of that line.

    It’s obvious she has some anger issues. But I’ll give her this - even when threatening to kill me she suggested decapitation. Nothing as gauche as a gun or knife or even poison. I’m thinking guillotine. I mean, how romantic; how deliciously 18th century France. Makes me want to break out a ‘61 Lafite Rothschild.

  80. Ode wrote:


    My sister’s friend,from here, USA, a smart fellow with 2 right hands, had decided, after much anquish over internal politics and insurance abuse, to drop the neurosurgery field and went successfully to plastic. Breasts enlargements,penile extensions,better noses for happy customers, who are overcompensating for whatever’s that they clearly lack. Should he, being a neurosurgeon by training, also putting some brains into his patients, who could surely use extra helpings of it, while installing aritifical youth parts? He could, but that’s not what they ask / pay for/ would appreciate.

    Were I am getting with my usual idiotic to a normal westerner talk… Are you sure, my brother CVH, and I’m sincerely asking for your opinion, that if DP were to go heavy on artistry I am confident he is capable of ,the majority of SG fanship’d like, tolerate, or appreciate it? It won’t cost him a career and their votes? “Music that makes people think” is not for everybody. Thats why billboard charts are the way they are…

  81. Wade wrote:

    ode… I am saving myself for you Baby!!!

    CVH & Soli — Ha Ha y’all have ygg NAILED… if she was fully capable of beheading I would long sense be GONE!!!

    ygg is the BEST at Huffing & Puffing like the Big Bad Wolf!!

  82. irishlad wrote:

    What i love about this site is;the way the posters can cheerfully and sometimes nastily rip the back out of each other,makes for some entertaining reading….watch this space :)

  83. irishlad wrote:

    I’ve heard there was a secret chord
    That CVH played,and it pleased the Lord
    But yyg you don’t really care for that do u?
    It goes like this the 6th the 7th
    The minor fall the major lift
    Baffled CVH composing Yankeelujah


    Your faith was strong but you need
    On Avery you realized she was a spoof
    Her beauty in the moonlight over threw
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne,and she cut off
    your head
    And from your lips she drew the


    I did my best it wasn’t much
    I couldn’t feel and i couldn’t touch
    I’ve told the truth,I didn’t come here to
    fool you
    And even though it all went wrong
    I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but


  84. irishlad wrote:

    77 Ode,you forget about yankee and concentrate on us baby :)

  85. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    There are plenty of Italian arias about “the fire of my love” or what-not. It’s a certain genre. I practice them for my voice lessons. They’re just over-blown romantic songs. No real harm in them.

    “Hallelujah” is different because it’s very specifically trying to blend the sacred with the profane. It’s more in-your-face too.

  86. Wade wrote:

    irishdude — I am concentrating on you & ode RIGHT NOW!!! Nice little song their… GLORY HALLELUIAH!!!!

  87. CVH wrote:

    ode (#80) I think you’re right in saying that “music that makes people think” isn’t for everybody. With some exceptions I don’t think there are too many thoughtful writers in religious music. Many can write a good hook, a clever play on words or mindless repetitive crap (most modern
    praise and worship music) that sells. But music is more for entertainment than getting people to think. It reinforces what we already believe. And that’s ok.

    On Phelps, I’m not sure where he could move on the continuum of Christian/
    gospel/southern gospel music. Probably 80% of what is called ‘inspirational’ music overlaps the adult contemporary category. There’s not much upward potential there and the ‘inspo’ segment of the market is literally dying off. He’s not viable as a CCM artist and he’d find it nearly impossible to cross over into secular pop-classical. So what I mean is he’s got a pretty comfortable gig that isn’t overly demanding. And the fans, attracted to bright, shiny objects as they are, love it. It feeds his wallet and his ego so why fight it?

    irishlad (#83) you have outdone yourself my friend. Whatever you’re drinking I’ll have a double.

