The Ronettes, Sleigh Ride and a Very Merry Christmas

Well after a bit of a slow start this year (I blame too much time spent in the very absorbing virtual world of late, and not enough time in the real world), I have now totally embraced Christmas. This therefore will have to be a very short post as unbelievably I still have to buy and deliver a few presents, and source the rest of the food to add to the embarrassment of calories that is the traditional Christmas lunch.

So far so good however and despite being up until 4am checking out darling daughter’s whereabouts (it was “Mad Friday” after all, so a bit of a worry), I am up and at it. Our lovely postman, who does go beyond the call in attempting to deliver some of the odd items that arrive in the mail (Mr WIAA being a sculptor an’ all), has already been tracked down and given his Christmas tip. Today I was in “weekend wear” but already this week he has seen me in “straight-out-of-the-shower wear”, “serious-business-woman wear” and “Christmas-jumper-themed wear”. He sees me in more guises than my husband but has become a bit of a friend, so was pleased to see he had his Santa hat on today – All the better to keep his ears warm on this cold morning.

Interestingly, the reason that robins are such a symbol of Christmas is because Victorian postmen wore a bright red uniform. The postmen in their red-breasted coats resembled the much-loved bird, the robin red-breast, earning them the nickname – Robins.

But I digress as this is supposed to be a music blog despite the fact I often stray into other territory. I think my favourite Christmas Album still has to be the one produced by Phil Spector in 1963 called “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” (originally released as A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records). Spector treated a series of Christmas standards to his trademark wall of sound treatment, and the selections feature the vocal performances of Spector’s regular artists during this period, Darlene Love, The Crystals, The Ronettes etc.

phil-3

Although I now have a copy of the digitally remastered version in CD format, the version I played to death in the early ’80s was the double album vinyl release, when the pink album was Phil’s Christmas one and the blue album was his Greatest Hits one (bit like the Beatles’ Red and Blue Greatest Hits albums). When my flatmates were playing synth-pop and new wave, here I was listening to the fab sounds of Phil Spector and his wall of sound, but then I’ve always been a bit out of kilter timeline-wise, which is why perhaps this year I am smitten by the music of 1967.

The Christmas album has grown in popularity over the years and is full of tracks that have became iconic seasonal songs. My favourite track is Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes where they feature their well-known “ring-a-ling-a-ling ding-dong-ding” background vocals. Their version also made use of the clip-clopping of the horses as well as the sound of a recorded horse whinnying, heard at the beginning and end of the song. It doesn’t get any more Christmassy than that.

Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes:

So, “What’s It All About?” – Christmas starts too early nowadays I feel, but now that Christmas Eve is here I am ready to embrace the excess that will follow over the next couple of days. My plan to help the homeless has been somewhat scuppered as I am reliably informed by those in the know, that they will be well-catered for locally this year, by the professionals who specialise in this kind of thing. It turns out however that the biggest social issue of the day, is loneliness amongst the elderly, so the best thing to do is to make sure that my 81-year-old mum and her little band of buddies at their very swish “retirement” complex, are kept entertained.

Merry Christmas to all my blogging buddies – I didn’t even know this place existed this time last year and in less than twelve months have made a good few like-minded friends of the virtual nature. I have long nagged my daughter and her friends to get out into the real world, and not spend all their time on their devices, but have now discovered myself that it does indeed have its place. Have a good one!

thvirc58t1
The Ronettes at Christmas-time!

Sleigh Ride Lyrics
(Song by Leroy Anderson)

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you,
Outside the snow is falling
and friends are calling “Yoo hoo,”
Come on, it’s lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
let’s go, Let’s look at the show,
We’re riding in a wonderland of snow.
Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
it’s grand, Just holding your hand,
We’re gliding along with a song
of a wintry fairy land.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
and comfy cosy are we
We’re snuggled up together
like two birds of a feather would be
Let’s take that road before us
and sing a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

There’s a birthday party
at the home of Farmer Gray
It’ll be the perfect ending a perfect day
We’ll be singing the songs
we love to sing without a single stop,
At the fireplace while we watch
the chestnuts pop. Pop! pop! pop!

There’s a happy feeling
nothing in the world can buy,
When they pass around the chocolate
and the pumpkin pie
It’ll nearly be like a picture print
by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
we remember all through our lives!
of a wintry fairy land

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
and comfy cosy are we
We’re snuggled up together
like two birds of a feather would be
Let’s take that road before us
and sing a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather
for a sleigh ride together with you.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

8 thoughts on “The Ronettes, Sleigh Ride and a Very Merry Christmas”

  1. Good luck with the final bits and pieces!
    I didn’t know that about robins and Victorian postmen, so thanks for that snippet. We have a lovely cheery postman too, worth his weight in gold, and one of very few people who has had the misfortune to see me more than once with toast crumbs in my teeth and bed hair, poor man.
    Seeing those two Phil Spector album covers was a real memory jogger. I had forgotten all about them but the pics suddenly took me right back to my days of working in a record shop in the ’80s. We certainly sold a good few copies of those – and Christmas in that shop was mayhem!
    I think this little part of the virtual world is just perfect. Long may it continue!
    Have a very happy Christmas, Alyson, all the best to you and yours! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the 1980s record shop at Christmas was mayhem, but sadly nearly all closed now. Got all the last minite bits and bobs now so all sorted.

      I have enjoyed our little corner of the blogosphere recently and as you say, long may it continue (although I will have to try to wean myself off being online quite so much). Have a lovely Christmas C. x

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  2. The one with the red cover is the one I picked up in a charity shop a few years ago – a bit scratched but still playable
    Happy CHristmas to you and yours Alyson

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes those sleeves rang bells for me too. Pretty tacky really when you consider how iconic the original Christmas album sleeve is. Still, it’s the music that counts and for a while Phil could do little wrong in that department.
    Have a cool yule Alyson. It’s been a joy to read your musings in 2016 – long may it continue. Oh, and thanks for the Victorian postmen titbit. I shall file that one away to impress my friends at a later date!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there – hope you’re having a nice Christmas Eve. I am annoying my family by playing Sleigh Ride every time there is a break in the movie we’re watching.

      Hope you and Mrs S also have a cool yule. I’ve enjoyed blogging this year but it has taken up a lot of time that I should have been spending on other things – am really going to try and keep going though. Yes I found out about the robin/postman link a few years ago and must have tucked it away.

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