Saturday, December 11, 2010
a different kind of christmas
I skipped out on doing a Holiday compilation last year, but I wanted to do one again this year. You can download (or just listen to) some of the songs from the compilation below, or you can grab the whole thing from one of the two links below: [Songs and links deleted, sorry.]
1. "Merry Christmas Baby" - Southern Culture On The Skids
First up is Southern Culture On the Skids version of "Merry Christmas Baby." I think Ike & Tina Turner's version of this song is still my favorite. Southern Culture On The Skids can't match Tina's vocal prowess, but they do establish a nice, greasy, groove that is sure to put you in the Yuletide spirit.
2. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" - Woody Herman & His Orchestra
One of the most beloved Christmas songs, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" raises some troubling questions about Santa Claus that are rarely addressed in our consumerism crazed society. Namely, are the presents that we get from Santa on Christmas worth the price of having our privacy invaded all year long? I thought about this a lot when I was a kid, I mean the dude sees everything. That was something that was always very difficult for me to come to terms with. But as we get older we become more sophisticated and find other things to worry about. Like for example, even if we trust Santa Claus, how can we be sure that the data that he collects on us is secure and won't fall into the wrong hands? I mean, it's one thing to end up on Santa's naughty list and get nothing but a lump of coal on Christmas morning, but what if one of Santa's elves leaks the naughty list to Julian Assange? Do I really want the whole world to find out I've been naughty via Wikileaks?
3. "Jingle Bells" - Benny Carter & Swing Quintet
Another swinging visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.
4. "Run Rudolph Run" - Chuck Berry
5. "I Want To Spend Christmas With Elvis (Heartbreak Noel)" - Debbie Dabney
Debbie Dabney says if she doesn't get to spend Christmas with Elvis it will be a Heartbreak Noel, but in a pinch she might settle for Gene Vincent.
6. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Foghat
What would Christmas be without Foghat? For most of us it would pretty much be a normal Christmas, but I've always enjoyed "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which is one of the five or ten best "you're all I want for Christmas" themed songs.
7. "There's Trouble Brewin'" - Jack Scott
I think I put Jack Scott's "There's Trouble Brewin'" on a previous Flowering Toilet holiday compilation. So what? Here it is again. This is one of the all-time great Santa Claus as sexual rival songs.
8. "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" - Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra
More Christmas swing.
9. "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" - Esquivel
I find the civil liberties issues raised by Santa's data mining techniques so troubling that I included a second version of this song on this year's compilation. Think about it people.
10. "Rocking Disco Santa Claus" - The Sisterhood
The American Song-Poem Christmas: Daddy Is Santa Really Six Foot Four? is one of my favorite Christmas albums, and I give it my highest Yuletide recommendation. Drawn from "song-poems" written by regular folks and performed by bored studio musicians, I find many of these songs both fascinating and strangely touching.
11. "Jingle Jangle" - The Penguins
12. "Jingle Bells" - Duke Ellington
13. "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer" - Pony Poindexter
14. "Winter Wonderland [78 Take]" - Chet Baker
What can I say? I guess I'm in a jazzy mood this Christmas.
15. "Rockin' Santa Claus" - The Martels
16. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - The Three Suns
A Ding-Dong Dandy Christmas by The Three Suns is one of my favorite Christmas albums.
17. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" - The Fall
Did I ever tell you about the time I went on a beer run for Mark E. Smith? Someday I will.
18. "Reindeer Boogie" - Hank Snow
Another popular formula for Christmas songs is to do a seasonal take on one of your big non-seasonal hits. So if you're Carla Thomas you might turn "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" into "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas." If you're Hank Snow you might rework "Rhumba Boogie" as "Reindeer Boogie." How could you resist?
19. "Daddy's Drinking Up Our Christmas" - Commander Cody
Another beloved Christmas classic.
20. "Sleigh Bell Rock" - Three Aces And A Joker
21. "Santa Came On A Nuclear Missile" - Heather Noel
Another one from the American Song-Poem Christmas compilation. I don't even know what to say about this song. You just have to hear it.
22. "Monster's Holiday" - Bobby Boris Pickett & The Crypt Kickers
At first blush this might look like another attempt to transform a prior hit into a Christmas favorite. But what would you say if I told you that "Monster's Holiday" actually pre-dates "The Monster Mash"? If you said, "I think you're pulling my leg," you would be right.
23. "Happy New Year Baby" - Johnny Otis & His Orchestra
24. "Presents For Christmas" - Solomon Burke
Oh dear, rest in peace sweet soul man. Solomon Burke will be missed.
25. "The Christmas Song" - Jack Teagarden
Somehow everything Jack Teagarden sings sounds old. Of course "The Christmas Song" is kind of old, but when Big T sings it, it sounds a couple centuries older than it actually is.