Friday Five: Bah Humbug

Ken Morton, Jr. | November 26th, 2010

“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not.
The Grinch hated Christmas — the whole Christmas season.
Oh, please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
But I think that the best reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

-Boris Karloff in the The Grinch That Stole Christmas

If you’re the type of individual that thinks of Black Friday as the first dark day of the holiday season, this double-wide edition of The 9513’s Friday Five is just for you. Perhaps your heart is just two sizes too small. Maybe you’re not into sending holiday cards off to people you barely know, planting a dead conifer in the middle of your living room, or the entire concept of giving Snuggies as gifts. You may even have secretly hoped that Ralphie had shot his eye out with his Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock.

Or perhaps you’re just a big country music fan–a genre where all too often, bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people too, but after all, it’s Christmas. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re not on the naughty list.

There were so many delicious, not-so-merry Christmas songs, we had to double the size of this week’s Friday Five to a Terrible Ten. Enjoy.

  • Christmas with Buck Owens & His Buckaroos10. “Christmas Ain’t Christmas Dear Without You” – Buck Owens

    Not only is Buck Owens blue because his loved one is gone, but he’s fallen to hallucinations as he’s talking to snowmen and they’re talking back. We should consider holding a room for this character at Parkview.

  • Rocky Mountain Christmas9. “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” – John Denver

    Alan Jackson recorded this decidedly country song more recently about a father whose drunken ways on Christmas night make his Mommy cry. He’ll probably try the ole my-egg-nog-was-spiked-when-I-wasn’t-looking defense.

  • Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas8. “Where Are You Christmas” – Faith Hill

    Faith Hill has lost her laughter, music, love and holiday memories in this song. They say that money can’t buy happiness. I’m guessing hubby Tim McGraw puts that to test each Christmas for Faith and their girls.

  • Pretty Paper7. “Pretty Paper” – Willie Nelson

    Nothing kills the holiday spirit celebration like a Christmas song about homeless people sitting on a downtown city sidewalk. Perhaps the guy lost his home to some IRS tax issues.

  • 6. “It’s Christmas Time for Everyone But Me” – Buck Owens

    Poor Buck laments that the season is magical for everyone else but him because the love of his life is somewhere else. He should have known better. Have you ever been to Bakersfield?

  • The Best of Loretta Lynn: The Christmas Collection5. “Gift of the Blues” – Loretta Lynn

    I travel miles and miles to see my baby all this way just to share his charms, Travel miles and miles to find my baby wrapped up so neatly in someone else’s arms.” Look on the bright side–she’s that much closer to earning her free frequent flyer flight.

  • 4. “Lonely Christmas Call” – George Jones

    Written by George Jones and George Riddle, Tammy Wynette sang a version that’s one of the more heartbreaking of the season. A spouse with a house full of kids pleads for the other one to not ignore the children this Christmas. They even write to Santa asking for their parent to come home. I’m guessing they don’t fit down the chimney.

  • The Very Best Of The Eagles3. “Please Come Home for Christmas” – Eagles

    Sorrow. Grief. Pain. That’s the Christmas holiday hat trick.

  • If We Make It Through December2. “If We Make It Through December” – Merle Haggard

    Haggard’s poor protagonist has been laid off at the factory and now doesn’t have enough money to buy his daughter a holiday gift. He dreams of heading to California for a new start. Someone should probably tell him of the state’s near 14% unemployment rate.

  • The Definitive Collection1. “Blue Christmas” – Ernest Tubb

    While Elvis Presley’s 1957 version is the more well-known cut of this heart-broken tale of unrequited love during the holidays, we’re going with the original sorrowful song of holiday suckage, Ernest Tubb’s 1948 classic, “Blue Christmas.”

