It’s that time of year again, when we deal with Christmas leftovers. It occurred to me this year that a solo woman can’t sing Let It Snow. No evolution of gender relations has yet changed the fact that these Sammy Cahn lines:
When we finally kiss goodnight
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm
evoke an image of a man traveling home from his lady friend’s place through the cold. If a female’s traveling through the snow, alone, well, it’s too pitiful to think about. On the other hand, in Frank Loesser’s Baby It’s Cold Outside, the Wolf (as he’s called in the sheet music) is using the weather as an excuse to get the Mouse (as she’s called in the sheet music) to stay. “No cabs to be had out there” indeed! Loesser, my favorite songwriter, wrote that duet for him and his wife to perform at parties, later stuck it in a film and won an Oscar for it. Having to do with cold (I guess – I really think it has to do with something else), it gets played at Christmastime. But not as frequently as his What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? That would frost him. The whole idea behind the song was to do a joke about love at first sight. A pair of characters meet in the springtime, and the guy instantly asks the gal what she’s doing New Year’s Eve, sure their romance will still be running hot on December 31. If you sing the song in December, that idea goes unexpressed, and the song’s no longer funny. Loesser did write a haunting carol, Greenwillow Christmas, but no one ever plays that (besides me). I’ve even heard one of his most famous songs, If I Were a Bell, on a Christmas album, just because of the mention of bells. If you’re going to do that, you might as well throw in Maltby & Shire’s I Hear Bells Of musical theatre writers working today, Maltby & Shire are my favorites. I hope the other writers reading this aren’t disappointed. It would, of course, be a desecration to play their I Don’t Remember Christmas around the holidays. It’s the angriest song I know. But speaking of desecrations, in rehearsing an appearance at the Bulgarian Embassy, my singer friend found this verse of God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen:
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface
Oh really… (let me look this up) … Author Unknown? Is that what you think those who don’t celebrate Christmas are doing on December 25? Hindis wake up that morning, see the big red 25 on their calendar and set about defacing Christmas? I’m outraged. I told the singer she should yell out “I’m looking at you, Bhuddists!” before “tidings of comfort and joy.” That Author Unknown guy really riles me. I wrote my first Christmas carol when I was 12, give or take a year, setting what’s called the Carol of the Field Mice from The Wind in the Willows. And my latest, Christmas In O’Hare was the subject of a previous post. My recording was part of an on-line holiday concert at the Citizen of the Month blog. Another entry in that was a video scrapbook that moved me greatly.