Order 3 or more physical items and get 1¢ shipping
John Raymond Barker | Our First Christmas Together

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
George Michael Harry Connick, Jr. Jeff Buckley

More Artists From
United States - New York

Other Genres You Will Love
Holiday: Kids/Family Holiday: Spoken Word Moods: Mood: Christmas
There are no items in your wishlist.

Our First Christmas Together

by John Raymond Barker

A unique and personal take on Christmas with nine original songs ranging in topics from Grandma’s potent eggnog to fighting with your spouse over how & when to put up the tree to the tragic year they stopped giving toys to a few classics.
Genre: Holiday: Kids/Family
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Continue Shopping
available for download only
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. The First Signs of Christmas
1:03 album only
clip
2. Better Be Careful Drinking Grandma’s Eggnog
3:54 album only
clip
3. A Christmas Proposal
0:57 album only
clip
4. Our First Christmas Together
3:07 album only
clip
5. Naughty or Nice?
0:37 album only
clip
6. The Tattletale Elf
3:38 album only
clip
7. Did I Just Hear Bells?
0:41 album only
clip
8. The Pickle on the Tree
5:45 album only
clip
9. The Year They Stopped Giving Toys
4:11 album only
clip
10. Dedication to Moms
0:21 album only
clip
11. Mama Made That Home a Winter Wonderland
4:46 album only
clip
12. I Won’t Be Home for Christmas
1:00 album only
clip
13. A Tale of Two Christmases
4:39 album only
clip
14. For Grandma
0:17 album only
clip
15. Pretty Paper
3:30 album only
clip
16. Putting Up (With) the Christmas Tree
4:09 album only
clip
17. Ave Maria
5:14 album only
clip
18. A Nativity Medley (Non Finito): O Little Town of Bethlehem / Away in a Manger / What Child Is This?/Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Angels We Have Heard on High / Joy to the World / Hallelujah Chorus / O Holy Night / Silent Night
6:36 album only
clip
19. Will There Be Christmas on Mars?
3:45 album only
clip
20. Medley: We Wish You a Merry Christmas / Auld Lang Syne
3:02 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“An iconoclastic wild man...a fearless performer who takes chances and sends out zingers, 
but aims even more arrows at himself...a force to be reckoned with...”
Rob Lester, Talkin’ Broadway

The album is John’s unique take on Christmas, with nine original songs ranging in topics from Grandma’s potent eggnog to fighting with your spouse over how & when to put up the tree to the tragic year they stopped giving toys to spending the holidays with polar opposite families every year. John has also written a very personal song honoring his hardworking, single mother who never failed to turn his home into a winter wonderland. Rounding out the album are an acoustic guitar rendition of “Ave Maria”, a medley of traditional songs surrounding the nativity (such as “Away in a Manger”, “O Holy Night”, and “Silent Night”). A highlight of the album will be John’s cover of Willie Nelson’s classic, “Pretty Paper” that John dedicates to his late grandmother.

Represented by Across the Board Talent, John Raymond Barker is a professional actor, singer, writer, and voice over artist living in NYC and will soon be announcing his network television debut. A Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Houston School of Theatre and a proud member of Actors’ Equity, John’s New York theatre credits include several new works; co-creating and performing a new devised work with Stages on the Sound called Gold Coast at Metropolitan Playhouse’s Gilded Stage Festival; Lee Feldman’s Greene (workshop); and appearances throughout the cabaret and rock club scene, including many appearances at the historic Stonewall Inn. Regional theatre credits include many shows at Theatre Under The Stars; 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company; Alley Theatre; Stages Repertory Theatre; Stuart Ostrow’s Musical Theatre Lab/UH: Jerry Bock and Jerry Sterner’s 1040 (World Premiere); Children’s Theatre Festival: Jerry Bock and Sidney Berger’s The Magic Journey (World Premiere). Internet/Television: HuffPost Live (recurring), A Crime to Remember. Recordings: Show Choir! The Musical Studio Recording, Avarice the Musical Cast Recording, Carols for a Cure Volume 12 with Bernadette Peters and the cast of A Little Night Music, “Vampire Drag Queen”.

