Well, now. Joni Mitchell’s River is one of my very favourite Christmas songs and I was a bit sad that it’s never been a big enough hit anywhere for a version of it to sneak into my top twenty-four, but THEN I listened to every available version of Santa Baby (with the exception for obvious reasons of Eartha Kitt’s), and it turns out every single cover version is unbearable, with the closest to palatable being from an album called A Very Ally Christmas which seems to be a selection of songs “from, and inspired by” the Ally McBeal Christmas special(s). This version is better than the execrable efforts turned out by luminaries including, but not limited to, Kylie, Madonna, and Mae West – really – but on the same album I discovered this recording of River by Robert Downey Jr (of course), and I like it better than any version of Santa Baby (except the original), so we’re having this instead.
I love Eartha Kitt’s voice. It’s little-girlish and gritty all at once. She reminds me a little bit of Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins, though I don’t know how flattered either of them would be at the comparison.
(I was going to add “…if either of them were still alive, that is” at the end there, but I thought I’d check and though Eartha did indeed leave us last Christmas Day, Glynis Johns is still going strong at 86. So a happy Christmas to her, too, and any other surviving members of the Banks family.)