I first heard this one on the album The American Song-Poem Christmas: Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four? Back in the 50s and 60s, some recording companies produced what are now called “song poems,” where they would encourage people to send in their original song lyrics (and, of course, money). The company’s musicians would quickly write and record songs based on the rando lyrics, and they would crank out no-name compilation albums that virtually no one heard, or bought. (This is also known as “song sharking”; you can guess what kind of reputation it had from the name.) Outsider music fans have preserved and revived song poems, which are often completely bonkers but are occasionally pretty creative. (Yo La Tengo once covered the song poem “Santa Claus Goes Modern,” for example.)
My favorite holiday song poem is this catchy, chill, folky ballad “Christmas Time Philosophy.” While I don’t know exactly who’s singing here, Norris the Troubadour was the stage name of musician and songwriter Norridge Mayhams (and the name Seabord Coastliners appears on some of his recordings too). Mayhams had recorded a series of bluesy sides in the 30s and 40s, and even had one of his songs (“We’ll Build A Bungalow”) featured on an episode of “I Love Lucy.” He was also known for music that was, as song poem archivist Phil Milstein put it, “staggering in its scope, quality and general strangeness.”
In other words, this song, featured on a collection of works by oddballs and amateurs, is one of his more normal songs.