A number of years ago, I began creating the holiday play list, variously known as “Don’t Touch that Dial,” the “Too Cool for Yule” blog, and more simply, the Director’s Playlist.
It’s a collection of seasonal tunes that I look forward to assembling each year, right around the time holiday music earwigs begin their assault on the senses. From schlock (hopefully not too much of that) to rock, over the years we have managed to amass quite an eclectic set of “mix tapes,” and this year is no exception.
Before you start clicking and singing along, however, a couple of explanatory notes (pun intended) are in order:
In August, the magnificent voice of the Queen of Soul was silenced. Like many in my age cohort, Aretha Franklin’s music was a soundtrack to my life. Represented here by a swinging “Blue Holiday” from her second album, it’s a brilliant reminder that ‘Retha was as deft with the keyboard as she was with her vocal chops.
Paul Simon and Joan Baez launched Farewell Tours (NB: sorta kinda, Baez is briefly rebooting in April) and are represented by “Getting Ready for Christmas Day” and “Amazing Grace,” respectively.
I’ve closed the list with two “secular” selections. While libraries were not exactly what Bob Dylan had in mind when he penned the classic, “Shelter from the Storm,” we are indeed that for many in our community - an inclusive and safe place for knowledge, for belonging and for comfort.
And finally, 2018 was the centenary of American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein’s birth and I have chosen to give him the last “word.” Jazz pianist Bill Evans’s emotional rendering of Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” from the buoyant “On the Town” is a pitch perfect ballad for this time of year, when we recall where we’ve been and anticipate where we are going if we have the luxury of time.
“Where has the time all gone to
Haven't done half the things we want to
Oh well, we'll catch up some other time”
Whether you eat Chinese food and see a movie on Christmas Day, attend church, binge on Netflix, curl up with a good book or board game you borrowed from the library, or sit quietly with your thoughts, all of us at Arlington Public Library wish you and yours the very best.
I tend to think I’ve heard them all (and I dig for new ones each year), but I want to thank you for introducing me to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Blue Holiday’ and Lionel Hampton’s ‘Swingle Jingle’. I tend to go for the jazzy retro sounds this time of year and I appreciate the new additions. Thank you & Happy Holidays!
You’re very welcome. We try to keep it fresh and I do search for hidden gems. Thanks for listening.