Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Classics: Deck the Halls

The Roches: Deck the Halls


The one constant in my family’s holiday celebrations over the past 20 odd years has been The Roches’ Christmas album, We Three Kings. The Roches were a band that my wife, whose tastes ran toward the folky, and I, whose tastes were a bit harder edged, both liked. We appreciated the beautiful and quirky harmonies, and the music snob in me was impressed by their work with Robert Fripp.

In 1990, We Three Kings was released, and we heard it on WFUV, Fordham University’s amazing radio station. I wanted to get a copy, to surprise my wife, who loved it, and who had only a few months earlier given birth to our first child. In those pre-Amazon, pre mp3, days, you actually had to go to a record store to buy CDs, and like an idiot, I waited until right before Christmas to try to get a copy. I walked into J&R Music, probably the best record store in NY, and was encouraged to hear that very CD playing on the in-store sound system. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy in the bins, and wanting to make my wife happy, I dragooned one of the workers, who told me that the copy playing on the sound system was the last one in the store. I made him take it out of the CD player and sell it to me.

Since then, We Three Kings has become the harbinger of Christmas. My wife dusts it off when she starts her baking, and I know that delicious things are about to happen. Coming from a secular Jewish family that didn’t celebrate Christmas, I never really understood the power and fun of Christmas music until I started spending the holidays with my future wife and her family. Now, even though we have a large CD library of holiday (mostly Christmas) music, and I have compiled a large iPod playlist of holiday music, both classic and otherwise, We Three Kings continues to be my favorite.

It is hard to pick a favorite song on the disc. I can eliminate the few that they sing in overdone New York accents, and the more religious ones. Deck the Halls ultimately jumps out at me. The way they hit the first “Deck”, and the classic Roches’ harmonies, and the crazy fa la la la las. Enjoy.

Guest post by J. David

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