1. the first signs of christmas (1:03)

2. Better Be Careful Drinking Grandma’s Eggnog (3:51)
dedicated to Grandma Cynie

You better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
It’s so much stronger than you’d ever think
And that’s cause Grandma likes to drink
You better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog

The recipe says it serves about 15-20
There are 10 of us so you’d think there’d be plenty
Well we drank it all and we had a ball
Though Auntie had a fall, and Uncle broke the law
Oh we love that eggnog made by Grandma Cynie

You better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
It’s so much more than most can handle
They usually wake up mired in scandal
You better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog

It was given to her by a retired Air Force colonel
And she’s kept it safe inside her recipe journal
Oh she says she uses half
Of the booze—that makes me laugh
Cause if you put it to a graph
That nog is off the seismograph
But it sure is made with Grandma’s love eternal

You better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
It’s so much stronger than you’d ever dream
You should try her homemade Irish cream
Oh you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog

Oh when I was a kid, I’d get so jealous
Cause the way they drank all happily and zealous
It made Ted’s face red, helped Cousin Ethel get to bed
It’s the reason Julie wed
But it killed Great Grandpa dead
Oh how I wanted to drink it like these ladies and fellas

Oh, you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
It’s way more potent than witches brew
Heck, maybe we should serve it at Halloween, too
Oh you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog

Well you take eight eggs and a pint of milk
Some ice cream and whipping cream as smooth as silk
Some nutmeg, cinnamon, peach brandy, bourbon, rum
And you mix it all together, and it sure tastes yum!

Oh, you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
If you’re gonna drink it, then you’d better not drive
Cause Grandma prefers us all alive
Oh you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog

There was the year the family home suffered great damage
It broke our hearts to see it devastated, ravaged
But Grandma saw that silver lining
A chance to remodel and get it shining
Been refining the designing
So there’s really no use pining
So let’s all raise a glass of that eggnog—if you can manage

Oh, you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Cause if you don’t you’ll end up sick as a dog
Oh, it’s so much stronger than you’d ever think
And that’s cause Grandma likes to drink
Oh you better be careful drinking Grandma’s eggnog
Oh yeah!

3. a christmas proposal (0:57)

4. Our First Christmas Together (3:07)
dedicated to Jared R. Pike

It’s our first Christmas together
Oh, my last Christmas was blue
All alone amongst all of the yuletide and cheer,
But now I get to spend it with you

I remember your face the first time that it snowed
All smiles, the delight of a boy
To know that the cold won’t be braved all alone
Hand and hand we'll be filled with such joy

It’s our first Christmas together
All the fun that we’ll get to do!
Christmas cookies and wassail and carols that we’ll wail
As long as I spend it with you

Oh ice skating, Christmas lights, and magic to see
Unlike last year so filled with despair
All alone in the city not wanting the pity
Now the stockings are hung in a pair

It’s our first Christmas together
And, kid, you’ve no clue what’s in store
You never would guess it but you’re the best present
So much better than all came before!

Putting together our first Christmas tree
To snuggle and drink hot cocoa
And share all our dreams and Christmas memories
To kiss under the mistletoe

All the worries in life. All the stress and the strife
Don’t matter when I hold you near.
I just look in your eyes, my sweet gorgeous surprise,
During Christmas and throughout the year

It’s our first Christmas together
And here’s to so many more
As we grow old together no matter the weather
Here’s to opening another door

It’s our first Christmas together
It’s our first Christmas together
It’s our first Christmas together

5. naughty or nice? (0:37)

6. The Tattletale Elf (3:38)

You’re probably wondering how Santa Claus knows if you’re naughty or nice
While building toys & trips to malls, he still checks that list twice
Well he’s got a little help that may come as quite a surprise
You see that elf that’s your best friend is more than meets the eyes

