the state of things

 

The Bob Who Stole Christmas

by Douglas Lindsay - 16:07 on 17 September 2009

 

Hot on the heels of his number one album Together Through Life, Bob Dylan is releasing an album of Christmas standards this festive season. Not unlike mince pies in the supermarkets and Christmas cards in the charity shops, Bob’s Christmas cheer will be with us some time in advance. From early October in fact.

 

Click here to listen to short extracts from each song. [Update: Sadly Amazon must have twigged that letting people hear what's coming was never going to help sales, so they've removed the samples. Humbug!] It’s all there, from Winter Wonderland to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, from O! Come All Ye Faithful to the utterly execrable I’ll Be Home For Christmas, everyone’s least favourite Death Row serial killer ballad.

 

Now there’s an argument that goes that Bob Dylan has done enough in his life to be allowed a little leeway. He’s produced so many masterful recordings, that now he can do what he likes. There’s another argument that says that people can damn well do what they like anyway, and you don’t have to have been Bob Dylan, and you don’t have to have been successful. It’s a free world. If you want to record a Christmas album, and you can get someone to release it for you, Hell, on you go. (Just don’t include the melancholic, miserable I’ll Be Home For Bloody Christmas.)

 

Then there’s the argument that says, uh-oh! There aren’t Sleigh Bells, there are Warning Bells. Bob’s voice may be magnificent, but it’s shot, and while he can write for his own voice, he can’t sing songs written for Bing Crosby and Perry Como. There’s potential for this to be the most excruciating Christmas music since Black Sabbath recorded O Little Town of Bethlehem.

 

Still, one can only take so much Bing Crosby in a life, and any sensible man would rather listen to Bob than Mariah Carey. I was telling the kids about it, trying to get them excited - or rather, giving them fair warning of what was to come - and said that it would be out in early October so they’d have it on for two and a half months. ‘No, not two and a half months,’ said Two of Two. ‘The rest of our lives...’

 

Sharp as a tack.

 


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