Artist- The Ventures
Today’s Christmas Soundtrack is going to be a brief one because some of that hustle and bustle of the Christmas season thatht I have written about already is catching up with me. But I made the commitment to do one of these posts a day until Christmas Eve so here is a quick thought. Like a lot of people, when I was growing up, my family always did some form of Christmas decorations on the outside of our home. Growing up the only thing you could really do were wreaths, garlands and lights, or some combination of them, which is what we always did. Sure people had their own approach and style. You might wrap lights around a tree, or the lamp post or the rails going up the steps. Gradually over time that morphed into plastic blow-mold sculptures, lit reindeer, inflatable lawn ornaments and multitudes of different kinds of lights on the surrounding homes. That seems to be the norm these days as you travel around. My own personal choice is for something simpler and more restrained, such as candles in the windows, lights tastefully wrapped around posts, a wreath with a simple red bow instead of the full on explosion of lights and decorations occupying every inch of space on the lawn and with enough electricity being used to power a small city. Recently I have begun to think that there may be an argument for both options. And today’s song is a reminder of that.
The Ventures are revered in rock music circles for early flashes of virtuosity, not to mention experimentation with guitar effects. Many guitarists have cited their influence over the years and with over 100 million records sold, they certainly earned their place in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with hits like Walk, Don’t Run and the theme to Hawaii Five-O. Not bad for a group that only does instrumentals. Many years ago I picked up their 1965 recording, The Ventures Christmas Album. Now for some reason this has been a gem of an album only for me. My wife and my family all show disdain for it, while I happily find it to be one of the cheeriest Christmas albums I own. The reason I enjoy it is for one simple word-fun. Their version of Blue Christmas in the clip below stretches out the melody ever so slightly making it vastly different from Elvis Presley’s version. Nothing overtly complex to it. This is just a fun Christmas album. No carols, nothing serious, just fun. Which makes me think of those massive light displays, as compared to more sedate and classic looking ones. Christmas is supposed to be fun in many ways. It does celebrate something very meaningful of course, but let’s be honest and admit that we like to have fun this time of year too. So if your idea of fun is decorating your house so it can be seen from outer space with the amount of lights, so be it. One way I choose to have some fun this time of year myself is by putting The Ventures Christmas Album on and enjoying a little West Coast guitar playing. No matter how you decorate your home or the music you listen to this time of year, I hope you are having lots of fun doing it!
Blue Christmas-Written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson
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