Chorus
The tattletale elf
He’s watching over you
The tattletale elf
He sees what you do
The tattletale elf
He’s the one that makes the list
The tattletale elf
And there’s nothing he’s missed

The tattletale elf saw mama kissing Santa Claus
The tattletale elf saw daddy kiss him too
And when that elf’s report gets back to Mrs. Claus
Santa Claus will end up black and blue

Chorus

So you’re meemaw got run over by a reindeer
As she was walking drunkenly down the street
You told the cops it must’ve been her eggnog
Instead of how you tripped her with your feet

Chorus

Have you ever clicked agree when you should stop and read?
Do you ever simply sign despite your whole life on the line
Do you ever just say yes when your answer might be other?”
Are you starting to see why your whole world belongs to Big Brother?

Chorus

Oh. your one request to Santa was your two front teeth
But you lost them playing hooky with your brother Keith
So when you get your stocking that is filled with coal
Kindly take two pieces to fill up that hole

Chorus

There’s nothing that he’ll miss.

Let’s kill him!!

7. did i just hear bells? (0:41)

8. The Pickle on the Tree (5:43)

Chorus
Try and find my pickle on the tree
The first to find it gets a special present from me
My pickle is hard to find because it’s so well hung
So hurry up and grab it before this song is sung

Supposedly it was an old German tradition
The last ornament on the ol’ Christmas tree hung
The first child to find it got a Christmas addition
An extra present, a treat, or a year of good fortune

Well weirdly, in Deutschland, not a single male or female
Had heard of this very odd quirk. Huh!
It seemed something afoul was behind this whole tale
That they cleverly coined Weihnachtsgurke

Chorus

Well then it was said that the pickle began with a prisoner in the Civil War
He begged of his guards to spare one final wish as truly it seemed death was lurkin’
And the joy that he felt gave his life great renewal
All because of the gift of the gherkin

When he got back home to his family
He was filled with such glee
That he started the tradition
Of the pickle on the tree

Spoken: No.

Chorus

There’s also the grim tale of the three traveling boys
To rest for the night, they stopped at an inn
Where an evil, thieving innkeeper with no Christmas joys
Dragged them to a pickle barrel and stuffed their dead bodies in

Well that very same night as coincidence enjoys
At the inn, came the real St. Nicholas
He found and brought back to life those three little boys
A charitable act so miraculous

Spoken: Nope

Sung: Try and find my pickle on the—

Little Kid: Found it!

Spoken: No, that’s not a pickle. That’s two peas in a pod.

Little Kid: Aww

Spoken: Let’s continue!

Well come to find out in the 1880s,
Woolworths was selling vegetable ornaments made out of glass
And they may have made up stories to trump up their sales
False advertising so loony and crass

And the way these legends blew up
Gives me such a good tickle
The fact is that every so often my dear
A pickle is just a pickle

If you think you know more about pickles
Than those who live in Berrien Springs
You’d surely be wrong for it was a big dill
They thought the pickle the king of the kings

Chorus

Little Kid: Found it!

Spoken: Yes!

9. The Year They Stopped Giving Toys (4:11)
dedicated to Jason Barker

Every Christmas I’d wake up so early
Would there be Star Wars? GI Joe? Or He-Man so burly?
But in the 5th grade everything changed
And what happened I tell you was very deranged

It was the year they stopped giving toys
They subverted my wish list—that really annoys
It was the year they colluded this plan
To make me more like a grown up—to turn me into a man

It began with the gift of a boxing glove set
With a punching bag even—is this all the gifts that I’ll get?
I could have spit into that little baby’s manger
Sure I gave the bag a punch—but only from anger

It was the year they stopped giving toys
Choosing gifts that would separate the men from the boys
And that was exactly their plan
I can’t even shave! I don’t understand

I was warned to be careful how I look
As I opened the one shaped like a book
A classic they said! About a bunch of sled dogs
Not one single thing from the Sears catalogs!

It was the year they stopped giving toys
They ruined my Christmas and all of its joys
Determined to make me a man
Heck, at this point I’d settle for that dang A-Team van.

