Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

13th Annual Holiday Singalong to Be Held Sunday

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

13th Annual Holiday Singalong to Be Held Sunday

Article excerpt

Two things certain at today's 13th Annual Holiday Singalong: Taylor Watson, aka MC Santa, will be smack in the thick of it, enjoying fellowship, and singing ... quietly.

"Unfortunately, I can't sing. I wish I could sing half as well as my mother. And it kills me, because I just want to jump up and sing," said Watson, curator at The Paul W. Bryant Museum. "But I love hearing other people. (The Singalong)'s a lot of fun."

By the time the Singalong arrives, usually the first weekend of December, Watson's well into the spirit of the season, having opened MCSanta.com after Thanksgiving, a site for Christmas songs, sights, videos and other curiosities, such as a radio broadcast of "Gunsmoke," a Christmas episode of the old "Dick Van Dyke Show," and the Bob Hope movie "The Lemon Drop Kid," which introduced the song "Silver Bells" to the world.

He's not one who suffers holiday-music malaise, because he doesn't listen to much radio, or spend time in malls. Instead, he's questing for gems such as The Dropkick Murphy's song "The Season's Upon Us" -- be aware there are cleaner and not-so-clean versions -- whatever disc former Stray Cat Brian Setzer is putting out this year, and his hottest recent acquisition, a vinyl copy of the 1958 Capitol collection of standards by folks such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin, titled "Merry Christmas to You."

"Back in the day, different companies -- Firestone, A&P -- would put out all these compilations," Watson said. "This is the very first stereophonic version of these kind of variety records."

He's heard about Grinches who claim to disdain the sounds of the season, but thinks that's mainly due to over-exposure, and failure to appreciate the breadth of offerings.

"There's a small group of people who don't love Christmas music, but it's so posh to say 'I hate hearing "Rudolph,"' Then those grumps get in the car alone, crank up the radio and sing along with 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town.'

"Unless you're 15 or 16, nostalgia grabs you," he said. …

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