Many years ago I published a CD of songs co–written with and produced by Grammy Award winner Paul Hoyle (check him out at paulhoyle.com; he is excellent!). Most people don’t know about the album, you can no longer buy it, and I rarely speak of it. But this morning I received an email asking not about the album I did write, but about another I didn’t. The album is entitled: Rabbi Rami Sings Christmas Classics.
At first I thought this was a joke. Then I thought it was an attack on my willingness to read Jesus back into the Jewish fold. But on closer reading of the email, I think the person was sincere. Somehow he got the idea that I had actually written and sung a Christmas album. I wrote back that no such album exists, but on further reflection I wonder if I should actually do one.
I’m not the world’s greatest tenor, nor I’m not at all enamored with Christmas songs, but I have come up with is an album title: Rabbi Rami Sings (soon to be) Christmas Classics. Here are some of the album’s track titles:
1. Oy to the World: an ode to Jewish angst at Christmas time.
2. He went to Herod’s: a story about the Wise Men and King Herod.
3. No Jews is Good Jews: a dreamy ballad sung by Pontius Pilate.
4. Little Frummer Boy: the struggles of an Orthodox Jewish boy at Christmas.
5. Born to Hang: a tragic song about a baby born to die at the hands of Rome.
6. Dreck in the Malls: the pain of having to buy gifts nobody wants.
7. No El: an atheist anthem denying El, the god of the Jews.
8. Phyllis’ Navy Dad: about a girl whose dad is deployed over the holy days.
9. Pontius Pilates: about Pilate’s effort to get in shape for the holy days.
1. Manger in the Night: Mary complains about giving birth in a barn.
I haven’t written any lyrics for these songs. Nor do I intend to. Rather I am reaching out to you, my friends and readers, to make this album a reality. Pick a song (or more than one) and write the lyrics yourself. Then post your lyrics in the comments section of this blog. At the end of the year I will pick the best lyrics for each of the songs.
True, I won’t do anything with the ones I pick; nor will I tell you which ones I picked because I don’t want to disappoint those people who wrote songs I didn’t pick. But you should imagine that I picked your song lyrics, anyway. And when you do, go out and record the song and put it on YouTube. Who knows, maybe you will have a Christmas classic in time for next year.