It's time to dip into the archives for another belated review - this one seven years overdue!!. In fairness we only became aware of the charms of the Forty Elephant Gang earlier this year, and this little gem from their back catalogue is too good not to share. Taking the golden rule of keeping it simple, Forty Elephant Gang manage to make a single that is both loaded with harmonies and a delicious mandolin sound as well as providing a narrative that is both touching and laugh out loud funny.
The Christmas mood is immediately established in the mandolin laden intro and initially the lyrics seem to be the complete opposite of the title, with the lead singer taking on the persona of someone who is quite happy to let Christmas pass them by.
"I know this year snow's not gonna fall, the same old songs when the carol singers call
I'm gonna lay in bed with my sore head - this Christmas
Don't want my friends to send me cards that I won't read
Or watch the same old stale repeats on the tv
Take note of what I've said - I'm giving up on Christmas
Won't be no presents underneath my Christmas tree
The Grinch was a jolly little fellow soul compared to me"
This litany of bah humbug is delivered in the most cheerfully downbeat of moods
"Not gonna wish you Merry Christmas in the morning
Don't put no sherry out cos Santa won't be calling
I'll stay in bed with my sore head - this Christmas"
The song splits into halves, separated by a beautifully harmonic break which manages to incorporate a little bit of Silent Night. If the first half of the song was a testament to someone not looking forward to Christmas the second half is a tribute to the wonders that are to be found across the land at this time of year.
"I know I'll miss my sisters face light up with glee - when she opens up her presents by the Christmas tree
Mum making dinner getting drunk with my old man - laughing with Grandad and dancing with my Nan
My cousin's building snowmen outside in the street, playing with board games and far too much to eat
That tired feeling when the guests all say goodbye - I'll give it one more try!"
The revisit to the chorus is like listening to Scrooge after being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, there is a change if heart in the lyrics and the music starts to swell and is layered with multiple harmonies.
"I'm gonna wish you Merry Christmas in the morning
Put out the mince pies cos I know that Santa's calling
I need it said, I won't give up on Christmas"
It all ends with a heartwarming
"Be with the ones you love at Christmas - Have yourself a merry Little Christmas"
An absolute joy too add to your Christmas playlist
#TEAMw21 looking forward to seeing more of Forty Elephant Gang in 2024