I’ve been tuning into our sister station, LITEROCK 105 in an effort to get into the holiday spirit. “Your official at work music station” has been cranking out the Christmas tunes (yes, Governor Chafee, CHRISTMAS tunes) since the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. Fortunately for me, I can get my quick holiday music fix and tune elsewhere before having to get a refill as my yuletide glow wane.The poor jocks on LITEROCK have no escape from Alvin’s hula-hoop request til December 26th.
Some of the traditional Christmas tunes have some mighty weird, dated lyrics. We often sing them aloud without giving them too much thought. Let’s take JINGLE BELLS, for instance. “Bells on bob tails ring….”What, exactly, is a “bob tail?” you ask? It’s a tail that is folded to look shorter, sort of like a lady’s bun, or a “pony tail.” Get it? JINGLE BELLS’ lyrics go on to read:
A Day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated to my right
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upshot
First, let’s discuss the passenger, Miss Fanny Bright. Where did this journey begin…The Foxy Lady? Secondly, when one is “upsot,” exactly what is your condition? My research shows the word“upsot” is simply a 19th century contrivance to add rhyme and wit the the word “upset.” In other words, James lord Pierpont, who wrote the ditty in 1857 needed something that rhymed with “lot” so he made up a word. Poetic license? Try lazy shortcut.
Let’s move on to WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS. Exactly what is “figgy pudding” and why are these carolers so adamant about getting the stuff? The lyrics read:
“Now! Bring us some figgy pudding”
The demand is repeated THREE times. Man, these people REALLY crave the stuff, don’t they?
“and we won’t go until we get some”
These guys are digging in.
The origin of this carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve such as “figgy puddings” that were very much like modern day Christmas
puddings. I googled “figgy pudding” for this info and the graphic of the stuff sure didn’t want to make me hang around to receive the treat. It looked more like something Rudolph would leave on the front lawn.
Final thought, another traditional British holiday pudding is called “Spotted Dick.” Nuff said about that.
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