  1. Ollie
    November 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Some others I’d add;
    It Won’t Be The Same This Year- Vince Gill
    Hard Candy Christmas- Dolly Parton

    And two that aren’t really “county” songs:
    Fairy Tale of New York- The Pogues
    Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis- A Tom Waits song also covered by Neko Case

  2. luckyoldsun
    November 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Oh, c’mon, you gotta throw in “Merry Christmas From The Family” by Robert Earl Keen (not the MG cover)!

  3. travis in virginia
    November 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    What no “My Christmas Will be Just Another Lonely Day” by Brenda Lee or “Christmas Is Just A Song for Us This Year.” by R.C Bannon and Louise Mandrell. Two of my all time favorites!!!!!

  4. Jon
    November 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Sorry that you missed Tim O’Brien’s wonderful “Bah Humbug,” but even sorrier that you missed the most saddest, most lonesomest Christmas song ever. Written by Harley Allen and sung by Ronnie Bowman, so you know it’s really pitiful: “Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho” on the Christmas Grass, vol. 2 set from Audium.

    In non-depressing Christmas song news, I’ll be sitting in with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike on Val’s new Christmas song on the Midnight Jamboree tomorrow. I get the impression from Rick that it can be heard at, but you might want to check…

  5. Michael A.
    November 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Good list this week, Ken. I’ll have to look a few of these up. I’ll also add Toby Keith’s “Santa, I’m Right Here” in which a child asks for a new coat for his mom and a job for his dad on his Christmas list. It’s dated, cheesy and over the top, but I love it (probably more than any of his non Christmas songs). :)

  6. Stormy
    November 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    You also missed “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” a soothing balm for all of us who have suffered Reindeer related tragedies this time of the year.

  7. Rick
    November 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Jon, The Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnite Jamboree can be heard on WSM, and heard and seen on the E.T. Record Shop website (which uses Real Player for the audio and video feed). Nowadays they tape each show and then air it the following week. So if you are playing on stage tomorrow night, the rest of us can hear you a week from Saturday on December 4th. Also, you need to get back on the stage at Music City Roots! I think 18 South (fronted by Jon Randall and his lovely wife Jessie Alexander) could have used you last Wednesday night! (lol – just kidding).

    Not many folks heard of Amber Dotson when she had a couple of Capitol label singles out to radio a few years ago, but that gal sings the heck out of “Blue Christmas”. Fortunately the song is available for download and well worth a buck. I like Amber’s vocals so much I listen to that song throughout the year. The snippet at Amazon gives a nice glimpse:
    (I think the whole song is available at Last.FM if you’re signed up.)

  8. Leeann Ward
    November 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I love the O’Brien song that Jon mentioned. John Prine also has a good downer Christmas album.

  9. Eric
    November 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    “All That I Want” by The Weepies. Not really country (more folky- but there is a dobro elsewhere on the album), its perfect for those with mixed feelings during this strange time of year

  10. Troy
    November 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I’m the exact opposite Black Friday means bring out the Mariah Carey Christmas cd’s.

    I like the Faith Hill song weridly enough Mariah has a co-write on it.

  11. JL
    November 27, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I’d suggest Mary Chapin Carpenter’s full “Come Darkness, Come Light” album. It’s not entirely depressing – in many points, she sounds hopeful or peaceful – but I do like that it’s Christmas music that’s deeper and sadder than the usual deck-the-halls fare.

  12. Noeller
    November 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Love the theme here, ’cause I’m a huge fan of the apparent paradox of “Sad Christmas”! Dolly’s “Hard Candy Christmas” is definitely my favourite, but there are quite a few, for sure. Love this theme!!

  13. Aaron
    November 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    What about If We Make It Through December? Merle or Alan. That’s a depressing but hopeful tune.

  14. bll
    November 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Um, Aaron, it’s number 2 on the list.

    I love ‘Please Daddy'; John could do the ‘heartbreak’ bending of notes so damn well. I miss him.

  15. Aaron
    November 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    All the holiday feasting must have gone to my eyelids, mea culpa, I missed number 2.

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