I was seriously too young to be forced to grow up
They’re lucky this torture didn’t cause lasting harm
They were trying to butch my nelly self up.
You can see that it worked like a charm—a charm!

It was the year they stopped giving toys
I’d rather eat broccoli if given a choice
I understood Elvis with my Christmas so blue
They really weren’t playing—they got to grandmother, too

Spoken: Then the next year, there was a big box waiting under the tree for me. Oh, I was out of my mind with excitement. What could it be? Surely they had learned their lesson, and it would be a huge play set—the Death Star or Castle Grayskull. I started to unwrap the paper, and I noticed the camera was out and ready. Now you know if that camera is out and ready, there’s going to be some serious stuff in that present. I opened the box and inside was a small, rectangular suitcase. Oh my parents were just busting with anticipation. I open it up. And was it a large Darth Vader action figure? No. Was it Matchbox cars or a Lego set? No. Was it the one thing I’d wanted my whole entire life? A Wonder Woman action figure that you could change her clothes like a Barbie, but it wasn’t a Barbie ‘cause this was superhero stuff we were talking about? No. It was a shiny, golden coronet. Surprise! I was in band—yes. It was replacing a rusty coronet in a dented case with a piece of rope for a handle—true. But I wasn’t having any of it! But then I looked into their faces.

Sung: They were so proud of their gift
I was so sad by this shift
But I simply took it on the chin
While eyeing my baby brother’s brand new Teddy Ruxpin.
Muahahahahaha!

It was the year they stopped giving toys
It was the year it was the year
It was the year it was the year
It was the year they stopped giving toys!
And it could happen to you!

10. dedication to moms (0:21)

11. Mama Made That Home a Winter Wonderland (4:46)

When we were growing up we were kind of poor
Dad left mom to take care of us—he flew right out the door
But she hid her pain and helped us boys to heal
And we never went a day without every single meal

And when Christmastime would come and we would visit the store
I’d drone on about the toys I wanted like a selfish, thoughtless bore
And then mom would tell us boys that we could go and play
So she could sneak to make a payment on that chain store’s layaway

And when Christmas morning would finally arrive
We would wake up and see all the presents and into them we’d dive
And now that I’m a grown man I cannot imagine
How she kept a roof over our heads and filled it up with magic

Chorus
Mama, how did you do it?
As if there were nothing to it.
I simply can not understand
How mama made that home a winter wonderland

Every year she filled our house with decoration
And our home would transform into a great big celebration
And the music would soar, and I’d sing every song
Never ever knowing if anything was ever wrong

Chorus

I took it for granted just what all she did
To make me feel like I was the world’s most special kid
When I think about everything she gave
You are incredibly and endlessly and unbelievably brave!

Chorus x2

12. i won’t be home for christmas (1:00)

13. A Tale of Two Christmases (4:39)

Christmas Eve was filled with family you might call yuppie
Stuffy sweaters, strange dips, and lots of awkward chat
Talk of wines and stock markets and traveling to Europe
And I was the only kid my age on top of that

Chorus
Oh every year I would steel myself
For two Christmases as different as can be
Finding the joy where it could be had
But oh the presents they gave to me

Christmas Day was filled with family you’d call redneck
Sports jerseys, Lone Star beer, and even more awkward chat
Men talking football and the ladies talking gossip
And I was the only kid my age on top of that

Chorus

A Kenny G saxophone solo would usually begin this yearly Yule
Yes, they loved their 80s Christmas music, but otherwise they were pretty cool

They loved their country Christmas and classics from way back
Including Ella Fitzgerald. Just don’t tell them she was black.

Christmas Eve was a reprieve from having to eat yucky vegetables

Shut up, and eat your vegetables, please
You won’t taste em cuz they’re fried and covered in cheese

You should read more instead of just playing with toys

You should play sports, not theatre—be one of the boys

Do you have a girlfriend?

Such a handsome young man

Oh the secrets inside me. Would they ever understand?

