What a year. We say that at the end of every year, right? But this year? What a year.
I won't bore you with the details of mine. They will either make you incredibly jealous or incredibly happy, depending on how you view despair, joy, loneliness, creativity, major life changes, foreign customs, and the endless vigilance needed to break old habits. Which, when you get to be my age, are the only habits you have. And while that doesn't necessarily make them old friends, it does make them boone companions. (That's not a typo--that's boone, as in Aaron Fucking.)
And it looks like the one companion we all share this Christmas, the one who's running the show wherever you look, is the grubby little brat whom the Ghost of Christmas Present warned us about: ignorance. His influence is everywhere. The country is being run by venal little Scrooges who will not listen to any ghost who doesn't pay them off, or whom they can't pay off to shut up. The North Pole is becoming a swimming pool. California is starring in an annual remake of The Burning Season. And we're maybe only a couple of years away from a category 6 hurricane. Joy to the world, he said sarcastically. But then he snorted a little harrumph and added, "And that's exactly what we need, joy. That's the best weapon we have. Along with love and laughter. And music."
As I said to a non-blood brother a couple of days ago, I almost didn't do a Xmas music compilation this year, because my heart wasn't in it, because that hard-to-shut-up negative voice in me kept saying "Nobody will care," and because all things come to an end, even traditions. (It's been that kind of year.) But at the end of last week I thought, "Okay, so your heart's not in it; but I bet it will be when you start doing it. And don't be stupid, there are people out there who care about this. And what the hell, why not do a compilation? You've got 15 years of music to choose from, and you've never repeated a track in all that time, so how about something that celebrates that, as well as the holiday?" And two seconds later a voice in my head added: "And given what a hell of a year this has been, make it all female singers."
So here it is. The only male voices show up on a couple of tracks as backup and harmony, or (on the Bonus Track) on the bridge (a traditional male preserve both nautically and musically).
The world is a dark place in the winter. Light it up whenever you can. Sing out loud as you walk down the street. Smile at a stranger. We're all in the same boat, even the snooty first-class passengers who would let the folks in steerage sink if they can't swim. They'd love to turn that boat into the Titanic; but we'll do our best to make it live up to its real name: the Constitution.
Haddy Grimble, everybody.
Jingle Belles - The 2017 Xmas Compilation
1 2000 Miles The Pretenders
2 Winter Song Sara Barielles and Ingrid Michaelson
3 Christmas Day Dido
4 River Joni Mitchell
5 Love is Christmas Sara Barielles
6 Rudy Be Good Tanyas
7 Ten Tubas The Professor and Mary Ann
8 The Heartache Can Wait Brandi Carlile
9 Silver Belles and Sweet Farewells Wendy Colonna
10 (I’m Always Touched by Your) Presents, Dear Syd Straw
11 Darling (Christmas Is Coming) Over The Rhine
12 Unwrap Me Saint Etienne
13 Up On The Housetop Reba McEntire
14 Rockin’ Little Christmas Carlene Carter
15 The Christmas Twist Syd Straw
16 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) Darlene Love
17 (Don’t Call Me) Mrs. Christmas Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler
18 Not Tonight Santa Girls Aloud19 Underneath The Tree Kelly Clarkson
20 I Did It For The Toys Dance Hall Crashers
21 Because I’m Santa The Dollyrots
22 Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me The Love-Me-Nots
23 Baby It’s Christmas Bananarama
24 Christmas In The City Elizabeth Chan
25 Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
26 Merry Christmas From the Family Jill Sobule
27 Christmas with Fat Aunt Bette Andrea Perry
28 Little Drummer Boy Joan Jett
29 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Amy Winehouse
30 I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus. The Dollyrots
31 Zombie Christmas Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler
32 Black Christmas Poly Styrene
33 Maybe This Christmas Leigh Nash
34 My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) Regina Spektor
35 Bonus Track