Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Gordon Robinson | Checking it twice

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM

'Tis the season to be jolly, or so I'm told.

So, this week, we'll avoid hot political topics like PNP's masochistic cutting off its nose to spite its face by indicting an MP for not supporting councillors who publicly and crudely undermined her for two years. Apparently, the old guard plans to live forever, because it's casting off the party's future like ballast.

But we're not going there today. Instead, it's time for another Top Ten list. Let's look at the Top Ten Christmas songs of all time:

10. Twelve Days of Christmas by Frank Kelly

Nope, this isn't the classic version dripping in sentimental fantasy. This is a humorous look at what happens in real life if these 12 gifts actually arrived. Frank Kelly (born Francis O'Kelly on December 28, 1938, and died three days after Jamaica's latest general election) was an Irish comic with a very Irish sense of humour. In the song, he plays the subject of these love gifts, a simple Irish countryman still living with his mother named Gobnait O'Lunasa. His daily 'thank you' letters describing the alarming consequences of these deliveries are hilarious.

9. Mek the Christmas Ketch You in a Good Mood by

Home T-4

A first big hit for this under-rated group that included songwriter Mikey Bennett (whose writing credits include Shabba's House Call and Mr Loverman), Winston 'Diego' Tucker, Leroy Palmer and bandleader Orville 'Bagga' Case. The song captures the Jamaican family Christmas spirit and its catchy melody ensures full dance floors wherever it's played. The group still exists today (as 'Home T'), but hasn't had the success it deserves.

A little-known fact about Home T-4: Their first manager was businessman Edgar Smith, a past student of York Castle High, whose nickname at that venerable institution was 'Patty-Gut'. You can guess why.

 

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

 

8. This Christmas by Donny Hathaway

Written by Hathaway and Nadine McKinnon (1970) when 'African-Americans' were not known for penning Christmas songs, this beautiful melody captures the traditions of an American Christmas perfectly. Hathaway, one of the finest craftsmen in songwriting history, who also enjoyed a close relationship with Roberta Flack, died tragically in 1979.

7. Irie Christmas by Fab 5

A hilarious Jamaican adaptation of American songbook standard The Christmas Song that opens, "Breadfruit roasting on an open fire" and continues in that vein. Very cleverly put together. Original writing credit belongs to Yellowman, but this Fab 5 version is renamed and further adapted by Jean Wilson. Superb!

6. Every Year, Every Christmas by Luther Van Dross

For me, Luther is the best pure singer of his generation and this song (from the 1995 album This is Christmas) is proof positive. Released in 1995, written by Luther and Richard Marx, it drips with emotion and captures perfectly the necessity of loved ones being together at Christmas.

5. White Christmas by Bing Crosby

Jamaican political correctness be damned! This is a fantastic song, recorded by the greatest of all Christmas song singers, that remains the best-selling single of all time despite being released in 1942.

4. Adeste Fidelis (O Come all ye Faithful) by Bing Crosby

My father's favourite Christmas song, which he sang in Latin from top to bottom - a feat I can still repeat. A happy Christ-centric song about hope is perfectly interpreted by King Bing.

3. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

This is a flawless rendition of a beloved, brilliantly written song (Mel Torme/Bob Wells) by popular music's best male voice that's as relevant today as when it was penned in 1945.

2. Happy Christmas/War is Over by John Lennon/Yoko Ono

Probably the best written Christmas song ever from the pen of maestro John Lennon explaining the true purpose of the Christ's coming was to end conflict and bring peace and love to all.

THE NUMBER ONE CHRISTMAS SONG OF ALL TIME IS:

1. Silent Night by Bing Crosby

The quintessential Christmas carol composed in 1818 in Austria by Franz Xaver Gruber (lyrics by Joseph Mohr). Although every imaginable artiste has recorded this song, once again, the essential Christmas singer, Bing Crosby's version is the third best seller of all time. More recently, Sinead O'Connor nailed a jazzed-up version that works. In 2011, UNESCO declared Silent Night an intangible cultural heritage.

But, most important, The Old Ball and Chain's eldest, the Computer Whiz, was specially invited at age nine to sing this song at Sts Peter and Paul's Midnight Mass. Old BC vetoed it, saying he would be staying up too late.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.