Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas songs from childhood

This is probably something that most people won't want to listen to, but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

This is a song I selected more or less at random.  It's from an album called Santa Claus is Coming to Town by a cheesy-sounding group called The Caroleers.  When I was a kid, someone gave this to us kids (my two sisters and I).  I don't remember it being a gift specific to any one of us.  I will conjecture that it came from one of our aunts or uncles.  Back then, we would all gather at my paternal grandparents' house for an early Christmas celebration; usually the Saturday before the actual holiday or sometime thereabouts.  So that first year we got it, we listened to the **** out of it in the days until Christmas actually arrived.

The next year, we did it again, except this time we had even more time to listen to it, beginning with the start of school break.

The next year, we did it again.

Etc., etc.

It must have driven my grandmother crazy.  (My maternal grandmother was our baby-sitter back then).

One strange thing is that I don't remember this being on an LP.  The thing given to us was a boxed set of 7-inch records, although I don't think they were singles.  I think they had two songs per side.  Now, I had gone looking for this stuff in the past.  The problem was, I couldn't remember who the group was, but I could remember the names of two songs:  "Who's That Up On the Roof?" and "Icicles, Holly, Red Berries and Snow."  The latter of those was my favorite from the whole collection, possibly because we never had any of those things at Christmastime or any other time--unless you counted unripened wild dew berries in the summer time.  The former of those two is a song that, I think, could absolutely drive some people nuts if they heard too much--one time probably being too much for some.  I remember being annoyed by it when I was a kid, but now I like it.  Although, I still acknowledge its potential for being incredibly annoying.

Well, this year I went looking for it again and this time discovered that the whole album has uploaded to YouTube by more than one person.  Furthermore, on December 1 of last year it was released as an mp3 download at Amazon.

I was listening to a podcast recently about memory, and one of the researchers they spoke with told how the more often you remember something, the less accurate your memory becomes, and you remember things more accurately if you recall it less.  This seems right to me, because I had remembered the "Icicles" song as being much slower and more atmospheric.  When I was a kid, and even later growing up, I would often replay this song in my head from memory as I was falling asleep during the Christmas season.  To digress a little:  I don't know how many people do this, or even how many can do it.  But I've always had a very good musical memory and often use it to help myself fall asleep by replaying a soothing piece of music in my mind to help me relax.*

Anyhow, on the off chance that this music was also a part of your childhood at Christmastime, you can listen to the whole thing on YouTube.  Here's a playlist.  And yes, I've already listened to the whole thing.  More than once.

*There was another song that I often put myself to sleep with by mentally "listening" to it.  It was a song about rain, and was something they played on Captain Kangaroo with a video showing various rainy scenes.  I'm still looking for it.  The only words I still remember went something like, "It's raining/Morning to night it's the same thing/Falling on my window pane."

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