Archive

Archive for the ‘X-Mas’ Category

Christmas mix, not for mother

December 21st, 2015 15 comments

I am reposting this mix from seven years ago (before I made home-cooked covers) as a way of letting everybody know that all links to the Christmas mixes should be up-to-date now. I re-upped four mixes today.

This mix is most certainly not in keeping with the season to be jolly. As the title suggests, it’s not what you’ll bring to mother for Christmas lunch or dinner.

Some of the stuff is downright strange (TVTV$, Mr Lif), some of it pretty amusing (Ben Folds), some bitter (Rilo Kiley), some sad (Kevin Devine), some scroogey (Waits & Murphy), some classic (Run DMC, Waitresses) and a couple are simply great songs for any time of the year (especially John Prine’s Christmas In Prison).

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. PW in comments.

Santa's image consultants earned their Christmas bonus this year.

Santa’s image consultants earned their Christmas bonus this year.

1. The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
2. Green Day – Christmas Day
3. Eels – Christmas Is Going To The Dogs
4. Arcade Fire – Jinglebell Rock
5. Ben Folds – The Bizarre Christmas Incident
6. The Young Republic – Merry Christmas Again…
7. Low – Just Like Christmas
8. The Raveonettes – Come On Santa
9. Rufus Wainwright – Spotlight on Christmas
10. John Prine – Christmas In Prison
11. Kevin Devine – Splitting Up Christmas
12. Saint Etienne – I Was Born On Christmas Day
13. The dB’s – Christmas Time
14. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
15. Firefox AK & Tiger Lou – Christmas Eve
16. Jill Sobule – (Christmas Is) The Saddest Day Of The Year
17. Rilo Kiley – Christmas Cake
18. Tom Waits & Peter Murphy – Christmas Sucks!
19. Home Grown – Christmas Crush
20. Yo La Tengo – Rock n Roll Santa
21. TVTV$ – Daddy Drank Our Xmas Money
22. Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis
23. Bootsy Collins – Santa’s Coming
24. Mr. Lif – Santa’s Got A Muthafuckin’ Uzi

GET IT!

More Christmas Mixes

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major X-Mas Favourites

December 17th, 2015 11 comments

Any Major X-Mas Favourites

The alert ones among loyal readers of this little corner of he Internet may have picked up that I have a thing for Christmas music. Please be invited to check out past collections posted here. This year I have only one mix to offer, and that one includes many repeats from previous collections — and yet, I think it’s a pretty special mix.

This is the first of my Christmas Greatest Hits, some of my favourites, the songs I play and, in most cases, have long played during my Christmases. Many of these are the songs the young adults in our family grew up with and associate with the feast, and the spirit of love in which we have celebrated it. This is the sound of my Christmas (as will be the follow-up, for which you’ll have to wait a year).

Some of the inclusions are no-brainers. The trio of glam hits by Slade, Wizzard and Elton John are indispensible, so are the pop classics such as those by Springsteen and Mariah Carey, and so are the old chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And I want no other person wishing me a merry little Christmas but Lou Rawls.

One might argue about the versions of the Christmas standards I’m using here. I’m quite certain Perry Como’s rendition of Silver Bells does not represent an apex in the song’s recorded history — but that’s the version I have played for many years, even before blogs and torrents. My attachment to it is emotional, even if the backing vocals are cheesy. Likewise Sinatra’s Jingle Bells. I generally loathe the song, except in this version from 1957, which forms part of my Christmas soundtrack.

And here is a Christmas challenge: sing the very last line of this compilation in the voice of the artist, Billy May.

Finally, if you are of a certain age, you might enjoy this step-by-step comparison of Christmas in the 1970s and Christmas today.

I will take next week off, but hope to have something nice for your New Year’s Eve the week after.

Have a merry Christmas, may your yuletide be bright.

