View Full Version : Why don't they sing real Carols?

8th Dec 2007, 19:01
We've had the Carol singers round but all we get is:-
'We wish you' etc then ring the bell.
The kids don't sing 'Away in a Manger',
'Now the Holly...etc' or 'Silent Night' anymore.
Anybody had better luck?

Loose rivets
8th Dec 2007, 19:18
Well in which case I would tell them to :mad: orf.

Having said that. When I wus little, as a means of raising some money, my friend hid behind a wall while I croaked out some carol or another. I rang on the bell.

The woman looked down at me from a great height. "Yes?"

"I've just sung a carol."


Please, please don't make me sing it again...not while you watch. I thought.

"Wait a minute."

Please, please don't make me sing it again...Please, please don't make me sing it again...Please! I know, if she tells me to I'll run away...fast.

She handed me sixpence "Here you are." She said, with a 'don't come back' expression.

It was worth it. Hooray for Christmas.

barry lloyd
8th Dec 2007, 20:49
Well I suppose now that Nativity Plays are an endangered species, it's hardly surprising.
I'd be interested to know just how many kids could sing through more than one or two Christmas Carols these days, and it's not their fault. How can they be expected to understand the meaning of Christmas, when with each passing year it's diluted further and further.
Is it like this in the rest of Europe? Er, no...

8th Dec 2007, 20:53
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin's womb

They don't write 'em like that any more (thank goodness)

west lakes
8th Dec 2007, 20:56
Probably because some misguided huggy fluff thinks they are non PC
Just thinking through the wors of "While Shepards watch", "Silent Night" and "Good King Wencleslas" all would have been awarded that accolade

8th Dec 2007, 21:00
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin's womb

Oh Come All Ye Faithful/John Francis Wade

Two points for me. :p

barry lloyd
8th Dec 2007, 21:08
"While shepherds washed their socks by night
All seated on the ground
A packet of Persil came down
And brightness shone around."
"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" (we used to sing it in German - it was that kind of school!).
"Good King Wensas last looked out on the Feast of Stephen" (well as a kid I thought those were the real words).

8th Dec 2007, 21:40
Well I suppose now that Nativity Plays are an endangered species, it's hardly surprising.

Saw my grandson's (5yrs old) Nativity play last week and they sang quite a few tradional Carols, which prompted this thread. As an aside there were quite a few Asian children taking part. Their parents were watching with the usual parental pride.

8th Dec 2007, 21:44
Still get traditional (German) carols here, they use "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" in a TV advert:confused:.

Also have a proper crib with real sheep and a real donkey in Wangen-in Allgau.

8th Dec 2007, 21:55
In the early days of NAZI power Himmler was very keen on Back-to-the-Origins Forest-Volk Trad solstice bonfire and ritual. He had Hitler out to an SS celebration, the full show.

The Fuehrer watched in silence.

Eventually Himmler could wait no longer, and asked what he thought?

In substance, the reply ran: "Well, it IS very good, of course; but it will never play against 'Stille Nacht'".

8th Dec 2007, 21:59
Sorry Ferret, I shall never get to sleep with you (your loss, my gain)

In the bleak midwinter is second only to O come all ye... as the horriblest carols of all time with ding dong merrily etc a distant third.

As shepherds watched is not bad, nor is O little town of Bethlehem. The best by a country mile is It came upon a midnight clear.

8th Dec 2007, 23:03
I hesitate to agree with anyone so ungallant as The SSK, and frankly old man you go too far this time, not Runyonesque at all, but one must share his misgivings about “In the bleak midwinter”. It is not just the carol itself, but its renditions that send the frisson down the spine.

It is commonly sung by some little b*st*rd of a boy soprano with that flat grinding quality that they affect, it can scarcely be natural, and then the enunciation: “Eeeeen thah bleak meed-weentah, loooo ....oooo ....ooong agewww”.

My own most detested carol is the Cherry Tree Carol, old English they tell me, trad, goes back a long way. Two stanzas go:

O then bespoke Mary,
so meek and so mild:
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
for I am with child.’
O then bespoke Joseph,
with words most unkind:
Let him pluck thee a cherry
that brought thee with child.’

Then follows a narrative of his (Joseph's) general rottenness and shame.

This, mind you, is the bloke who swallowed entire, so we are to believe, that tale about the Holy Ghost; Well, Okay ... and then the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Josie you better take the child and his mother to Egypt right smartish-like, “for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him”; upon which J. arose and did just that, on foot I suspect (not the way Jonah took it, not a protest); there he remained (living off what? I ask) until the death of Herod; then he had another dream (poor fellow rarely had a peaceful night) in which the Lord said “take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel; which he did; scarcely arrived there he had, Yup!, another dream in which the Lord said: “Belay all that previous stuff ... go to Galilee!; which he did. That is how they got to Nazareth.

Not a word of complaint, not a word.

Seems to me Joseph was one very accommodating gentleman, victim of vile calumny. This is one carol they can go shove. Here endeth the lesson.

9th Dec 2007, 00:23
your loss, my gain

Did I really write that? I did of course mean the other way round (said he gallantly, if not convincingly).

