Guess I should post a tracklist, eh?
- The Nap After Christmas, and Peggy Hill captures the spirit of the season.
- “Christmas Rhapsody” The Pledge Drive
- “Back In Town” Wiretree
- “Hit The Snow” The Aislers Set
- “Winter Wonderland” Phantom Planet
- “Joseph Who Understood” The New Pornographers
- “It’s Christmas (But I Don’t Care)” Brad Laner
- “Christmas Bring Us” The Gripweeds
- “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Dean Martin
10.“Hark The Herald” The Fab Four
11.“Jangle Bells” Love Tractor
12.“3 Ghosts (A Modern Christmas Carol)” The Boss Martians
13.“I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You” Margo Guryan
14.“White Christmas” Frank Sinatra
15.“Christmastime Is Here Again” The Flirtations
16.“Sleigh Ride” The Ventures
17.“Run Rudolph” Dave Edmunds
18.“Merry Christmas Baby” Otis Redding
19.“Christmas (I Remember)” The Smithereens
20.“Winter Must Be Cold” The Apples In Stereo
21.“Christmas Blues No. 2” American Suitcase
22.“The Christmas Sound” The Swimmers
23.“The Blizzard” Camera Obscura
- Those dadgum boys of the NYPD Choir continue to make with the “Galway Bay” even as the bells of Christmas Day attempt to drown them out. Merry Christmas!
[i]The Pledge Drive is actually one of many noms de rock that an amazingly talented fellow named Tim Walters goes by; I met him because he and I are both on the Loud Family Email list-serve. Every year one of Tim’s bands puts out a Christmas song. Most years, he plays it pretty straight; in 2005, he didn’t. I’ve been holding onto this song, not sure if it was too long or if it worked, but what the hey. I like it.
The New Pornographers tune is maybe the only Christmas song I know that considers the plight of poor Joseph. You can just imagine him coming home from work one day, exhausted from a long day of carpentry, and his fiancee tells him “Joe, I’m pregnant. Obviously, since I won’t let you touch me, you’re not the father. God is. No, really. And I’m still a virgin. By the way, the kid is going to be the Son of God. Oh, and we’re gonna need to walk across the country. Well, you’ll walk–I’m riding the donkey. Hope that works for you.”
Brad Laner was the guitarist/singer/songwriter in the best My Bloody Valentine soundalike band ever, a group called Medicine. He also was in a band with one of the guys from Tool for a while. Now he produces and does solo stuff from his huge, state of the art home studio. No one buries a sly hook in such difficult music as Brad Laner.
“Christmas Bring Us” is a little taste of what you might’ve gotten if 1967-era The Who had recorded a Christmas single. (No, the song from Tommy just doesn’t work in a mix, try as I might.)
The Fab Four are four very clever fellows who try to do the Beatles cover-band thing. They’ve got two albums of fun re-writes of Christmas tunes with a Mersey twist on 'em. This one is my favorite.
Dave Edmunds is well-known as a guitarist and cohort of folks like Nick Lowe and even a certain Mr. Costello. While his guitar and spot-on Chuck Berry vocal impersonation are great here, whoever it is beating that piano into splinters is the real hero of this version of “Rudolph”.
There are two versions of “Merry Christmas Baby” from which every other one is sprung. A bluesman named Charles Brown did the first one. His “MCB” is a slow, languid, blues shuffle, and was the original. Otis Redding rewrote the melody a bit, and sped the thing up, and turned it into a joyful soul shouter (sadly, he recorded the vocal just before he was killed in that plane crash; Steve Cropper went back and added his killer guitar part and the horns and the signature organ that opens the song.) Here’s the problem: a number of modern singers have attempted to do Otis’s melody version…only slowed down to the same tempo as Charles Brown’s version. That dog don’t hunt. You either bash through this song like you can’t wait to open your presents, or you sing it with quiet mournfulness…but you don’t try to combine it. You know what? Whatever singer you are, you ain’t gonna top Otis (and especially the sheer joy of his “Hahaha” in the bridge), so just don’t even bother, ok? [/i]