1. The Jackson 5 – Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year (1970)
2. Rosie Thomas – Why Can’t It Be Christmas All Year? (2008)
3. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You (1994)
4. Slade – Merry Xmas Everbody (1973)
5. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (1973)
6. Elton John – Step Into Christmas (1973)
7. Dana – It’s Gonna Be A Cold Christmas (1975)
8. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1985)
9. Donnie Hathaway – This Christmas (1970)
10. The Flirtations – Christmas Time Is Here Again (1968)
11. William Bell – Everyday Will Be A Holiday (1969)
12. Lou Rawls – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1967)
13. Andy Williams – Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season (1963)
14. Angela Lansbury – We Need A Little Christmas (1966)
15. Frank Sinatra – Jingle Bells (1957)
16. Nat ‘King’ Cole – The Christmas Song (1956)
17. Perry Como – Silver Bells (1968)
18. Jack Jones – Sleigh Ride (1964)
19. Dean Martin – Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer (1959)
20. Sammy Davis Jr – Christmas Time All Over The World (1965)
21. Carpenters – Merry Christmas Darling (1970)
22. Marilyn Monroe – Santa Baby (1954)
23. Bob B Soxx and Blue Jeans – Here Comes Santa Claus (1963)
24. Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas (1957)
25. Billy May – Do You Believe In Santa Claus (1950)

GET IT AND BE JOLLY!

 

More Christmas mixes
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

The Christmas Originals
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2

December 18th, 2014 14 comments

Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2

I posted much of this mix six years ago, and several people have asked me to re-post the 2008 compilation. This isn’t the exact same mix, but what I hope is an improved version. Some tracks on the old mix have been used on others since, and a few songs included now are much better than those they replace.

The Beatles song comes from a 1968 recording for their fan club. It’s not quite in the class of, say, Strawberry Fields, but it is The Beatles, singing an original Christmas song most people have not heard.

Six years ago I suggested that Rosie Thomas’ Why Can’t It Be Christmas All Year, then newly released, should become a Christmas pop standard. That hasn’t happened, though it still should. In fact, she has released only one album since her lovely A Very Rosie Christmas, partly owing to illness. Spresad the word about the song; it really is great.

Neil Diamond’s Christmas song is a bit unusual: it riffs on titles from his songs, from Cherry Cherry to the wonderful Amazing Grace in 2005.

This is the 17th Christmas mix I’ve posted. Here are the previous 16 in one pic. Find them all HERE or look at the end of the post for the individual links.

Xmas gallery

As always, CD-R length, home-wrapped covers, PW the same as every time.

Here’s wishing you a merry Christmas; see you in the New Year. I will be out of here until January 8.

1. Twisted Sister – Deck The Halls (2006)
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime (1997)
3. Manic Street Preachers – Last Christmas (live) (2003)
4. Rosie Thomas – Why Can’t It Be Christmas All Year? (2008)
5. The Temptations – This Christmas (1980)
6. The Jackson Five – Give Love On Christmas Day (1968)
7. Take 6 – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1999)
8. Carpenters – Merry Christmas Darling (1970)
9. She & Him – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (2011)
10. Ron Sexsmith – Maybe This Christmas (2002)
11. The Weepies – All That I Want (2003)
12. Neil Diamond – Cherry Cherry Christmas (2009)
13. Chris Isaak – Christmas On TV (2004)
14. El Vez – Santa Claus Is Sometimes Brown (2000)
15. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1985)
16. Dana – It’s Gonna Be A Cold Christmas (1975)
17. B.B. Jeans & the Bobby Sox – Here Comes Santa Claus (1963)
18. Koko Taylor – Merry, Merry Christmas (1992)
19. Nicole Atkins – Blue Christmas (2008)
20. Chris Rea – I’m Driving Home (1985)
21. They Might Be Giants – Santa’s Beard (1988)
22. Weezer – Christmas Celebration (2000)
23. Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Let’s Boogey To The Elf Dance! (2003)
24. The Beatles – Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (1968)

GET IT!

 

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
The Christmas Originals
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

 

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Carols

December 11th, 2014 14 comments

Any Major Christmas Carols

This year a new Christmas mix: pop artists (using the term broadly) doing traditional  Christmas carols. There’s not much by way of irony going on here, though the levels of sincere religious sentiment obviously vary. I suppose the Staple Singers, who were primarily a gospel act, are more sincere than the Crash Test Dummies, whose vocals might startle grandmother a little.

Many of the artists, of course, give the carols some interpretation that relate to their genre. I have avoided the insufferable wispy songbirds who breathe through their sensitive versions of Silent Night. What songbirds are featured here do not breathe their carols, and Silent Night is covered by The Temptations, who are not wispy at all. As far as interpretative chops go, I particularly love The Gaylads’ delightful soul version of We Three Kings from 1970.