Chorus

Christmas Day I was allowed to get dirty
Who cared if I muddied my pants?

But the night before demanded my etiquette
Being rowdy—not even a chance
There was the year I re-created the nutcracker
My sugar plum fairy dazzling the room

With an uncle who annually pulled out his pocketknife and threatened to turn me into a girl
A ballet would have spelled certain doom

Chorus

But the thing about family is that they constantly surprise
Neither side ever stopped loving me when I said who I am
My whole life they’ve all cheered for me at all life events
And both sides are part of what made me a man.

14. for grandma (0:17)

15. Pretty Paper (3:30)
music & lyrics: Willie Nelson
Copyright Sony/ATV Tree Publishing

16. Putting Up (With) the Christmas Tree (4:09)

Spouse #1: How about we do it this way?

Spouse #2: (to himself) Breathe

Spouse #1: Let’s put this one right here

Spouse #2: (to himself) Give him a minute to realize he’s wrong

Spouse #1: This is how we always did it at my house.

Spouse #2: (to himself) I am going to shove that Christmas tree up his—

Every year it’s the same crazy mess
You forget til it smacks you in the face
Putting up the tree can be such a stress
And the first year might feel like a court case

Whether the tree will be short, tall, real, fake
Depends on pets, budget, and allergies
And thats the first step of distress you will take
As you merge your traditions and histories

I want the tree up to go up on Black Friday
He wants it up Christmas Eve
All this work for a last minute display
This is already starting to peeve

I want a tree that’s as classy as me
He wants to cover it in tinsel and foil
So the cat can digest and poop out turds shiny
He just laughs, and it makes my blood boil

Who is this man standing across from me
Covered in lights he’s untangling?
Is this who I married? I’m at a loss you see
With my Christmas he’s constantly mangling

There’s a particular way to light a fake tree
Up the pole and then level by level
The fullness of lights when done correctly
Instead of thrown at the tree like the devil

I want the elegance of blue, silver, and white
He want red, yellow, blue, green
Just choosing a theme could take the whole night
We’re going to need way more caffeine

Who is this man standing across from me
Covered in lights he’s untangling?
Is this who I married? I’m at a loss you see
Please don’t blame me if I suddenly start strangling

The concept that clearly for his mind is too tough
The importance of branch/deco ratio
I just fix it by giving the tree a good fluff
While he’s peeing or making some cocoa

His decorating looks like some kind of torture medieval
Who knew he could be such a slob?
Pagans used evergreen to ward off evil
You can see it’s doing a heck of a job

Spouse #1: (sings) My pickle is hard to find because it’s so well hung.

Spouse #2: (spoken) He knows I hate that song!

Who is this man standing across from me
Covered in lights he’s still untangling?
Is this who I married? I’m at a loss you see
With my Christmas just ruined by wrangling

But then that moment comes
When you turn off the overhead light
And the Christmas tree just sparkles and glistens and hums
And you cuddle and kiss through the night

When you love someone compromise isn’t so bad
Hey— the holidays aren’t always a ball
But the best Christmas we ever had
Was when there was no tree at all.

17. Ave Maria (5:16)
music: Franz Schubert, lyrics: Sir. Walter Scott/Traditional Catholic Prayer 

18. A Nativity Medley (Non finito) (Medley) (6:36)
dedicated to Brenda Music 

“O Little Town of Bethlehem ” music: “St. Louis” Lewis H. Redner, lyrics: Phillips Brooks
“Away in a Manger” music: “Mueller” James R.. Murray, lyrics: unknown
“What Child Is This?” - music: “Greensleeves” 16th Century English Traditional, lyrics: William Chatterton Dix
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” - music: “Mendelsohn” from Festgesang Felix Mendelsson, lyrics: Charles Wesley
“Angels We Have Heard On High” - music: “Gloria” French carol melody, lyrics: French carol, translated by James Chadwick
“Joy to the World” music: Lowell Mason, adapted from “Antioch” from Messiah George Frideric Handel, lyrics: Isaac Watts
“Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah - music: George Frideric Handel, lyrics: Charles Jennings
“O Holy Night” - music: Adolphe Adam, lyrics: Placide Cappeau, translated by John Sullivan Dwight
“Silent Night” - music: “Stille Nacht” Franz Xavier Gruber, lyrics: Josef Mohr, translated by John Freeman Young

19. Will There Be Christmas on Mars? (3:45)
dedicated to DeeAnna L. Row

Parent: Alright, time for bed!

