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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

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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.

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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

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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

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More Christmas music
More Song Swarms

Categories: Song Swarm, X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Pop

December 19th, 2012 3 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

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

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Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2

December 12th, 2012 7 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

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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:

Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas

December 6th, 2012 12 comments

It’s the season of Christmas mixes. We kick off with a Rhythm & Blues mix which I know the good readers of this corner of the blogosphere will dig. So will their friends – share the joy of R&B yule widely on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. If you open the link (as you will have to for the password), ckick on the relevant sharing button on the bottom of the page. And please don’t be shy to comment!

So, this compilation features 29 tracks which more or less (and mostly more) would be called R&B — “Race Records”, as the labels put it without much subtlety in the 1940s and ’50s.

There are lots of great stories behind the artists here, but being pressed for time I cannot go into them. One is worth mentioning: The Marquees, the short-lived group that emanated from the Rainbows and sort of merged with Harvey Fuqua’s Moonglows. One of the Marquee members was Marvin Gaye. I have no idea whether he sang on Santa Done Gone Hip; do any readers know?

While I was preparing this mix I received the news of the death of Earl Carroll, singer with The Cadillacs, whose version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is among my favourites (and I do like the song, despite my tongue-in-cheek critique if it HERE).

And let The Youngsters’ song be a warning: Do not drink and drive! And not only because you might be caught, but because it is a dangerous and despicable thing to do.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home moonshined front and back covers. As mentioned, password in the comments.

TRACKLISTING:
1. B.B. King – Christmas Celebration (1962)
2. Mabel Scott – Boogie Woogie Santa Claus (1948)
3. The Moonglows – Hey Santa Claus (1953)
4. Charles Brown – Merry Christmas Baby (1947)
5. J. B. Summers – I Want A Present For Christmas (1949)
6. The Debonairs – Christmas Time (mid-’50s)
7. Keith Davis – Let’s Exchange Hearts For Christmas (mid-’50s)
8. The Orioles – Lonely Christmas (1949)
9. The Falcons – Can This Be Christmas (1957)
10. The Five Keys – It’s Christmas Time (1951)
11. Bubber Johnson – Let’s Make Every Day A Christmas Day (1955)
12. Nancy Wilson – That’s What I Want For Christmas (1963)
13. Bobby Nunn – Christmas Bells (1951)
14. Big Joe Turner – Christmas Date Boogie (1948)
15. Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run (1958)
16. The Hepsters – Rockin And Rollin’ With Santa Claus (1955)
17. The Drifters – I Remember Christmas (1964)
18. The Shirelles – Blue Holiday (1961)
19. Jesse Belvin – I Want You With Me At Christmas (1956)
20. Oscar McLollie with his Honey Jumpers – Dig That Crazy Santa Claus (1954)
21. Felix Gross – Love For Christmas (1949)
22. Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Merry Christmas Baby (1947)
23. Hadda Brooks – White Christmas (1950)
24. The Youngsters – Christmas In Jail (1956)
25. The Marquees – Santa Done Gone Hip (1959)
26. The Cadillacs – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1956)
27. The Marshall Brothers – Mr Santa’s Boogie (1951)
28. The Enchanters – Mambo Santa Mambo (1957)
29. Lightnin’ Hopkins – Happy New Year (1953)

GET IT! (PW in comments)

All Christmas previous Christmas comps are live again. Go HERE for the lot, or choose from the links below:
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

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Acoustic Christmas

December 20th, 2011 12 comments

The trouble with acoustic covers of popular songs is that some earnest singer armed with a guitar will slow down Jingle Bells and whisper the lyrics as if they have a deep meaning. I have no principles that compel me to disallow the notion of whispering songstresses, but on this Christmas mix I’ve tried to keep them to a respectful minimum. Still, we have the doses of yuletide angst which the acoustic genre prescribes to go with the upbeat welcome of the merry season.