One might be pedantic and question whether Go Tell It On The Mountain is really a Christmas carol, in the traditional sense of the word. It is really a spiritual, but I see no reason why these should not also form part of the canon of carols. So should Mary’s Boy Child, written in the 1950s, What Child Is This, from 1962, and arguably even When A Child Is Born, from the 1970s. If it refers to the religious element of the feast of the Nativity, then it’s a Christmas carol. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t. But where would that rule leave the traditional English carol from 1850, Here We Come A-Wassailing, which makes no reference to the birth of Christ?

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-baked covers. Password in comments. Feel free to add to the comments! Next Thursday: a Christmas pop mix.

1. The Bird And The Bee – Carol Of The Bells (2007)
2. Musiq Soulchild – Deck The Halls (2008)
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – Away In A Manger (2014)
4. Luther Vandross – O Come All Ye Faithful (1995)
5. Aaron Neville – O Little Town of Bethlehem (1993)
6. Harry Belafonte – The Son Of Mary (What Child Is This) (1958)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – The First Noel (1967)
8. Nat King Cole – O Holy Night (1963)
9. Bobby Darin – While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (1960)
10. Johnny Cash – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (1980)
11. Jewel – Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (1999)
12. Etta James – Joy To The World (1998)
13. Mel Tormé – Good King Wenceslas (1992)
14. Crash Test Dummies – God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (2002)
15. Don Grusin – Angels We Have Heard On High (2005)
16. Nils Landgren – Ding Dong Merrily On High (2012)
17. Vanessa Williams – The Holly And The Ivy (2004)
18. Kate Rusby – Here We Come A-Wassailing (2008)
19. Sufjan Stevens – Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming (2002)
20. Robin Gibb – Once In Royal David’s City (2007)
21. The Gaylads – We Three Kings (1970)
22. The Staple Singers – Go Tell It On The Mountain (1962)
23. The Temptations – Silent Night (1980)

GET IT!

 

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
The Christmas Originals
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Smooth Christmas Vol. 2

December 19th, 2013 10 comments

Any Smooth Christmas Vol. 2

I think I might have exhausted the reservoir of great Christmas Soul from the 1960s and ’70s with the trio of Any Major Soul Christmas mixes (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Vol. 3). Like the first volume of the Any Smooth Christmas, this mix includes seasonal songs by soul (or soul-ish) acts mainly from the past 30 years. Though some sound a lot older.

Here, Aretha Franklin covers one of my favourite Christmas pop songs, The O’Jays’ “Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without the One You Love)”, while The O’Jays do “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, a song I like best in Lou Rawls’ version which appeared on the first Smooth mix, while Lou does his excellent thing on “Merry Christmas Baby”, a song which featured on the first mix in the O’Jays version. Confused? Relax by putting on this kicked back mix.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes ho-ho-home-made covers. PW in comments.

And with that I wish you a very happy Christmas

1. Blind Boys Of Alabama – Last Month Of The Year
2. Lou Rawls – Merry Christmas Baby
3. Aretha Franklin – Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without The One You Love)
4. Bobby Womack – Dear Santa Claus
5. Ray Charles – Christmas Time
6. The O’Jays – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
7. Alexander O’Neal – The Christmas Song
9. Vanessa Williams – Merry Christmas Darling
10. Take 6 – Christmas Time Is Here
11. Patti LaBelle – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
12. The Stylistics – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
13. Bill Withers – The Gift Of Giving
14. Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson – As Long As There’s Christmas
15. Luther Vandross – This Is Christmas
16. BeBe & CeCe Winans – Silver Bells
17. Candi Staton – Christmas In My Heart
18. Will Downing – Love On Christmas Morning
19. Laima – Blue Christmas
20. CeeLo Green – What Christmas Means To Me
21. Aaron Neville – White Christmas
22. Natalie Cole – Jingle Bells

GET IT

.

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
The Christmas Originals
Any Major Christmas Pop
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas in Black and White Vol. 3

December 12th, 2013 11 comments

Any Major Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3

In 2009 I put up two well-received mixes of Christmas recordings from the 1930s to early ’60s, calling the shebang Christmas in Black & White (HERE and HERE). And, like the football world cup, another instalment arrives four years later.

