The Greatness of Fairytale of New York

If you celebrate Christmas like me, and you haven’t even started to think about buying your first gift, worry not. You are not alone! Year after year, I let the pre-Christmas stress build like a killer Nor’easter. Not quite sure why I torture myself every year. I guess I know no other way.

But as stressful as this season can be, there’s always the music to take the edge off a little. Topping the list for me, year after year, is the Pogues classic “Fairytale of New York”. Nothing tells me it’s Christmas time like the beautiful, poetic snarl of Shane MacGowan and the sweet voice of the late Kirsty MacColl. It’s Christmas in the drunk tank, bee-otch.

The Pogues Fairytale of New York (mp3) – from If I Should Fall from Grace with God

Here’s another great live version of the tune from Irish legend Christy Moore.

Christy MooreFairytale of New York (mp3) – Official Site

Check out the video, circa 1987, with Matt Dillon appearing as the cop who escorts Mr. MacGowan to the slammer.

Ho Ho Ho it’s a Holiday Show! … The Boss & Friends

Between 2000 and 2004, Bruce gathered up his crew and played a series of holiday benefit shows in Asbury Park. Bruce, his buddies from the E Street Band, the Max Weinberg 7, Southside Johnny, Bobby Bandiera and others have all come together to raise money for local charities.

There have been some gems, and this is clearly one of them. There’s an intimate and cozy feel to the gig, as Bruce and his buddies rock out the small Convention Hall in Asbury Park.

Some random thoughts about this show:

  • “Lucky Town” sounds fresh and alive with a full horn section.
  • An amazing “E Street Shuffle”! Listen as Bruce teases the crowd beforehand: “Shhh! We gotta tune up.” Then… magic ensues.
  • Listen, Patti is a very talented musician and singer. But when she sings with her heavy vibrato, I always picture someone behind her shaking her by the shoulders.
  • “Blue Christmas” leans more toward Hank Williams than Elvis.
  • “My City of Ruins” makes its live debut. Many don’t know that the song was written pre-9/11 – dedicated to Asbury Park.
  • It doesn’t get much better than this.

Here are the charities & organizations mentioned by Bruce during the show.

The Epiphany – Epiphany House is committed to promoting recovery and self-sufficiency for chemically dependent women with children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The – Their mission is to be of personal service to those in the community affected by HIV disease. Both those actually living with the virus, as well as their family, friends, and caregivers.
Save Tillie – – – An all volunteer organization comprised of 1,000 friends of Asbury Park. Founded in July of 1998, their original goal of saving the Palace’s iconic Tillie image expanded in 1999 to an attempt to save the entire Palace.
Asbury Park Chamber of


Bruce Springsteen, The Max Weinberg 7 & Friends
December 17, 2000
Convention Hall
Asbury Park, New Jersey

Jingle Bells
For You
Blue Christmas
Run Run Rudolph (Jimmy Vivino, vocals)
Lucky Town
The E Street Shuffle/Move On Up
Kitty’s Back
Rose (Patti Scialfa, vocals)
As Long As I Can Be With You (Patti Scialfa, vocals)
This Time It’s For Real (Southside Johnny, vocals)
Good Is Gone (Southside Johnny, vocals)
All I Needed Was You (Southside Johnny, vocals)

Shine Silently (Nils Lofgren, vocals)
Merry Christmas Baby
So Young And In Love
Roll Of The Dice
Bobby Jean
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
My City Of Ruins
I Don’t Wanna Go Home (Southside Johnny, vocals)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town


BUY: Magic (Springsteen) | The Best of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes | Play It as It Lays (Patti Scialfa) | The Max Weinberg 7 | Ultimate Collection (Nils Lofgren)

A Temptations Christmas


I watched my 3 year old watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tonight for the very first time. I was thrown into a time machine and got a bit nostalgic along the way. So suffice it to say that the Christmas spirit grabbed a hold of me tonight.

I played this for my daughters before they went off to bed…

The Temptations: Silent Night (mp3) – from The Best of the Temptations Christmas

For some additional Christmas music post action…

Update: Wanna hear the Boss sing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” from an ALS benefit show last Saturday night?

Christmas with Cockburn

[See this 2008 post for the show.]

Since we’re on the final stretch to Christmas, I thought I would sneak out a few of my essential tunes courtesy of my favorite Canadian, Bruce Cockburn. In 1994, the Columbia Records Radio Hour broadcast Christmas with Cockburn, which featured Bruce with special guest Nancy Griffith. I had my cassette deck locked and loaded.

These are the songs that make me forget about the almighty dollar and the overall stress of the holidays, and actually get me into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas with Cockburn:

Deer Dancing on a Broken Mirror
I’m Gonna Fly Someday
One Day I Walk / Intro to Huron Carol
Huron Carol
Mary Had a Baby

This isn’t available anywhere, but you can buy Bruce’s Christmas album, or any other of his excellent albums spanning more than 30 years.

Christmas at IckMusic

Here’s my first batch of extra special Christmas music selections to carry you through this holiday season.

Hands down my favorite Christmas song and my favorite performance of the song:

  • The Temptations: Silent Night (mp3) – buy

A twisted instant Christmas classic from Grandaddy:

  • Grandaddy: Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderlandbuy

A cool radio excerpt of Coldplay:

  • Coldplay: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (mp3) – buy

Happy Merry Christmas Funtime

For a light-hearted approach to Christmas music, we have to return to Grandaddy, with their Christmas classic, Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland. Here’s an excerpt:

in the meadow we can build a snowman
and pretend that he is Alan Parsons
he’ll say have you listened to my new band
we’ll say no but we really like that one song
it goes ‘time keeps flowing like a river’

This song was part of a 2000 Christmas compilation released only in the UK: It’s a Cool Cool Christmas.
Man I love these guys.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. to everybody!