Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Remembering Auburn then, now, and Dylan singing "Here Comes Santa Claus"

Saturday was a good day.

Auburn University won a football game -- after a three-week losing skid of twilight zone proportion -- and my copies of Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart came in the mail.

Auburn won, again.

The good Auburn University football team showed up for Saturday’s game, and we won. The confused, dispirited Auburn team of the three-game-losing streak was replaced by the prepared, determined Tigers who made the Ole Miss game as exciting as any this season.

I think of Auburn, too, after viewing a Facebook photo album by fellow Auburn Plainsman alumni and photographer Gordon Bugg, who has worked as an engineer and soldier since then. His pictures of Auburn in the late 1970s, when we were there and publishing the student newspaper each week, ignited memories and reminded us how much the campus (and we) have changed since then. One of my favorites from his “Auburn evolving” photo album, is this shot of Auburn's War Eagle, from 1977.

Must be Dylan singing Christmas carols

My two copies of Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart arrived Saturday. I’ve listen to all the selections once, and a few twice. As a Dylan fan, I know I’ll like the CD even more with subsequent listens.

But what’s so cool about this Christmas album from the coolest of the cool singer-songwriters and American legends is that he really means it.

First, all the proceeds from the sale of Christmas in the Heart go to Feeding America. Overseas sales will go to similar charities which feed the needy. This guarantees that more than four million meals will be provided to more than 1.4 million people in need in this country during this year's holiday season; plus the Feeding America and the international charities benefiting from the album receive all future royalties, in perpetuity.

Secondly, Dylan sings holiday standards with enthusiasm and, well, heart.

The whole deal is like a gift, really. Dylan's gravelly, wise and time-worn voice is wrapped in his precise arrangements of well-known Christmas songs and packaged with his always-on-the-mark band members and studio musicians and “mixed voice” back-up singers.

America’s best songwriter didn’t write any of the tunes, even though he’s written albums full of Christian songs. But, he put his masterful talent to arranging popular standards and traditional hymns like The First Noel and O Little Town of Bethlehem .

Christmas in the Heart is a treat for folks who love holiday music, Dylan fans, and, I suspect, most others who bother to listen. For needy people in our country and abroad, Christmas in the Heart is what it's name implies. And it is a concrete, WWJD act of Christmas kindness.

Early favorites from  my early listening are Here Comes Santa Claus, Little Drummer Boy, and Must Be Santa (a fun sing-along and what could be the only polka-beat song from Dylan).

I say I got two copies of Christmas in the Heart. One is mine, and it is already being enjoyed, even as I pack away the electronic flying bat and rake into the trash what’s left of our shrinking carved pumpkin.

Christmas in the Heart will be the soundtrack for my Christmas 2009, and if people will take a listen, and remember the reason for the season, it will become a Christmas music standard.
As for my other copy, it will be one of our presents for the family Dirty Santa present swap at my husband’s mother’s house, where we draw numbers and gleefully fight over gifts, some good, some not so good. I hope whoever gets Christmas in the Heart doesn’t get it snatched in Dirty Santa before they can listen to it, and listen to it again, and appreciate the effort and intent of my musical hero’s holiday gift to us all.

Interested in Christmas in the Heart or ordering a copy? Go to http://www.bobdylan.com/#/news

Song of the day: Gotta Serve Somebody, Bob Dylan

1 comment:

  1. This is a test of how to comment, a comment from me. Great post!