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A rock nyc Christmas Playlist # 11 – Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” Reviewed

If Phil Spector is the top in class for secular Christmassing – Spector and Berlin have this in common, both are people of the Jewish faith embalming Christmas for the gentiles, Presley is the definition of the second best on the stupendous Elvis’ Christmas Album. Three of the best songs of the season are found there and more. You will find the third in a coupla days, but before that, this was a toss up between the sultry blues of “Merry Christmas, Baby” -a song so sexy there should be a law against it, and the blue mood sadness of the song I chose, “Blue Christmas”. “Blue Christmas” was first recorded in 1948 and was already a country perennial hitting big time by the great Ernest Tubb.

Twang, twang, yodel, yodel, Ernest version is a ton of fun, but it wouldn’t have appealed much to Presley’s fanbase in 1957, Presley surgically removes the twang, and turns it into a brooding pop ballad and Elvis himself becomes a sultry, almost as if he was a woman singing it to a man, it is all heavy breathing come on smoothed out for the censors. Presley glides through the song in a lovely blue mood until the end when he breaks (not his voice, of course), and speeds the tempo a touch before falling out of the song in loneliness and misery. Alone on Christmas, a different shade of blue than “Merry Christmas, Baby”. What more can we ask for in 2020?

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