Don’t be alarmed by the inclusion of three tracks called Christmas Song: they are all different songs.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R (which, given the opening track, is an even moire ironic than sun on a Christmas Day) and comes with home-baked covers. There is even an alternate front cover, if you don’t like seasonal ornaments! PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Hello Saferide – iPod X Mas (2006)
2. Slow Club – Christmas TV (2009)
3. Crash Test Dummies – We Three Kings (2002)
4. Brandi Carlile – The Heartache Can Wait (2007)
5. Rosie Thomas – Alone At Christmas (2008)
6. Natalie Merchant – Children Go Where I Send Thee (1997)
7. Alison Krauss – Only You Can Bring Me Cheer (Gentleman’s Lady) (2003)
8. Tift Merritt – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (2003)
9. James Taylor – River (2006)
10. Mindy Smith & Thad Cockrell – I Know The Reason (2008)
11. The Weepies – All That I Want (2003)
12. She & Him – Christmas Wish (2011)
13. Denison Wittmer – A Christmas Song (2002)
14. Bright Eyes – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (2002)
15. Catherine Feeny – Christmas Song (2008)
16. Nicole Atkins – Blue Christmas (2008)
17. Sufjan Stevens – Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! (2005)
18. Calexico – Gift X-Change (2000)
19. Felice Brothers – Christmas Song (2007)
20. Gramercy Arms & Mascot – This Christmastime (2005)
21. Pierce Pettis – In The Bleak Midwinter (1997)
22. Alexi Murdoch – Silent Night (2000)

GET IT! (PW in comments)

And if you dig the jangly guitar X-Mas vibe, check out Santa If You Do Exist by New York singer-songwriter Jmo. Great fun.

And with that, I wish you a happy, merry, peaceful, blessed, partyful, present-rich, non-hungover and generally groovy Christmas.

CHRISTMAS MIXES WITH WORKING LINKS:
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
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

 

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

Categories: Songbirds, X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1

December 15th, 2011 3 comments

Seeing as the History of Country series is proving so popular, let us put on a Santa-red Stetson and have a country Christmas. This lot is old-skool: Ernest Tubb riffs (badly) on his 1941 honky tonk classic, Loretta Lynn socks it to it disagreeable Santa, while Brenda Lee aims to lassoo him, yee ha. George Jones goes X-Mas twisting, and Buck Jones provides some serious pathos. And if you had to choose one man to sing Little Drummer Boy, it would have to be Johnny Cash, right? Hey, even horrid old Jingle bloody Bells sounds good here!

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

TRACKLISTING
1. Loretta Lynn – To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
2. Skeeter Davis – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
3. George Jones – My Mom And Santa Claus
4. Jim Reeves – An Old Christmas Carol
5. Marty Robbins – One Of Your (In Every Size)
6. Buck Owens – All I Want For Christmas Is My Daddy
7. Red Simpson – Truckin’ Trees For Christmas
8. The Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You
9. The Louvin Brothers – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
10. The Statler Brothers – Mary’s Sweet Smile
11. Johnny Cash – The Little Drummer Boy
12. Merle Haggard – Santa Claus And Popcorn
13. Emmylou Harris – Christmas Time’s A-Coming
14. John Prine – Christmas In Prison
15. Willie Nelson – Pretty Paper
16. Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas
17. Crystal Gayle – Hallelujah
18. Lynn Anderson – Joy The World
19. Charley Pride – Santa and the Kids
20. Brenda Lee – I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
21. The Maddox Brothers & Rose – Jingle Bells
22. Johnny Horton – They Shined Up Rudolph’s Nose
23. Faron Young – I’m Gonna Tell Santa On You
24. Hank Snow – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
25. Ernest Tubb – I’ll Be Walkin’ The Floor This Christmas
26. Chet Atkins – Jolly Old St Nicholas
27. Bob Atcher and the Dinning Sisters – Christmas Island
28. Dottie West – Blue Christmas
29. Roger Miller – Old Toy Trains
30. Eddy Arnold – I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
31. Waylon Jennings – Away In A Manger

GET IT!