Of course, this being Christmas and the time before colour was invented, there’s a lot of cheese involved. But, hey, what would Christmas be without it? And there is much that is wonderful to make up for it, especially Ella’s take on “The Christmas Song”, and the cool jazz section in the middle (the drums on the Lionel Hampton track!). And how lovely is “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot” by British singer Lita Roza? Also, do check out a young Aretha Franklin getting into the mistletoeing spirit of it all.

I’m not sure whether this compilation constitutes another mortar in the War on Christmas (™ Fox “News” and Britain’s Daily Stürmer). None of these songs are speaking of the Reason for the Season as embraced by the fear-mongering Tea Party demagogues: serving the Lord of Mammon by means of excess commercialism. I wonder what those idiots would make of the grinching Christmas, Not For Mother mix (link of which is live again).

I have considered doing a mix of Christmas songs that might appeal to that other bogeyman of Fox and Limbaugh, the Marxist Pope Francis; but that will have to wait till next year. Instead I’ll have another soulful seasonal mix next week, just in time for Christmas.

As  ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-jinglebelled covers. PW in comments.

1. Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians – Ring Those Christmas Bells (1959)
2. Alma Cogan – Christmas Cards (1954)
3. Rosemary Clooney & Gene Autry – The Night Before Christmas Song (1952)
4. Ella Fitzgerald – The Christmas Song (1960)
5. Aretha Franklin – Kissin’ By The Mistletoe (1963)
6. Doris Day – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1964)
7. Lita Roza – The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (1953)
8. Nat ‘King’ Cole – Toys For Tots (1956)
9. The Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo – Merry Christmas Polka (1949)
10. Fats Waller – Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells (1936)
11. Lionel Hampton – Gin For Christmas (1939)
12. Louis Armstrong and the Commanders – Cool Yule (1953)
13. Louis Prima – Shake Hands With Santa Claus (1958)
14. The Enchanters – Mambo Santa Mambo (1957)
15. Perry Como & the Fontane Sisters – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (1951)
16. Mills Brothers – Here Comes Santa Claus (1959)
17. The De John Sisters – The Only Thing I Want For Christmas (1955)
18. Harry Belafonte – Christmas Is Coming (1958)
19. Vera Lynn – I’m Sending A Letter To Santa Claus (1945)
20. Johnny Mercer – Winter Wonderland (1946)
21. Dinah Washington – Ole Santa (1959)
22. Julie London – I’d Like You For Christmas (1958)
23. Connie Francis – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1959)
24. Frank Sinatra – White Christmas (1946)
25. The Beverley Sisters – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1953)
26. Dick Roman – Christmas Village (1962)
27. Dickie Valentine – Christmas Alphabet (1955)
28. Eddie Fisher – You’re All I Want For Christmas (1952)

GET IT

A first version of the mix mis-identifed the artist for track 21. A new file with the amended cover, tracklisting etc was uploaded on Friday, Dec 23. If you DLed the mix before that, the corrected back-cover is at the foot of this post.

.

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
The Christmas Originals
Any Major Christmas Pop
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White
More Christmas In Black & White
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Any Major Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3 - back

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

The Christmas Originals

November 28th, 2013 13 comments

The Christmas Originals

We hear them in dozens of different versions, in the malls and on mixes offered by bloggers. The secular Christmas carols feature on the latest seasonal CD, perhaps recorded because of contractual obligations, perhaps because these things sell. And with the versions of these Christmas songs seemingly multiplying every season, it becomes almost immaterial who sang them first. Except for this blog. So here are 21 originals of famous Christmas songs.

The origins of the first two are pretty well-known, but the popular versions of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Nat ‘King’ Cole’s The Christmas Song are later recordings. Featured on this mix are Bing’s recording of the song in the 1942 film Holiday Inn; Cole’s is from the 1940s (not quite the first version, I think, but a live recording by the King Cole Trio nonetheless). Both songs, incidentally, were written in hot weather, as was, of course, Sammy Cahn and July Styne’s Let It Snow!, written in July 1945, and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride.

Crosby and Reynolds practise singing what would become the biggest hit ever in the film Holiday Inn.

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds (channeling Martha Mears) practise singing what would become the biggest hit ever in the 1942 film Holiday Inn.