Don't get me wrong, I'm partial to a good hymn but when it comes to Christmas songs there is some very dodgy craftsmanship, it seems any old tat will do.

"Dearest, can you think of a rhyme for 'merrily'"
"Oh, you know it's not worth asking me, dear. 'Verily' is the only thing I can think of"
"Yes, it will have to be that. 'Ding dong verily the sky' it is then. The punters won't complain, it's Christmas after all"

9th Dec 2007, 02:24
Have to go for Silent night, in German, so I don't have to join in.
Haven't seen carol singers round this part of the woods for years though.

9th Dec 2007, 03:27
I'm amazed Davaar has failed to mention Petit Papa Noel. :E

9th Dec 2007, 05:54
I'm with Foss - Stille Nacht in the original German.

No mention yet of the doorstep Christmas chants - "Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat ...."

Nothing doing round here yet in the carol singing stakes - mind you YBCG currently 26/20 and the chance of an evening storm.

I've been spared the shopping mall because I get under foot (years of cunning practice there I'll tell you ;)), so thus far commercial Christmas has not intruded unduly.

9th Dec 2007, 08:36
You want a real carol? Try this.

Jeff Buckley - RIP.


9th Dec 2007, 11:07
Thanks TB I enjoyed that.
The Christmas Eve service from Kings College Chapel is, for me, beautiful. I'm not religous, just love good singing.

9th Dec 2007, 11:33
I had never encountered "en mass" so called carolling until I moved to this house. December the first knock on the door, one line of we wish you a Merry Christmas and hand gets stuck out for money.
I ask for some proper Christmas Carols please to which you get a blank expression.
So up on my front door goes a note with No Carol singers please, as it is basically begging kids and many of them.
To be fair I haven't had one yet this year but then the weather has been very bad but I also think they now realise where I live is a lost cause.

I do enjoy proper Carol Singing it's very beautiful, there is one which seems to be from the US though which often appears on their films wish I knew the name of it as I love it.

9th Dec 2007, 12:24
That could be Jeff Buckley again, flower. The one I am thinking of is his version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah which I have heard in The West Wing and at least two other feature films.


Though it ain't a carol.:ooh:

9th Dec 2007, 12:42
Thats a gem ThreadBaron.

Its a well kept secret to all apart from viewers of The OC on which it featured.

In a more sober and appropriate manner I'd still pitch for:

In The Bleak Midwinter that actually tries to capture the mood of the event that is being celebrated - rather than the standard bells and whistles celebration. It feels cold.

The Shepherds Farewell is part of a greater piece (Berlioz) but this stands out as a marvellous standalone carol.

I was a good chorister before my voice broke (I can't sing at all now - life's not fair) but I never got to sing my two favourite Carols (apart from the confines of the Silver Rocket on the M1 driving home for Christmas)

Of those I did sing I particularly loved the crescendo finale in Hark The Herald Angels Sing - a song that does what it says on its tin - and the peace of Once in Royal David's City.

I could go on but I won't. 30+ years hence from my choristing I still love the songs and they cheer me up.

9th Dec 2007, 12:55
The local Round Table sent Santa (or at least one his helpers - the real one is busy in a Chinese sweat shop make all those toys!!) round last week, accompanied by "seasonal" music - the usual American crooners singing about chestnuts, jingle bells, snow and so on.

I coughed up for the can-rattler at the door (not being a total scrooge) and pointed out that a few carols wouldn't go amiss.

He looked quite taken aback.

I'm no practising Christian - but I cannot see the point of Christmas, if the whole reason for it's celebration is being ignored. Unless of course you take the position that what we are really celebrating is the mid-winter festival that was hijacked by early Christians to attach their own festival to.

9th Dec 2007, 15:54
kd lang (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_NpxTWbovE) does a pretty fair interpretation of Hallelujah as well.

9th Dec 2007, 17:44
And how does Good King Wencelas like his pizza?

Deep pan, crisp and even.

Shiny side down
9th Dec 2007, 18:00
A couple of years ago, we had them turn up.

aged about 12 and 10, the younger one looked like he had done 10 rounds with the older one.

The 'carol'?
We wish you a merry christmas.

Sadly, due to the many missing teeth and an inability to form any intelligeable words, this became 'We mish you a merry cwifmaf...' Repeated over and over, with a grubby hand stuck out, oliver twist like.

I suggested that there may actually be at least a couple more lines to that particular carol. Apparently, I'm wrong. There were no alternative carols either.

needless to say the box of choccies and loose shrapnel was not offered over by me.

I believe scrooge has a point!

9th Dec 2007, 23:37
"you scum bag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot,
happy christmas you ar$e, i pray god its our last"

aye, don't write 'em like wot they used to...

I know, i am one of the plebs...:sad:


9th Dec 2007, 23:41

Why the heck didn't I cite that one? Beauty.

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
Ive got a feeling
This years for me and you
So happy christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

Thats the one - good call goshdarnit.

10th Dec 2007, 00:01
...... and heart-warming to hear some of the great traditional carols. Just heard:

Rockin' around the Christmas tree
at the Christmas party hop.
Mistletoe hung where you can see
ev'ry couple tries to stop.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree,
let the Christmas spirit ring.
Latter we'll have some pumpkin pie
and we'll do some caroling.