  88. Ode wrote:

    For someone who claims she is smart, ygg, you are doing a pretty convincing job of playing dumb.
    I explained why “Hallelujah” is not profane, unless you have a really dirty mind. Following your logic, the Bible is a profane book

    Wade, :D :D
    You have my kosher, pure sisterly affection. You got scores of women, you need a jewess like you need a bullethole in the head. Even if, how do you visualise it, I drive Ilad into early grave, becoming a merry widow? Guess again,those irish are so marinated in whiskey they have no expiration date, he will outlive me, you, the nuclear war, cockroaches, all except the Rolling Stones.
    I just replied to u in “Elmer Gantry”, sorry for delay, my uncle is visiting, and that eboy needs supervision if I don’t wish to have to come up with the bail money. Every busty blond or a bar we pass on the street gets his neck rotating.

    Brilliant,but (us,darn programmers) the order of code execution in verse 4 renders it impossible- if she breaks the 6th commandment, she wont get to breaking 7th, he’d be dead.

    Can we change it to “the 6th OR 7th” ,to keep us all guessing? If CVH is still around posting on avery, we’d know she went with ’61 bordeaux and the following and let him live?

  89. art wrote:

    #82-83: The Irish have a rep for enjoying a fight. My Irish genes have been in the American Midwest too long, I guess, because I prefer nice discussions. Something about goodwill toward men, I guess.

    Anyway, you obviously put a lot of work into your composition. But to my mind, the acrimonious personal sniping is old. I prefer friendly needling.

  90. CVH wrote:


    Thanks for the discussion on my impending demise. Y’all go right ahead as though I wasn’t here.

    If it comes down to Madame Guillotine, please get a collection going to have the blade sharpened. This need not be a messy affair (oops, there’s #7 again).

  91. irishlad wrote:

    Art..a lot of work? Oh yes @ least 180secs.
    CVH, that would be a Teachers/Bells or Famous Grouse & you can have 3fingers on me :)

  92. Wade wrote:

    ode… WoW what a bummer I am stuck in your FRIEND ZONE!!! ;-)))

    Still think you could drive irishdue to an early grave and then we could live together in the Caribbean on his money!!!

    Art… it is ALL friendly needling to me!!! But come on you have to admit that ygg RAISES her hand Hi for it, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS!!!?!?!

    CVH — Good Luck with that!!!

  93. Ode wrote:

    Appreciate the explanation. Indeed.
    Just to clarify,by “music that makes one think” I meant anything, it can be pure instrumental. Lyrics are not most important.

    Like one of my favs since childhood “avenu shalom aleichem”, the whole song is equivalent to the name, 3 words total. In Christian versions, as I noticed,they add Amen! in the end, making it 4 :) Never fails to deeply stir me. Brooklyn Tabernacle

  94. Ode wrote:

    CVH , you quite a wordsmith , turn on your charm and you should con your way out of guillotine and ygg’s wrath.

    If you fail, however, you aren’t excused from posting on SG blogs just because you are headless. I see fans that’s been doing just that for years :(

  95. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    This is pretty funny because I didn’t really mean “you” to refer to CVH. It was more a general “you.” But it’s been cute to watch you react anyway. :)

  96. irishlad wrote:

    94 Haha Ode,you ARE witty :)

  97. Wade wrote:

    irishdude… get it right ode is HAWT!!!!

  98. irishlad wrote:

    97 Wade,my good and trusted friend,if you mean Ode is “Hot”….then you sir, are 100% correct :)

  99. irishlad wrote:

    97 Wade! bad boy!’ve been ogleling her on fb ..haven’t? you tut tut :)

  100. HP wrote:

    Try DownHere’s Christmas album

  101. CVH wrote:

    Re:#95…I think she likes me!

  102. Ode wrote:

    :D Heeee… I love you, getlemen, you are fun, thank for kind words.

    Neah, I’m not hot, I’m boilng because I still cant get a green card. I need an american family member. Wade,to follow our talk on “Obama SG ride”, how about I adopt you? Trust me, since God been in business of making mothers, he hasn’t made any better then my kind. Jesus didn’t decide to be born into Chinese family, after all. So the day your dear parents been praying for has come, they can put you up for adoption, I take you. I won’t mess in you love life, cancel curfew and as every jewish mom’ll be most proud to have a son in entertainment. Handsome kid,you can be Penn Jilette’s twin brother, only a gentile.
    Are you circumcised? My tradition and the Bible demands all my male children to be; so if not we’ll arrange the ceremony, if yes,all left is bar mitzvah party, will make you the best one south of Mason-Dixon. Deal ?

