Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gee Whiz ... It's Christmas (Again!), Part 7

I've been sharing some thoughts about the various tracks on my most recent holiday CD Gee Whiz ... It's Christmas (Again!), and we'll continue today with Tracks 26 through 30:

Track 30
Christmas Lost And Found (Part 7), from Davey and Goliath (1960)

Track 29
Hardrock, Coco and Joe, by The Three Little Dwarfs (1955)
This is another tune that’s been on my consideration list for the past several CDs until, this year, it finally seemed to fit. One of these days I’ll write about how I put these compilations together, but for now I’ll simply say that the process is very fluid and unstructured and I often find myself replacing one of my favorite songs with one I don’t like as well because the second result felt better. Of course, there’s no single objective scale by which to measure the various tracks I review. They represent so many different categories. How does one compare this funny little number by the Three Dwarfs to the Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight” (Track No. 43 on this year’s CD) or “Christmas 1923” by Future Clouds and Radar (the penultimate track on last year’s CD, listen HERE)? “Hardrock, Coco and Joe” is the scratchy soundtrack to a dated cartoon that can inevitably brighten my mood because of how awful it is, whereas I’m incapable of listening to either of the other two without choking up completely. (Please don’t mention that to anyone, as it’s a little embarrassing.) Anyway, I’m glad the Three Little Dwarfs made it onto this year’s CD, and kudos to Santa for his inspired business decision regarding Joe. According to the song, both Hardrock and Coco have important job duties to perform each Christmas, whereas Joe's original duties are no longer relevant. “Though ol' Santa really has no use for Joe, he keeps him ‘cuz he loves him so.” Sounds like reason enough to me. (For more info on this song, see HERE. To watch the cartoon version and hear alternate versions by Gene Autry and others, see HERE.)  

Track 28
Christmas Lost And Found (Part 6), from Davey and Goliath (1960)

Track 27
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Miss Gloria Parker (1980)
After a quick listen, most folks would probably say that this is a nice, upbeat version of a classic holiday song, which is correct, of course, as far as it goes. What isn’t immediately apparent, or wasn’t to me, anyway, is that it was played not with conventional musical instruments, but with a set of partially filled drinking glasses. It's available on A Toast to Christmas, an album recorded by former radio bandleader Miss Gloria Parker (the “Miss” is used at her insistence).  According to her website,
The versatile virtuoso performs on 28 glasses and fourteen well-loved carols come to life for listening, singing , dancing and giving much joy. This toast to Christmas demonstrates Miss Parker's amazing ability to produce ethereal flute like sounds on crystal glasses.

Miss Gloria Parker
Miss Parker and her “singing glasses” were featured in Woody Allen’s 1984 movie Broadway Danny Rose. She plays the glasses by rubbing their rims after arranging them with various amounts of water so that that each glass emotes a unique flute-like sound. She learned the technique from her grandfather, a Czech native, but this same sort of music has been performed in many lands and was apparently played in this country by none other than Benjamin Franklin.

Miss Parker’s repertoire is not limited to holiday entertainment. In her subtly titled album Corruption Reigns in the Courtroom, she takes on the American legal system, which she believes systematically benefits attorneys and judges at the expense of individual litigants.  As she explains on her website,

Yes, as a plaintiff, Pro Se, in several cases, seeking my rights that were stolen from me by those who had connections and who manipulate the laws, to serve their friends and compatriots. Unfortunately, the black robes that cover their sins on the bench, also gives one who wears it, Carte Blanche to play God. And yet, this is happening to many who go to court placing their trust in their lawyers, and the presiding judge, to seek a just solution to their case, and never to find it.

According to Miss Parker, she recorded this album and wrote the companion paperback to help others who have faced similar discouragement in court. 

I have been endowed with this musical talent and foresight as my vehicle, and after several of my law actions have been manipulated and also massacred at the hands of those addressed as "Your Honor", my songs and my lyrics and experiences, I hope, will help you all who have not had your day of justice, to know you are not alone.

Further information about Miss Parker, her albums and book are available on her website. In the spirit of the holidays, you can hear several more of her songs right now, if you wish, by clicking on one or more of the titles below:

Pro Se Si Si     Justice Has a Price     Toyland

Track 26
Who Is Santa Claus?, by The Santacroce Sisters (c. 1962)
This is another mysterious track about which I know practically nothing. I first heard it on Andy Cirzan’s 2006 holiday mix, and I think it’s been on my list for possible inclusion on one of my CDs for at least the past three years. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the Santacroce Sisters. There’s nothing about them on the internet, either in connection with this song or otherwise. But it's a cute little song, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for more, next time. 

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