This will absolutely be the silliest Multiple Monday ever, and it's also another oddball one. We're looking at some wildly different (but all closely-related) versions of a call-and-response style of song. (Next week I can put up a regular MM post, I think.)
So, sometime in the last four hundred years (estimates vary and historians are widely divided on the genealogy of the song), German-speakers came up with a call-and-response song named "Schnitzelbank." It's known in America these days as a drinking song heard at Oktoberfests all around the country.
First, we'll hear a traditional Oktoberfest version from Schwarze Schafe, then a kiddie parody from The Biscuit Brothers. Bill Haley and His Comets rewrite it and rock it up as "Rockin' Rollin' Schnitzelbank." Next, the version probably best known to Americans under 35 and not of German heritage, the version from Animaniacs.
Okay, so in 1953, Mel Blanc recorded a holiday version of "Schnitzelbank" entitled "Ya, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree" which is an excuse to showcase his incredible voice talents. And that was in turn parodied decades later by Joel Kopischke as "Stupid Christmas Song."
Somewhere in the middle of all this mess, our patron saint, Thurl Ravenscroft, added his own version of the song, a silly love song called "Oh You Sweet One."
Now, finally, we come to the point. At least by 1961, which is when Mitch Miller committed his version to tape, we got around to hearing "Must Be Santa." It retains the structure and polka style of "Schnitzelbank" but changes the tune a little and the lyrics a lot. Now it's all about the fat man in the red suit. (I know, I know, I'd never have guessed I'd post a Mitch Miller track on this blog, but it really brings out the call-and-response aspect, and I don't have another good classic take on the song.)
I'd intended at this point in the post to write a long review of Bob's album, but it's been done other places by better, more knowledgeable writers and this post is already a leetle long. So, let me just say this: it's not a particularly good Christmas album, and it's not a particularly good Dylan album. (Bob is one of those people like Tom Waits or Lou Reed, who has the ability to make sweet pretty music but doesn't do so very often. He doesn't try to make any of these songs particularly pretty, and most of them were written to be pretty.)
It is, however, all for charity. A good charity. There's no buy link today, just a link to donate to that charity. "Must Be Santa" is the best track on the album, largely because (in my opinion) it doesn't express or try to inspire reverence for the holiday which means a lot of different things to a lot of different people (and has meant several different things to Bob over the span of his career, I'd bet).
Then, after Bob finishes up, we have the triumphant return of Glenn Campbot, with his ladyfriend Linda Ronbodt, singing "Must Be Giftbot." I love me some singing robots. As always, I recommend the zipfile.
1. Schwarze Schafe - Die Schnitzelbank 1 2
2. The Biscuit Brothers - Schnitzelbank 1 2
3. Bill Haley and His Comets - Rockin' Rollin' Schnitzelbank 1 2
4. Animaniacs - Schnitzelbank 1 2
5. Mel Blanc - Ya, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree 1 2
6. Joel Kopischke - Stupid Christmas Song 1 2
7. Thurl Ravenscroft - Oh You Sweet One 1 2
8. Mitch Miller and The Gang - Must Be Santa 1 2
9. Bob Dylan - Must Be Santa 1 2
10. Glenn Campbot and Linda Ronbodt - Must Be Giftbot 1 2