 

Bing actually performed White Christmas earlier than in the film, on his The Kraft Music Hall radio show on Christmas Day 1941. He recorded it in May 1942; this recording, included here as a bonus track, was issued in July that year to coincide with the release of Holiday Inn. In the film Crosby’s character teaches the song to Marjorie Reynolds’ character, whose voice was dubbed by Martha Mears. Mears also dubbed the singing for the likes of Rita Haworth, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young, Hedy Lamarr, Veronica Lake and Lucille Ball.

Bing was a Christmas song specialist. He also recorded the first version of I’ll Be Home For Christmas (written from the perspective of a World War 2 soldier, hence the final line), and he was the first to release Silver Bells on record. Actually, the song — originally intended to be called “Tinkle Bells” — was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell during the filming of The Lemon Drop Kid in summer 1950. But the film wasn’t released until March 1951. In the interim Bing and Carol Richards recorded Silver Bells in October 1950. Owing to the success of that recording, Hope and Maxwell refilmed a more refined version of the song.

Some songs here are older than one might think, such as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, first recorded in 1934, or Winter Wonderland (also 1934); others are much younger than one might expect, such as Little Drummer Boy (1955), Holly Jolly Christmas (1964) and Do You Hear What I Hear (1962).

You might associate If Every Day Was Like Christmas with Elvis, who released it as a single in 1966. The year before, it was written and recorded by his close friend and bodyguard Red West, under the name Bobby West. He fell out with Elvis shortly before The King’s death in 1977, after West wrote a revealing book titled Elvis, What Happened?. Elvis fans still haven’t forgiven the man.

When A Child Is Born was a huge Christmas hit for Johnny Mathis in 1976, but it was originally a secular pop song. The melody, titled “Soleado” was composed in 1972 by Ciro Dammicco for the Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble (included as a bonus track). With lyrics added, German Schlager singer Michael Holm had a massive hit with it in 1974 under the title “Tränen lügen nicht” (Tears don’t lie). At the same, Holm recorded an English version of it, with its Christmas-themed lyrics by Fred Jay — two years before Mathis did.

One inclusion here is not a full track, but features briefly in a trailer for a TV movie of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. Mistletoe And Wine was a Cliff Richard UK #1 in 1988. It was originally performed in 1976 in the musical Scraps, based on the Andersen tale. In 1986 the play was filmed for TV, now under Andersen’s title, starring Roger Daltrey and Twiggy, who sings it in character as a Victorian prostitute. For Cliff Richard’s version, the lyrics were altered to reflect the singer’s brand of Christianity.

By far the oldest of all recordings here is that of Jingle Bells, which forms part of a skit recorded in 1898. By then it was already a classic, by way of sheet music, having been first published in 1857. Originally it was intended as a song for Thanksgiving.

 

1. Bing Crosby & Martha Mears – White Christmas (from the film Holiday Inn, 1942)
2. King Cole Trio – The Christmas Song (1946)
3. Vaughn Monroe – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1946)
4. Gene Autry – Here Comes Santa Claus (1947)
5. Boston Pops Orchestra – Sleigh Ride (1948)
6. Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock (1957)
7. Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby (1953)
8. Bing Crosby – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1943)
9. The Trapp Family Singers – Carol Of The Drum (Little Drummer Boy, 1955)
10. Michael Holm – When A Child Is Born (1974)
11. Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (1963)
12. Bobby West – If Every Day Was Like Christmas (1965)
13. Harry Simeone Chorale – Do You Hear What I Hear (1962)
14. Bing Crosby & Carol Richards – Silver Bells (1950)
15. Richard Himber and his Orchestra – Winter Wonderland (1934)
16. Harry Reser and his Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1934)
17. Gene Autry – Frosty The Snowman (1950)
18. Jimmy Boyd – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1952)
20. Edison Male Quartette – Sleigh Ride Party/Jingle Bells (1898)
21. Twiggy – Mistletoe And Wine (excerpt from The Little Matchgirl trailer, 1986)
Bonus: Bing Crosby with Ken Darby Singers – White Christmas (1942)
Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble – Soleado (1974)

GET IT

.

The Originals

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
Any Major Christmas Pop
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White
More Christmas In Black & White
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Categories: The Originals, X-Mas Tags:

Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

December 24th, 2012 11 comments

 

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was written by Johnny Marks, to whom we also owe X-Mas staples such as Rockin’ Round The Christmas Tree and A Holly Jolly Christmas, as well as Chuck Berry’s Run, Rudolph Run.

