Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be careful what you post online or how I became an expert on the Little Drummer Boy

I'm at work at the library today when one of our patrons comes up to me. "So, Jon, I understand that you're an expert on...."

Now, despite being a rather modest individual, there are quite a few possibilities as to that how sentence could have potentially ended. I don't proclaim myself as an expert in much, if anything, as there is always someone somewhere who is far more knowledgeable than myself in any given topic. But still, I was sort of expecting the sentence to end with the word baseball in there somewhere. Or given the setting, perhaps computers or books. For better or worse, I am our computer guru and there are still people who will take a shot and ask me for a book recommendation. But no. The patron continued....

"So Jon, I understand that you're an expert on the Little Drummer Boy".

I had to start laughing. Apparently my co-worker anointed me an expert based on my post from last Christmas and shared my vast appreciation for the song with said patron.

So the patron and I got to talking. Apparently he had heard a version of Little Drummer Boy on the radio this morning that involved bagpipes and he really liked it. We shared a head shaking about the Joan Jett version. Talked about a couple other versions and then he left.

I started looking to see if I could find the version he referenced and, well, there is a ridiculous number of versions of Little Drummer Boy that involve bagpipes. I tried to narrow it down by hitting the websites of local radio stations that play Christmas songs and checking their playlists to see if I could find the version the patron heard but no one played the song this morning (although numerous other awful "Christmas" songs (read in part: Dominick the Donkey)) on any of the stations I checked. I'm left unsure.

But I figured that since I am a recognized Little Drummer Boy expert, I should share some good bagpipe versions. Here you go:

I like this nice instrumental mix by Garrett Viggers. The bagpipes don't come in until late which is good or bad depending on your taste for bagpipes.

Little Drummerboy - Live (Featuring Jefferson Bagpipers) from Garrett Viggers on Vimeo.

If you want bagpipes and vocals there's The Celts version.

You can actually purchase entire Christmas albums of bagpipes. Purchasing seems to be the only way to hear The Munros play it so we'll have to go without for today.

I almost hesitate to share the Highland Bagpipes version of Little Drummer Boy because everyone knows that version.

If I find the version the patron wanted, I'll let you know. In the meantime, while the Scots have influenced Little Drummer Boy, the Scandinavians are really pushing the envelope.

I honestly like the Finnish Death Metal Cello Quartet, Apocalyptica. You know I like the cello.

OK, how in Sam Hill did I never hear of Apocalyptica before tonight? I had to stop this post to go listen to a bunch of their songs. I mean, wow! Here's their more traditional version of O Holy Night:

I am definitely going to have to get their albums. Their newest album, 7th Symphony, is simply incredible. But I must forge on. This is supposed to be about Little Drummer Boy.

The Finns might have a hold on awesome versions but the Norwegians have the oddball versions down. Here is Binärpilot. I shrank the screen in order to eliminate the absolutely hideous and inappropriate image a fan put the music to.

I'll wrap up with the version by Norwegian Lindstrøm, at least the short version. Lindstrøm is considered noteworthy by Little Drummer Boy scholars because he created a forty minute version of the song. The below clip is only five which was enough to give me a headache.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to some more Apocalyptica.

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