Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Tambourine Man's Christmas

You're inside the bar scene in the old film: "It's a Wonderful Life," that part where Jimmy Stewart is drinking himself into Christmas oblivion cause Uncle Charley lost the deposit money and Scrooge (Mr. Potter) is foreclosing on the family bank. Next stop for Jimmy...jumping off the bridge. Merry Christmas! Through the bar window, outside on the frozen snow bank - lit in a shadow of faded red neon is an old man...a wastrel...a fallen away choir-boy with the terminal shakes; the town drunk. The old man is singing "Adeste Fideles" from a tattered choir book. The bar goes silent; not a dry eye in the house. Every drunk in town remembers a Christmas past when Ma was still alive and it was all mulled wine, roast goose and hot mince pie. Then the old man sings: "Here Comes Santa Claus," and everybody cheers. Much slapping of backs and toasts to a new year. Maybe Jimmy won't jump off the bridge and Tiny Tim will be cured of polio. Maybe everything rotten in the world will turn to gold. Maybe there will TRULLY be Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men...if only for the few moments it takes to drink another holiday round. Now the old man is invited in for a pint of hot rum and they lift him up on a bar stool and he sings: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...." His voice is half-gone; his pitch is a little shaky; but his heart is true. He is the voice of Father Christmas. He is the shattered remnant of every besotted Uncle and third cousin who ever sang too soused and loud at Midnight mass...he is an outcast from a Dickens novel...and he's my father circa 1956. In reality that's Bob Dylan on his new Christmas album: "Christmas in the Heart." You can have your Sting and his poetic evocations of a Winter Solstice (whatever that is - means nothing to an American)...you can shove all your negative reviews concerning every wierd and exotic new curve Dylan has gone down in his incredible journey...you can boo like they used to do back in the sixties when he strapped on the Stratocaster...and go ahead a listen to the Norma Luboff Choir. This is Bob Dylan backed by what sounds like the Andrews sisters...it works as well as Egg Nog and 100 proof rum and those nay-sayers and Scrooges can laugh...but I dig it and the money goes to feed some homeless folk. True Christmas spirit...Heh, Mr. Tambourine Man...sing a song for me, I'm not sleepy and there ain't no place I'm going to......" On Dasher, On Dancer, on Prancer....

9 comments:

GermantownonFifth said...

Bravo!!!!

Superannuated Man said...

You have captured perfectly the spirit of a great, underrated album.
Happy Christmas from Ireland.

westofthewest said...

Merry Christmas buckarooo and thanks.

President_dudley said...

In Defence of Cith:

}
Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe for good at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!
{

Pray for Peace people Everywhere
dudley

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Charlene said...

1Thank you Mr. Russell for your view of Mr. Dylan's Christmas CD. I went and bought three copies for two friends who would agree with you and myself. My kids and I have listened to it at least ten times while driving around trying to get everything done in time. We love it!!

Merry Christmas!!

Trevor said...

ecTom, I'm looking at the concert dates on your website. I see three dates in Calgary but no Vancouver show. I know that last time you played here you were in an old church amongst a seated crowd of octogenarians, but we need you to come back. Preferably to a venue that serves whiskey, not the warm beer and wine of St. James Hall. I desperately hope to see a Vancouver date added to that list. Thank you for Blood and Candle Smoke, it is beautiful.

another ragamuffin along the way said...

thank you for your thoughts. i happen to agree with you. somehow its fitting for us to have a bob dylan christmas album at this time on this planet. it's something we need during these crazy times. and i think the title tells it true: Christmas from the heart. Merry Christmas to you!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tom,
Happy Yuletide, I am enjoying the tunes right now, I love the slant.
Cheers,
Robb