Rudolph was invented in 1939 by Johnny’s brother-in-law Robert L May, a copywriter, as part of a marketing campaign for department store/mail order company Montgomery Ward. Drawing inspiration from the tale of the Ugly Duckling and his own experience of being bullied for being slightly built, he contrived the story of reindeer-turned-hero. He had previously considered the names Reginald and Rollo before settling on Rudolph. By 1946, some six million copies of the story had been distributed.

These were more charitable times than ours. May’s wife had been diagnosed with cancer around the time he wrote Rudolph, and by 1947 he was financially crippled. Montgomery Ward, who held the copyright to the story, having commissioned it, generously ceded it to the writer, who did well from subsequent licensing, including a cartoon short.

Johnny Marks’ lyrics took some liberties with May’s story. For example, in the story, Rudolph was not one of Santa’s reindeer but a resident of the local reindeer village, raised by loving parents but teased by other little reindeers. The final line anticipates the patois of the 2010s as Santa tells Rudolph: “By YOU last night’s journey was actually bossed.  Without you, I’m certain we’d all have been lost.”

Marks’ song was first performed on radio in 1949 by Harry Brannon; the same year Hollywood cowboy Gene Autry recorded the first version, apparently reluctantly and at his wife’s insistence. It had been offered to Bing Crosby who turned it down — and recorded it a year later. Autry’s record reached #1 on the US charts, the first chart-topper of the 1950s, and the following week disappeared from the charts altogether. It’s the only time that has ever happened.

 The versions

Rudolph is a versatile song. Its nature allows the singer to have some fun. So Lena Horne in her 1966 version speculates whether the tone of Rudi’s nose might have been caused by generous grog consumption. Paul McCartney re-imagined our hero as the “reggae reindeer”, and Los Lobos as the manic reindeer. The Supremes and The Temptations in their respective takes take to shouting out Rudolph’s name. And Bing and Judy Garland, and later Bing with Ella in their live recordings from 1950 and 1953 offer all sorts of additional riffs to the story (Rudolph the celeb smoking cigars, jokes about deer-hunting!), which at one point has Judy giggling.

The Temptations’ version is one of the best of this lot, but I also really like The Melodeers’ doo wop take, and The Cadillacs’ R&B recording with the Coasters’ style sax solo.  The definitive version, in my view, is Dean Martin’s.

There are two very different instrumental versions: The Ramsey Lewis Trio’s piano-driven interpretation is very good; The Ventures bizzarely sample The Beatles’ I Feel Fine along the way.

And, of course, The Simpsons sang it, shambolically, in the very first full episode of the show, in 1989.

The late Vic Chesnutt mumbles the song in his live performance from 2006, in which he makes no secret of his disdain for the “frat boys”, meaning the other reindeer. His version finds an echo in my incisive analysis of the Rudolph situation from 2008.

So here are 42 takes on Rudolph’s story.

Gene Autry (1949), Bing Crosby (1950), Bing Crosby & Judy Garland (1950), Spike Jones and his City Slickers (1950), Bing Crosby & Ella Fitzgerald (1953), The Four Aces (1955), The Cadillacs (1956), Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra (1957), Dean Martin (1959), Ella Fitzgerald (1960), The Melodeers (1960), The Crystals (1963), Al Martino (1964), Burl Ives (1965), The Ventures (1965), The Supremes (1965), Lena Horne (1966), Ramsey Lewis Trio (1966), Hank Snow (1967), The Temptations (1968), The Jackson 5 (1970), John Denver (1975), Carpenters (as part of medley, 1978), Paul McCartney (as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reggae, 1979), Willie Nelson (1979), Starland Vocal Band (1980), Los Lobos (as Rudolph The Manic Reindeer, 1988), The Simpsons (1989), Dolly Parton (1990), The Smashing Pumpkins (1993), Tiny Tim (1995), Alan Jackson (1996), Aaron Tippin (1997), Ray Charles (1997), The Pointer Sisters (1998), Lynyrd Skynyrd (2000), Jack Johnson (2002), Destiny’s Child (2004), Ballard C Boyd (2005), Merle Haggard (2005), Bootsy Collins (as Boot-Off, 2006), Vic Chesnutt & Elf Power (2006)

