Saturday, December 22, 2007

Guestfolk: I'll Be Folk For Christmas
Songs from Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials

Hello folk fans! Kurtis from Covering the Mouse here, for one more guest post before the end of 2007! This time, I'm taking a break from Disney but sticking with a cartoon theme. Folk covers of cartoon Christmas songs!

One of my favourite parts of the holiday season are the Christmas television specials. I love them. A Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Garfield Christmas, A He-Man/She-Ra Christmas Special, I love them all!

Pioneering the Christmas special tradition was a small animation company called Rankin/Bass who specialized in stop-motion animation. I will be focusing on these specials today.


  • Raffi, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    Rankin/Bass' first Christmas special was an adaptation of the famous Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1964. Originally by Johnny Marks, this cover is by the famous Canadian children's folk singer, Raffi.



  • Johnny Cash, Little Drummer Boy
    In 1968, Rankin/Bass produced their second stop-motion animated Christmas special, this time based on the popular song, Little Drummer Boy, which was originally written by Katherine K. Davis and popularized by the Vienna Boys Choir. More recently, David Bowie and Bing Crosby sang a duet that has become a Christmas standard. This cover of the song by Johnny Cash actually came out in 1959, a decade before the TV special.



  • Fiona Apple, Frosty the Snowman
    The last special I will be covering today is Frosty the Snowman. The song was written for Gene Autry after he recorded a version of Rudolph that sold millions. In 1969, Rankin/Bass created a new story around Frosty that tied him into the Christmas holiday. The unique thing about this special is that it is done in the traditional cel animated style instead of stop-motion animation. This version comes from 2005 alt-rock compilation Christmas Calling.


Today's bonus coversongs:

Along with cartoons, I'm also a big fan of the Muppets! Here are a few tracks from the Christmas album they did with Folk legend John Denver!


[Looking for more last-minute holiday coverfolk? Click here for the full run of Cover Lay Down holiday posts, including multiple covers of Joni Mitchell's River, some non-denominational wintersongs just right for solstice, and a full set of Christmas songs penned by Jewish songwriters!]

16 comments:

boyhowdy said...

My wife notes that those final Muppets songs are actually from yet another holiday special, which is sadly unavailable in any form. If anyone has a copy, though, it's all she's ever wanted for Christmas.

Thanks to Kurtis for guesting!

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