Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thanksgiving music

There's no Thanksgiving songs, you say.
With assists last year from "Paste" magazine and WXPN, I found that's not necessarily so. I'll start your Turkey Day soundtrack off with something that didn't turn up on Spotify, "Thanksgiving Prayer" by Johnny Cash. Would love to know how the Man in Black ended up on an episode of, according to the YouTube poster, "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman."

When I was growing up, and without fail traveling to be with my paternal grandmother's side of the family every Thanksgiving, my mom had me convinced that the song that begins "Over the river, and through the woods/to grandmother's house we go" was about Thanksgiving. That was until I recently found "Over the River" by Danny Kaye & The Andrews Sisters, which has lyrics about Christmas. I refuse to believe "Over the River" is a Christmas song! And since I'm a holiday purist -- believing in breathing space for holidays, instead of the overlapping Hallo-Kwanz-ukkah-mas mess advertisers and stores have forced on us -- I can't bring myself to pollute my Thanksgiving playlist with a Christmas song. We'll all be bludgeoned to death by Christmas music soon enough.
Luckily, my wife knows I'm not insane (nor is my mom), and agrees that not only is "Over the River" a Thanksgiving song, but said there is a verse of "Over the River" that ends "Hooray for Thanksgiving Day." So who can tell me where a recording of that variation can be found?
I was also dismayed to find that The Beatles B-side "Thank You Girl" is not on Spotify. Come on, Macca! The world didn't end when The Beatles music was made available on iTunes. Gimme a break! The good news is the cover by The Smithereens is brilliant, and I will reward that band by sharing this interview I did with Pat DiNizio.
So fire up your Spotify and sing along with Arlo Guthrie (I get a kick out of his $14.27 reference from Roger Miller's "Dang Me" in the now-50-year-old "Alice's Restaurant"), through all the thank-you songs I could think of, to Dan Bern's modern-day-Desolation-Row "Thanksgiving Day Parade." Any suggestions you have for additions are encouraged!


  1. If you want "eating" related Thanksgiving songs, how about "Beans and Cornbread" by Louis Jordan, "Dinner Bell" by They Might Be Giants or "Everybody Eats When They Come to My House" By Cab Calloway?

  2. Will be sure to check those out, and I'm sure those will be great additions. I've heard Jonathan Lithgow -- believe it or not -- doing "Everybody Eats" before.