Some time every Christmas the eight of us (Statlers and wives), get together and eat dinner and reminisice. This year it was at Boxley Farm, Harold and Brenda’s home here in Staunton. (The only 85-acre farm inside the city limits and believe me, he’s not a farmer. He likes to ride around on his tractor and pretend, but the only callouses he has are from the tractor seat.) Brenda cooked as only she can and we all ate and laughed and caught up on what was happening with all the individual families .
Harold, Jimmy, Nina, Debbie, Don. Seated – Brenda, Wilma, Phil
The highlight each year is the four of us gathering around the piano again and singing a a few Christmas songs. I played the piano and Jimmy played the acoustic guitar and we sang. It didn’t come easy as the only singing Harold and I do anymore is standing in the pews on Sunday mornings. Phil continues to sing in the choir each week, so he keeps in pretty good vocal shape.
“Silent Night”, “Away In A Manger”, “White Christmas”. And then someone always gets frisky and says let’s do “Hide Thou Me”. (Usually Harold). This is an old song from our last studio album in 2002 titled AMEN. It has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it when I was about 12 years old. It’s among my top most-loved songs of all time so my heart won’t let me refuse to sing it even though my voice may not be up to it.
When we finished the singing, and stopped laughing at the memories, we headed back to the kitchen for more dessert. One of the girls said, “Think of all the people who would like to have been listening through a window tonight to hear you guys singing again.” And it was then that Debbie fessed up she had recorded it all on her cellphone. (Modern technology will be the death of me yet.)
But I tell you all this to tell you all this; It has been a beautiful Christmas season for us and I certainly hope it has been for you. And I hope 2012 will be the wonderful year each of you desire. God bless you greatly and Happy New Year!
DSR – December 27, 2011
I hear folks complaining all the time that radio plays Christmas music too soon. Some stations start a day or two before Christmas day; others start the day after Thanksgiving. I know of at least one that started a week before Thanksgiving. It’s really as much a matter of taste as when you want to hear it as it is what you want to hear. Even in our household of two, there’s a division on who plays what.
I tend to favor the classics. As corny as it is, I can listen to Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” a hundred times per season (and that’s probably a low count). I have two favorite CDs I keep in my car that have been there for years:
# 1 -BILLBOARD- GREATEST CHRISTMAS HITS 1935-1954
Here I get Gene Autry’s original “Rudolph”; “Santa Baby” as it was first sung by Eartha Kitt; and the oft- misnamed “The Christmas Song” by Nat “King” Cole. (The correct title is not “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.)
#2 – BILLBOARD- GREATEST CHRISTMAS HITS 1955-PRESENT
Here’s “White Christmas” again but this time by The Drifters like you’ve never heard it before. Classic! And then my good pal and little sweetheart, Brenda Lee singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”; and, of course, “Blue Christmas” by Elvis and the Jordanaires. (That’s them doing the ooh-oohs like only they could do. Gordon Stoker has more untold stories in his head than anyone in show business.)
And then over in Debbie’s car, where I seldom ride for more reasons than just the music she plays, you can hear her favorite seasonal CD: DION – ROCK N’ ROLL CHRISTMAS
You know what? Even I have to admit there is something magical about his SILENT NIGHT.
So what do we play in the house where we both have to listen? Well, every once in a while, but not as often as you many think, you might hear one of the two STATLER Christmas albums; “Christmas Card” and “Christmas Present”. (I think the only one still available is the first one now titled “Best of the 20th Century” – see STATLER website.) And the number one CD we both agree on is the one playing in my office right this minute as I type this and is also playing downstairs in the kitchen where she’s making Chex-Mix. “CHRISTMAS GUITARS” by WILSON/FAIRCHILD. And this is not a plug because one is my son and one is my nephew. This is the truth because it is simply some of the best music you will ever relax to or ever reminisce to. Two fantastic musicians playing Christmas carols on acoustic guitars and setting a mood that makes you want to light the tree and read the Christmas story. If you’re looking for something to get yourself for Christmas, this is it. It’s sweet, beautiful and peaceful. Just like the whole season should be.
God bless Langdon and Wil for keeping it true and simple.
THE MULLIGANS OF MT. JEFFERSON – RELEASE DATE JANUARY 1, 2012