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Harris Blackwood: High and low notes of Christmas carols
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I asked my friends on social media to weigh-in this week on Christmas carols and songs.

The favorites are wide ranging, but one of the most universally disliked Christmas songs is that painful, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

It was recorded by the dynamic duo of Elmo and Patsy. I don’t know of another song they recorded, thank God. My search has yet to find me another person who has recorded a cover of their one hit.

In my quest for good and bad Christmas fare, I learned of a song I had somehow missed: “Santa Go Straight To The Ghetto” by James Brown. The Godfather of Soul had some great songs, but this was not one of them. If record stores still existed and this was the last record on the shelf, I would not buy it. It includes several of those guttural utterances only James Brown could make.

Sadly, James left us 10 years ago on Christmas Day. I hope he wasn’t singing this one as he departed.

As to songs people like, one is “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” which has an Appalachian feel.

A man named R. Fisher Boyce wrote it in a Tennessee dairy barn. There is something to be said about a song written in a milking parlor.

The song was around for a little while before it was first published in 1940. Some folks like the twangy sound of The Stanley Brothers, while others expressed a fondness of a recording by Naomi and Wynona Judd.

A strong case was made for some of the more traditional carols, such as “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night.”

There is something to the story about the organ being broken and the first singing of “Silent Night” made with only the accompaniment of a guitar. I favor the version by the great Bing Crosby, which is the third best-selling recording of all time.

My favorite Christmas song is “White Christmas” as sung by Crosby, as well.

Some folks like the Mark Lowry song, “Mary, Did You Know?” But there are many who dislike it for the number of people who think they can sing it well and don’t.

A lot of folks give a thumbs down to “Frosty the Snowman,” down to “Frosty the Snowman,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “Santa Baby.”

I turn off the radio if they play that horrible “Christmas Shoes.” That song reached No. 1 for one week on the pop charts about 15 years ago. Whoever votes on such things had a temporary loss of mind.

I also get a bit of heartburn when I hear contemporary artists, both pop and Christian, do some kind of rewrite on a traditional Christmas favorite.

I heard some guy singing the last verse of “Silent Night” and when he came to the Lord’s name he made it about a five-syllable mish-mash that came out “Cry-yi-yi-yi-st.” If you need more than two notes to sing “Christ,” you may need some outside help.

Whether your favorite song is about trampling reindeer or beautiful angels, sing them to your heart’s content this Christmas season.

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