GET IT
(PW in comments)

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY

***

More Christmas music
More Song Swarms

Categories: Song Swarm, X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Pop

December 19th, 2012 4 comments

We complete our trilogy of Christmas compilations with this eclectic mix on which we journey from the poptastic piety of The Beach Boys to the Christmas concupiscence of AC/DC’s yuletide offering. It’s a mixed bag of songs which one will not hear much in the malls; not because they are subversive — most songs here aren’t — but because they aren’t the usual standards. And when they are, they are not immediately recognisable; listen, for example, to the delightful Latin-soul of The Whispers’ take on Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

You’ll not hear Bill Cosby’s parody of Barry White seducing a lucky laydee for festive luurve-making  in the malls either. It really belongs to the Christmas Mix, Not For Mother collection I made four years ago (DL links were recently updated)

I don’t think Claudine Longet features on many Christmas albums, unlike her ex-husband, the late Andy Williams. Longet’s career was over in 1977 following her conviction for negligent homicide in the shooting her boyfriend, Vladimir “Spider” Sabich.

And isn’t the nostalgia of Kenny Williams’ song more relatable than Bing Crosby’s overcooked yearnings (and, hey, I love White Christmas)?

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-wrapped covers. PW in comments.

1. Linus – What Christmas Is All About (1965)
2. Mayer Hawthorne – Christmas Time Is Here (2011)
3. Kenny Vance and the Planotones – Doo Wop Christmas (2007)
4. Electric Jungle – Soul Santa (2009)
5. The Poets – Merry Christmas, Baby (1965)
6. Delbert McClinton – Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday (1972)
7. John Cale – A Child’s Christmas In Wales (1993)
8. Gilbert O’Sullivan – Christmas Song (1974)
9. The Beach Boys – Bells Of Christmas (1967)
10. Burt Bacharach – The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle (1968)
11. Keith Davis – Let’s Exchange Hearts For Christmas (mid-’50s)
12. Kenny Williams – Old Fashioned Christmas (1973)
13. Margie Joseph – Feeling Like Christmas (1976)
14. The Whispers – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1979)
15. Bill Cosby – Merry Christmas Mama (1977)
16. The Uniques – Please Come Home For Christmas (1966)
17. The Bee Gees – Thank You For Christmas (1967)
18. The Band – Christmas Must Be Tonight (1977)
19. Claudine Longet – I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You (1967)
20. Pet Shop Boys – It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas (1997)
21. Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rappin’ (1979)
22. AC/DC – Mistress For Christmas (1990)
23. The Who – Christmas (1970)
24. The Kinks – Father Christmas (1977)
25. Die Roten Rosen (Die Toten Hosen) – We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1998)

GET IT
(updated link)

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2

December 12th, 2012 10 comments

Having reached the end of the History of Country series, here is a second Country Christmas mix. This one is a bit more contemporary than last year’s compilation. Some of these songs are very funny indeed.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and it comes with homebaked front and back covers, featuring a Santa acting on stereotype. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Alan Jackson – Honky Tonk Christmas
2. Joe Diffie – Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
3. Travis Tritt – Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy
4. Dwight Yoakam – Santa Claus Is Back In Town
5. Willie Nelson – Please Come Home For Christmas
6. John Denver – Christmas For Cowboys
7. Emmylou Harris – Christmas Time’s A-Coming
8. Bill Anderson – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
9. Garth Brooks – Baby Jesus Is Born
10. Brooks & Dunn – It Won’t Be Christmas Without You
11. Brad Paisley – 364 Days To Go
12. Merle Haggard – Goin’ Home For Christmas
13. Charley Pride – Christmas In My Home Town
14. Buck Owens – Christmas Time’s A-Comin’
15. Charlie Daniels Band – Christmas Time Down South
16. George Strait – Old Time Christmas
17. Alabama – Thistlehair The Christmas Bear
18. Dolly Parton – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
19. Tanya Tucker – Winter Wonderland
20. Lorrie Morgan – Christmas At Our House
21. Johnny Cash – O Christmas Tree
22. Crystal Gayle – What Child Is This
23. The Judds – Oh Holy Night
24. Glen Campbell – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

GET IT!
(link updated)

.

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1

Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White
More Christmas In Black & White
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
PLUS: Rudolph, a victim of prejudice

Categories: X-Mas Tags: