Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MusicIsLove, Nov 19, 2012.
Plan 9 - "Merry Christmas" <from 1984, 7" vinyl pic sleeve - non-lp single>
Green Christmas by Stan Freberg
Probably Christmas is Coming by the Payola$. It got airplay in the '80s on CFNY when the band was fairly big. It's on the Edge of Christmas CD, along with Christmas Wrapping.
There are all kinds of wonderful obscure Christmas songs I enjoy. I could probably do a Top 40 of nothing but relatively obscure holiday recordings.
Several I will mention that I like to hear every year:
"Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon - the best song ever written about the 1914 Christmas Truce, which took place during World War I. For 24 hours, the Brits and Germans stopped shooting at each other and sang, played pickup soccer, exchanged pleasantries and gifts, and other peaceful activities while their superiors either looked the other way or joined in themselves. McCutcheon's version is a first-person account by a fictional (?) soldier named Francis Tolliver, who reflects years later on what it really meant. I discovered this one on the radio, of all places, by a station that used the wonderful compilation Must Be Santa! The Rounder Christmas Album in its holiday-music programming.
"The Gift" by Aselin Debison - another version of the no-gift-fit-for-a-newborn-king story that is most familiar in "The Little Drummer Boy," this is the story of a "poor orphan girl named Maria" who brought a bird she nursed from near-death. I won't ruin the rest of the story if you've never heard the song before, but I will say that Ms. Debison was only 12 years old when she recorded it, and what a lovely voice the girl had. I think I first heard this song on the Delilah radio show, and long after everyone else filed it away, she played it during the holiday season every year. It was released as a promo CD single in 2002, and also appears on the album Sweet Is the Melody. Interestingly, "The Gift" was first recorded by Garth Brooks on his Beyond the Season Christmas CD, where it was mostly overlooked.
"Hey Santa Claus" by the Moonglows - this was the "jump" side of this classic R&B group's 1952 Christmas single for the Chance label of Chicago, and it rocks! The original 45 or 78 brings hundreds of dollars, but I first encountered it on the 1980s MCA compilation Rockin' Little Christmas.
"Jesus Christ" by Big Star - from the sessions for their Third/Sister Lovers album, I first encountered this on a diverse compilation called Xmas Marks the Spot from Rykodisc in the 1990s.
"Old Toy Trains" by Roger Miller - a 1967 single that is gorgeous. I probably heard it earlier, but it first made an indelible impression when I got the Country Christmas 3-LP set from Time-Life Music in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
"The Pretty Little Dolly" by Mona Abboud - one of the funniest Christmas songs ever, recorded live on the Tonight Show in the 1960s but not issued on a 45 until the 1980s. The late great Bob Collins, an old-fashioned talk-show guy on WGN radio back when that station was great, played this on his show, and I could not stop laughing. Many years later, around the time I was working on the Goldmine Christmas Record Price Guide, Mona herself sent me a copy of the 45 after I said I was having a hard time finding a copy.
"Rudy" by the Be Good Tanyas - the saga of a homeless man who happened to have the same first name as a Christmas icon. A few years ago, I asked about this song on this very forum because I heard it as part of the piped-in music at an Eddie Bauer outlet store on Black Friday, and I absolutely had to find out what it was. Someone in the store thought it might have been the Indigo Girls... This song appeared on one of those eclectic Nettwork Records Maybe This Christmas CDs and later on the A Winter's Night Nettwork best-of.
"Sweetest Dreams Be Thine" by Theodore Bikel - another really pretty song, Bikel recorded it for an Elektra non-holiday LP called Songs of the Earth in the mid-1960s, and it also wound up on one of the best, if not the best, department-store Christmas record of all time, A Very Merry Christmas from the Grants chain in 1967. I highly recommend the entire album, which also featured the first release of "The Star Carol" by Simon & Garfunkel, another beautiful obscurity.
On the Fun side of the Holiday, I like "Santa Claus Jr." by Johnny Brandon. Originally released in November, 1959 (with a picture sleeve), it found re-release at least once more in November, 1961. Both times were noticed and reviewed by The Billboard Magazine, the second time being more favorable.
That's a very interesting list.
Christmas Passing Through, The Roches. I found it on a TrueValue Hardware store Christmas CD compilation from the 1990s. (Does the hardware chain still put out a Christmas CD every year?)
Jacques Dutronc - La Fille Du Père Noël
And Bowie ripped it off for The Jean Genie too.
I was a frequent contributor to the late falalalala.com forums. That was obscure Christmas music mecca! Regardless, some of my faves:
The Everly Brothers - Christmas Eve Can Kill You
Nancy Sinatra - It's Such A Lonely Time of Year
E - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
El Vez's version of Feliz Navidad
Fountains of Wayne - I Want An Alien For Christmas
In trying to enjoy a bit of the crude-ification of our culture, I will also add that my niece & step-daughter really love:
Aqua Teen Hunger Force - I Sure Hope I Don't Have To Beat Your A** This Christmas
A song I got on a bargain-bin, $ store redneck Christmas comp - I Farted On Santa's Lap (Now Christmas Is Gonna Stink For Me)
I, too, used to work in a record store and that's where some of my Christmas music mania began. We used to be allowed to pick what we played and that turntable & disc player got workouts. We wore out Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas LP. but we all took a special delight in tormenting the late browsing customers with the Chipmunk Christmas albums. I love the Chipmunks but it never failed that those two Chipmunk albums would empty the store.
If you like that, you need to get their outstanding Christmas album. It includes another original, "Star of Wonder" which gives me a chill every time. Also the hymn "Break Forth Oh Beauteous Heavenly Light" and Handel's "For Unto Us A Child Is Born", which you just don't find on many Christmas discs, a nice rave-up on "Deck The Halls", and da most Bronxiest "Wintah Wunduhlaand" and "Frawstee Da Snowmaan" you've ever heard.
Now playing on http://www.arielstream.com/]Ariel Stream[/URL]: Gabrielle Chiararo - Fool Me
Xmas Cake by Rilo Kiley....not the happiest of Christmas songs.
Christmas Griping by REM. One of their earlier Fan Club Christmas 45s. Fun song!
"Lost Winter's Dream" album by Lisa Mychols - an obscure classic I found out about due to the Wondermints connection.
Dreams So Real "Red Lights"
The only Christmas song I can bear to listen to at this time of year is the Pet Shop Boys 'Birthday Boy'.
It rocks, as opposed to all the other songs which do not rock.
I've always liked the rerecording of "The Chipmunk Song" by the Chipmunks and Canned Heat from 1968. Great alternative to the overplayed original. It sounds great on the long out of print Capitol/EMI Legends of Christmas Past. It's been on a few Chipmunks compilations. Is this on any in print or at least recently in print compilation?
"Christmas and the Beads of Sweat".. Laura Nyro
Has absolutely NOTHING to do with Christmas except the word in the title.
It is a heroin junkie singing about being a junkie
Companion to "Been on a Train"
These are a few that were on my Christmas mix last year -
I Don't Want Intend to Spend Christmas Without You - Margo Guryan (or Claudine Longet)
Spend Christmas Day With Me - Darren Hanlon
The Thought That Counts - The Lucksmiths
Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas) - The Free Design
Step Into Christmas - The Wedding Present (Elton John cover)
Tracey Thorn has a new album out called Tinsel and Lights which is Christmas/winter themed. Also a previous post mentioned the June Christy album This Time of Year which is one of my favorites. This year I've decided to just go with a winter playlist I'm compiling on MOG and it's coming along nicely, it's a much more somber and dark affair (that way I can get stuff by Townes Van Zandt, Scott Walker and Nick Drake in there ).
The Yobs Christmas Album is fun - they were called The Boys when they weren't making rude Christmas records.
And Mojo gave away a brilliant cd a few years ago called Blue Christmas (not so obscure maybe)
This a fairly obscure Christmas album (at least in the US) and one of my favorites.
I'm not sure how obscure this is but it's certainly not common on most Christmas song lists.
"Kisses For Christmas" - Marti Brom
Not sure if this would be considered obscure. Merry Christmas Darling by the Carpenters
'Zat You, Santa Claus? - Louis Armstrong
This is very well known. In fact, it is played on the radio all the time.
Santa Claus Likes Rich Kids Better - Young & Sexy
Separate names with a comma.