Little Kid: Aww! Just one more story. Please!

Parent: No. It’s time to go to sleep.

Little Kid: I have something very important I wanted to talk to you about.

Parent: And what would that be?

Little Kid: Will there be Christmas on Mars?

Parent: Why would you ask that?

They say we might move to the planet so red
Because we will be abandoning ours
Well there’s one thing that fills my poor mind with such dread
Will there be Christmas on Mars?

Will there be Christmas on Mars?
What would the constellations be like? Would there be different stars?
There’d be plenty of red but would there be green?
Would the Martians be nice or would they be mean?

Will Santa still come with his sled full of toys?
Will he have Rockets for reindeer—ones that NASA employs?
Where would we find a real Christmas tree?
Will there be snow all around? Enough for Frosty?

Because of the distance, the orbit of Mars is double that of the earth
Having to wait twice as long for next Christmas isn’t exactly my idea of mirth

Parent: Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
It’s time to go to sleep!

Little Kid: Will there be Christmas on Mars?
Will we take spaceships to Grandma’s or will we drive cars?
What is going to be our transit?
How will we move on this planet??

Will my letter get to Santa from planet to planet?
The thought that it won’t has me in a deep panic!
If it’s a North Pole he needs, Mars has one of those.
But, it’s fog there, not snow. He’ll need Rudolph’s bright nose.

The planet is smaller, which helps with his goal
As long as he’s not sucked into a blackhole
Will the coal there be red for bad girls and boys?
Will there still be Christmas carols if in space there’s no noise?

It’s about celebrating the birth
Of the one to save the earth
Do we deserve a second planet
When we took this one for granted?

Parent: Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
Go to sleep. Go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby bear cub
It’s time to go to sleep!

Little Kid: Will there be Christmas on Mars?
Will there be Christmas on Mars? (yawns)
Will there be Christmas on Mars?
Will there be Christmas on Mars?

20. we wish you a merry christmas/auld lang syne (medley) (3:02)
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” - music & lyrics: English Traditional
“Auld Lang Syne” - music: Traditional Folk Song, lyrics: Robert Burns 

℗ and © 2018 John Raymond Barker

Original music, lyrics, text, and all arrangements by John Raymond Barker
“Ave Maria” , “A Nativity Medley (Non finito)”, & “we wish you a merry christmas/auld lang syne” arrangements based on public domain sheet music found on Public Domain Information Project pdinfo.com

Produced, Recorded, & Mixed by John Raymond Barker
in New York City September - November 2018

Mastered by Landr

Creative Consulting by Jared R. Pike

All graphic, web, merchandise, & social media design by John Raymond Barker

Headshot photography by Dylan PatrickChildhood photos of me and my baby brother, Jason, from family collection

This album would not have been made possible without the generous support of the following people. I am incredibly grateful and thank them for believing in me and this project:

Matthew Stone & Todd Amdor, Michael Burkett
Jillian Coneys & Connor McDonough, Cindy Bond, Kathy Searle
Anonymous, Lorraine Feeks, Thom Neill, Denise Garza Wasner
Kyle Rostan, Barb in Nashville, DeeAnna L Row

Thank you to my family for helping to create these Christmas memories
(and inspiring the fictional parts).

Thank you to my husband, Jared R.Pike, for all of his guidance, support, love, forgiveness, and for helping to create future Christmas memories.

For updates, official merchandise, & more information, please visit me at www.jerby.com

Read more...

Reviews


to write a review