PermaLink Better music for Christmas12/25/2006 10:53 PM

I have a truly insane collection of Christmas music, stuff most people don't even know exists.  I pull it out once a year.
I am up at Suzanne's... we made turkey (left over from Thanksgiving, but still excellent) and pie and shrimp and stuff.  We gave each other strange and interesting gifts, gave the rabbits all sorts of strange vegetation to ingest, and watched a lot of football.  And, of course, listened to a lot of music.

I really should take up doing my podcast again.  The last episode I posted was exactly a year ago, from Batavia, New York, where I did a Christmas show featuring some of the strange and amazing Christmas music I collect.  I could probably do a whole year's worth of podcasts just on that topic...  just the stuff I have on iTunes on this iBook occupies more than ten hours' worth, over 180 songs, and I know that that's a small portion of what I actually have.  I only cart around the cool stuff, so if you want to listen to Julie Andrews and Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, you'll have to show up and the house and paw around in my crates of LPs.

Some samples (you'll have to go Kazaa them yourself):

"We Want To See Santa Do The Mambo,"  Big John Greer, 1953.  The Fifties were the golden age for new Christmas music, a time when it just wouldn't do to re-record "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" yet again, as most modern country artists seem to do.  Nope, let's write new stuff and make it stick to the fads of the time.  So, right up there with Ruth Brown's "Mambo Baby," this nails 1953 as the Year Of The Mambo.  Sh'yeah.

"Blue Xmas,"  Bob Dorough with Miles Davis, 1959.  The ultimate cool-jazz anti-carol, this song actually memorializes Dorough singing the word "xmas" exactly as it looks.  For reference, Bob Dorough wrote a lot of the music that went into ABC's Schoolhouse Rock in the 1970s, and when on tour, he still performs "Conjunction Junction."

"Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass," The Arrogant Worms, 1998.  They're Canadian, eh?  I guess I don't need to say more.

"Daddy Drank Our Xmas Money,"  TVTV$, 1982.  "Kids, I spent all the money on alcohol.  BUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRP!  Well, at least I got a buzz..."  "Daddy drank our Christmas money, let's go kick his butt..."

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,"  Joseph Spence, c.1965.  My ex-wife and I referred to this track as "Santa Otter," because Spence sings the track as if he's about to yack up a hairball containing sea urchin spines or something.  While it appears on a Dr. Demento CD collection, it's actually oddly compelling.

"I Want A Present For Christmas," J.B. Summers, 1955.  Got to love a straightforward r'n'b track like that... "I want a big pair o' stockings, any kinda gauge.  You can fill up those stockin's with some girl my age, I want a present for Christmas...  Tired of bein' alone..."

"Santa Claus is Coming To Town," Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond, 1961.  Be sure and get this one, though if you fuck up and get the one that features Gerry Mulligan with Brubeck, it's worth listening to as well.  The solo is classic Desmond, quoting among other things an old Glenn Miller recording of "Sunrise Serenade" or possibly "Perfidia."

"Please Come Home For Christmas," James Brown, 1967.  Because.  Gonna miss you, Boss.  You paid the cost to be the Boss.

Go party, go to the mall and buy cheap sale stuff tomorrow, enjoy your week off.  Lotusphere is less than four weeks away.  I think.
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1. Christine12/28/2006 11:28:14 PM

I subscribe to XM satellite radio, and over the holidaze, they have several Christmas music channels. My fave is "Special Xmas". where they play all of the weird stuff. Where else can you hear the Del Rubio Triplets anymore, or RuPaul singing "RuPaul, the Red-Nosed Drag Queen"?

They also play that "Chipmunks Roasting On An Open Fire" thing. That is just too funny!

But that "Santa's Coming and He's Gonna Kick Your Ass" song, also played a lot on Special Xmas, has been an earworm for me lately. I don't know why. But it's been alternating with Denis Leary's "Merry Fucking Christmas". Even days after Christmas is over.

I'm glad it's over now!

2. ChangeWarrior (Deb)12/28/2006 10:57:40 AM

Hey, yer missing one of my faves...'Norman the Three-Legged Squirrel'. Can't remember the name of the guy who sings it, but he is Canadian, and it is a Christmas song. Jonvon sent a good one out the other day too. It was 'Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire' (to the tune of the Christmas Song).

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