You will get a sentimental feeling
when you hear voices singing
"Let's be jolly,
Deck the halls with boughs of holly."

Rockin' around the Christmas Tree.
Have a happy holiday.
Ev'ryone dancing merrily
in the new old fashioned way.

sung by the great Brenda Lee herself.

10th Dec 2007, 01:52
Petit Papa Noel
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N'oublie pas mon petit soulier...

It ain't Christmas till they play that one. :D

10th Dec 2007, 02:46

Probably because some misguided huggy fluff thinks they are non PC

I suspect they'd have no problem with "Don we now our gay apparel."


10th Dec 2007, 05:12
Where we live in the Phils, the local mayor invites the tribespeople in from the mountains and they stay in some of the public halls. They then hawk some of their wares around the area but they also sing Christmas Carols.

Some of these bands are really very good and will be made of around 10 singers and will have a mix of guitars and bongo drums. Last year, one group was really excellent and were asked back for the day we were having a garden party shortly after Christmas.

Many of their carols are in the local language but they did sing a beautiful rendition of ‘Adeste Fideles’ in Latin. I blame those Spanish missionaries.:}

10th Dec 2007, 05:28
We used to get the Salvation Army Brass Band playing on the corner assisted by a team of women in sexy black stockings. We had to pay them to make them go away. The choir of St Michaels and All Angels would follow along next night. They'd get money to make them go away too, but due to a lack of sexy black stockings, not as much as the Sally Ann... ;)

10th Dec 2007, 06:25
:)Australian Jingle Bells :)
Dashing through the bush,
in a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust,
esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It's Summer time and I am in
my singlet, shorts and thongs
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut !,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute. Engine's getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
he is welcome too.
All the family's there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute. Come the afternoon,
Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce,
are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes 'round to go,
we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through,
before the washing up.
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.
You can hear this here http://www.angelfire.com/hi3/austblonde/xmasjing.html
Now that a real Christmas Carol!

10th Dec 2007, 10:00
This Canadian creation commemorated the sad death of one Oliver by multiple knife wounds, but was, sadly, killed off before it reached full circulation, a fate I hope does not overtake it here:

"The decked the halls
With b*lls
Of Ollie,
Fa-la-la-la La-la-la-la."

Windy Militant
10th Dec 2007, 13:30
An Acquaintance of mine who's a retired teacher, keeps a number of cards with the words of various carols printed on next to the door. When the scrotes, er I mean young entrepreneurs come calling he gives an impromptu lesson in the art of caroling. Needless to say he doesn't get many calling since the word's got around. ;)

12th Dec 2007, 11:22
As a private music teacher I teach a fair number of young teenagers, and for many years I've been shocked at the level of ignorance of traditional carols amongst the young. And I'm talking about intelligent boys and girls from good homes and schools. Yesterday, I asked a couple of them (one 13,the other, 15) which carols they knew from a list I gave them. The following were completely unknown to one or both of them:

O Come All Ye Faithful
Good King Wenceslas
In The Bleak Midwinter
See Amid The Winter's Snow
O Come, O Come, Emannuel
While Shepherds Watched their Flocks
As With Gladness
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The First Nowell


tony draper
12th Dec 2007, 11:50
Heard a choir of sprogs singing the Holly and the Ivy on telly tother morning,great stuff ,twer alus one's favourite Carol.

west lakes
12th Dec 2007, 12:24
One was taught to sing (note 1) all the traditional carols by my junior school headmistress (Miss Flynn) (note 2). This took place, usually, in the church hall adjacent to the school with her providing the piano accompaniment (note 3).
This also applied to all the traditional hymns. Practice was mandatory and usually at busy times (Easter, May, and Christmas) fairly constant.

At a recent Chrismas event we had two School Choirs singing a mixture of modern & traditional carols, very good they were except, despite many microphones & PA system no one could hear them. It's something I've noted of late that whilst sprogs are good at making lots of noise when not required they struggle whan required to.

Note 1 Shouting in tune - we were never loud enough
Note 2 Think (for us older types) Peggy Mount in stature, attitude & volume and add 50% to those parameters
Note 3 Physically attacking said piano in tune but with much gusto (also see note 2)

tony draper
12th Dec 2007, 12:31
Being a unbeliever one used to mime the words of the obligatory Hymms at school assembly.

12th Dec 2007, 15:18
Its never Christmas till i've heard " So here it is, Merry Christmas "
From Slade on the radio :ok:

12th Dec 2007, 15:29
The following were completely unknown to one or both of them:

I believe many kids and adults are not sure of the difference between a traditional Carol and a modern Christmas song. Both have a place in the Christmas scene but a Carol well sung, especially by children is one of life's pleasures.

12th Dec 2007, 17:01
Mr Draper, didn't have to be an unbeliever. We always started with the headmaster saying " we will now sing that lovely old carol (insert name of carol) except for S, who will remain silent.

It pays not to be able to sing and have a voice like a foghorn :).