In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re picking our favorite Christmas songs about mind-altering substances.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Willie Nelson has leant his voice to a song about every single slightly taboo topic. Broken promises? Check. Cheating? Check. Whiskey? Duh. A weed-peddling wise man? Check.
The last one comes courtesy of A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All!, which came out as both a TV special and an album in 2008. Nelson plays the fourth wise man and pays a visit to Colbert to duet on “Little Dealer Boy.” Written by David Javerbaum and Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, “Little Dealer Boy” tells the story of the forgotten fourth wise man who, in lieu of gold or silver, brings “a plant that smokes more sweetly than either frankincense or myrrh.” It’s funny, for sure, as Nelson equates Jesus with pot—both of which are “mild, [yet] strong.” But it’s also a touch poignant, with the track reminding listeners, “let not mankind bogart love.”