Recording group Gunboat Diplomats livens up holidays with ‘relentlessly chipper’ song

New Year celebration 1940
New Year Celebration 1940; National Photo Company Collection; gifted by Herbert A. French, US Library of Congress.

Musical group Gunboat Diplomats never ceases to surprise me, and the latest release holds to that standard. I’ve praised the work of this recording group before, often calling attention to their lyrics for artistic merit. Some of their songs have dark undertones—I really like that. I mean, how many musicians write songs with a nod to Albert Camus? I’d wager more than half of those under 40 couldn’t pick Camus out of a literary lineup on paper.

Gunboat Diplomats Take It in art
Artwork for “Take It in” courtesy of Gunboat Diplomats

A new holiday release, however, isn’t dark at all. The song “Take It in” is perky and hopeful, and in an email, Gunboat Smith (aka Keith) described the song as having “relentlessly chipper, happy-go-lucky, unbearably upbeat lyrics.” I have to say, the song is “relentlessly chipper”, and with good cause. Who wants to walk around depressed as the new year rolls in?

What’s interesting to me above all else is that this song isn’t about the big Kahuna of US retail holidays—Christmas. “Take It in” is a New Year’s song. Other than “Auld Lang Syne,” a song with lyrics created by a poet in the land of some of my ancestors, I don’t know, off the cuff, many contemporary new year’s songs.

“Take It in” is a call for hope, a reminder of the wealth of goodies this world offers us if we take our blinders off. The last four lines in particular spoke to me, because that’s pretty much part of my outlook on life:

“(Take It In) A coin in the fountain
(Take It In) Hasn’t a care
(Take It In) Climbing a mountain
(Take It In) Just ’cause it’s there”

Gunboat Diplomats, as far as I know, hasn’t had area media knocking repeatedly at their door, but they should be. These musicians who don’t perform as a band but record consistently as a group have come up with some amazing music—so amazing one of their songs is featured in M. Night Shyamalan’s recent film Glass. Their music is also all over the world via Internet and traditional radio. I guess I’ll never figure today’s establishment media out. I see reporters praise some musicians (and I wonder why at times), and ignore others who accomplish so much.

At any rate, give “Take It in” a listen. It’s featured on the page for their album A Song for All Seasons.

It put a smile on my face. And as the holidays approach, I was pleasantly surprised by that “chipper” song that issues a siren call to all who feel down around the holidays. Go out and find something or someone who gives you a lift, or who you can give a lift to [Note to grammar cops: yes, it should be “whom” at the end of the sentence, but that hurts my ear so I am bending the language].

If you can’t get out of the house, as the song says, “grab the telephone.”

Hat tip to one of the most talented, authentic recording groups in the Sunshine State.

(Kay B. Day/Dec. 4, 2019)

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