  103. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    CVH: Paul Newman looks, Humphrey Bogart wit and Einstein intelligence would be optimal. So far I have no evidence of the former and counter-evidence of both the latter.

  104. Wade wrote:

    ode… well ok… but if you bury irishdude I will be here for ya!! ;-) :-) Yes I am circumcized… but if I wasn’t I would do it for you when the irishdude passes on!!! lol
    …son in entertainment… ha ha

    irishdude — I did not know ode was on facebook. I would LOVE to meet her there!! don’t know if it is ogleing or odeing!!?!?!

  105. Wade wrote:

    ode— gonna be like her and make multiple consecutive entries…

    CVH— of course she does. to bad for you she isn’t Suzan!!

  106. CVH wrote:

    Like I said, I think she likes me.

  107. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Also, there was apparently a confusion over “Nessun Dorma.” CVH was talking like I’d said it was on a Christmas project, but I only mentioned it because one of the Downhere singers has covered it separately. So all those vaguely snarky comments about “Nessun Dorma” being on a Christmas project… completely wasted I’m afraid. Try using Google before you go on a pointless rant next time.

  108. irishlad wrote:

    101/106 You sure about that? :)

  109. CVH wrote:

    #107 - ygg - Oh my, I hate to have a little spat right before Christmas. But I don’t believe I made any reference to ‘Nessun Dorma’, although others here did. I certainly didn’t go on a “pointless rant”. My rants have sharply defined points. For the record, I prefer the recording by Luciano Pavarotti from 1990 (”The Three Tenors in Concert”, Decca). Now stop pouting and have some eggnog. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  110. Wade wrote:

    CVH— That’s all she does is PROTEST!! I promise ya all the ppl she mentioned would want nothing to do with a NO IT ALL… Google THAT ygg!!!

  111. irishlad wrote:

    Empty cans rattle loudest :)

  112. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    “No. 72: so where exactly is your moral outrage over David Phelps covering Nessun Dorma? And don’t give us the ‘no one considers that a Christmas song’ nonsense.”

    You been hitting the egg-nog a little heavy there?

  113. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Ah, beg pardon, that was Soli Deo Gloria, not CVH. In that case, my apologies CVH, and Soli can take my comment earlier as directed at him without my knowing it.

    I can’t keep track of you guys… y’all are so much alike. ;)

  114. better off wed? wrote:

    104, Wade,if I start a black widow career , how can u be sure you won’t become the next victim,you willing to risk it?

    “…multiple consecutive entries…”"

    whats the proper Avery’s protocol, putting it all in one post? strictly speaking,I am a tribal woman, just crawled out of the cave basically,what do I know? he’s lucky that at least I make my entries fully clothed! With amount of disrespect i have for the selfrighteous aspect of SG culture…I might just enter half-dressed and give some southern bapstard a heart attack.
    I am on mekusharim- heb. fb, USA FB I don’t care for, just keep a nominal account.Americans are much more prudish,its too much work to keep it clean that boss/pastor/prospective employers don’t mind it, plus pulling xtians-nonxtians apart when they jump at each other throats.. neah. Major clash of cultures. I am tame believe it or not, in comparison to my friends :D :D

  115. ode wrote:

    and, if such a guy actually exists, what exactly would attract him to you ? I’m sure you are lovely looking,so that takes care of sexual attraction part, but presuming you want something more than just sex with him … you need to have something in common;)

  116. Wade wrote:

    ode— she must not be all that hot… she won’t post a pic on even HER Know it All Blog!!! The other clue is she doesn’t do facebook… if she was a looker at all she would have a pic some place!!!

    better off wed… there are no rules and it was not meant as hate just an observation that makes me smile when I see ode post and there are 2-3 in a roll!!!

    Post naked at your own risk!!!

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