CHRISTMAS MIXES:
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas (2010)
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

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3

December 8th, 2011 7 comments

Last year we had two compilations of classic Christmas soul (plus one featuring newer stuff); here is a third volume. It kicks off with a spoken intro by The Jackson 5. Jermaine is crying – and the manner in which that is established always makes my smile – and he needs yuletide comforting. Wonderful stuff.

Towards the middle we get socially conscious. Stevie Wonder, still just 17 years old, hopes for no hunger and no tears, but for peace and equality of man. Then the Harlem Children’s Choir, who sound rather older than children, provides some seasonal black consciousness from the ghetto, with an inevitable riff on notions of white Christmas.

The Shurfine Singers borrow a concept from Simon & Garfunkel as they sing Silent Night as a news broadcast runs in the background, speaking of war, protest and strife. As on the Simon & Garfunkel track, the news (now at 11pm, not at 7) becomes increasingly louder to drown out the hymn of peace. Unlike the S&G version, the news cast ends with an editorialising Christmas wish.

This is followed by two examples of a genre that was fairly popular at one point: the Vietnam Christmas song. We previously encountered Change Of Pace on Covered With Soul Vol 5 covering Freda Payne’s Bring The Boys Home as the more alliterative Bring My Buddies Back; here they send a letter from Vietnam, explaining that they won’t be home this Christmas. Johnny & Jon’s Christmas In Vietnam is representative of the anger African Americans felt at the disproportionate number of young black man drafted for the war. So, where in a country song the lament of an unhappy Christmas because “there’s Vietcong all around me” might provoke defiant flag waving, this sombre Southern Soul number seethes with resigned anger.

Things soon become Christmassy again, and we come across a pre-fame Luther Vandross with his band Luther, who perform a song he wrote (two years earlier, he had co-written David Bowie’s Fascination). Vandross clearly didn’t like the two Luther LPs; he later bought the rights to them and prevented their re-release.

James Brown closes the set with the second song called Soul Christmas; needless to say, it’s not the same song as Count Sidney’s. I rather enjoy JB thanking and loving his fans (“people like you don’t grow on trees”) for their support, urging them to come to his next show. So it’s a bit ironic that the man should have died on Christmas Day…

This is the first of three Christmas sets I’ll post this year: the others will cover country music and the acoustic lot. All are timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and I’m making front and back covers for all.

TRACKLISTING
1. Jackson 5 – Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year (1970)
2. Count Sidney and his Dukes – Soul Christmas (1967)
3. Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa (1968)
4. Otis Redding & Carla Thomas – New Year’s Resolution (1967)
5. Mack Rice – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ (1972)
6. Brook Benton – You’re All I Want For Christmas (1963)
7. George Grant and the Castelles – At Christmas Time (1960)
8. The Staple Singers – The Last Month Of The Year (1962)
9. Aretha Franklin – The Christmas Song (1964)
10. The Temptations – My Christmas Tree (1970)
11. Stevie Wonder – Someday At Christmas (1967)
12. Harlem Children’s Chorus – Black Christmas (1973)
13. The Shurfine Singers – Silent Night & The 11 O’Clock News (1968)
14. Change Of Pace – Hello Darling (1971)
15. Johnny & Jon – Christmas In Viet Nam (1965)
16. Margie Joseph – Christmas Gift (1976)
17. Bill Withers – The Gift Of Giving (1972)
18. Donnie Hathaway – This Christmas (1970)
19. Luther – May Christmas Bring You Happiness (1976)
20. Smokey Robinson – A Child Is Waiting (1970)
21. Linda Lewis – Winter Wonderland (1976)
22. The Impressions – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1976)
23. The Supremes – White Christmas (1965)
24. Booker T. & The MG’s – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1966)
25. James Brown – Soulful Christmas (1968)

GET IT! (PW in comments)
..


Any Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Smooth Christmas (2010)
Any 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

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

Categories: 60s soul, 70s Soul, X-Mas Tags:
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