Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dylan Croons Christmas Tunes?!

I’m not sure about the idea of Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album. There was a certain charm, I suppose, when ol’ Bob croaked his way through “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” and other traditional country-folk classics on his underwhelming 1992 release Good As I Been to You. But the idea of the Gravel-Voiced Great One grinding his way through “Silent Night” and “Good King Wenceslas” is a bit disconcerting.

You never know, though. Given Dylan’s skill for surprise and reinvention, along with his encyclopedic (Carl Sandburg-esque) knowledge of and respect for the traditional musical lexicon of our culture, he might just stun us all with his yuletide offering.

At the very least, Dylan does get kudos for the charitable gesture behind the effort. All of his profits from the album will go to support charities to feed the hungry here and abroad. (Savvy man, he, to make it clear that U.S. sales will support programs to feed the hungry here in America and international sales will support international charities.)

He is on the mark supporting this particular cause when there are so many to choose from these days. He is rightly attuned to the gravity and ramifications of the fact that one in five U.S. children today is being raised in poverty (not enough food or health care, inadequate housing). This unconscionable situation precedes our current recession and will surely continue long after economic recovery without these kinds of efforts – and many more – to remedy the poverty problem.


  1. O.K., its mid October and I've now purchased and listened to ol' Bob’s first yuletide foray. I’m a big Dylan fan, but this isn‘t an album we need. Good deeds aside (the profits go to charity), much of this CD is barely listenable. I know better than to expect smooth crooning from Dylan on anything, holiday album or not, but hearing Bob croak his way through a dozen or so Christmas classics is not really a gratifying experience on any level. The few highlights of the effort, in my opinion, are "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Christmas Island" "The Christmas Song" and "O' Little Town of Bethlehem" – all slower songs on which Bob's warble is less sandpapery, perhaps ameliorated a bit by the smooth harmonies of the backing vocals.

  2. "Must Be Santa" is a barnstormer, but the rest of this sounds like an SNL parpdy.