Christmas Earworms 23 December 2013

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and any ‘Spillers whose names didn’t scan … or perhaps to those whose did … thank you so much for all the Earworms, merry Christmas and a hap-hap-happy New Year to you all.

The Prologue

The Butties – Joy to the World – beltway: This one has been a favourite for the last few years, The Butties are an all Beatles cover band from Vermont fronted by Sam Lloyd (aka Ted from “Scrubs”) – a while back they cut an album featuring mash-ups of Beatles songs and Xmas carols, which is fun, and this track is the standout one, a track that I always pop on when putting the decs up to get me in the Xmas spirit.

Nick Lowe – Children Go Where I Send Thee – debbym: (from his Xmas album ‘Quality Street’) – This is the only new Xmas track I’ve heard this year that I’ve actually liked!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ‘Spill
Not a creature was stirring, moderators were still.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that more earworms soon would be there.

Matt Stevens – Silent Night – Ali: “A one man guitar orchestra” (Acoustic Magazine UK) – check him out –

Over the Rhine – Snow Angel – ghe: are a great source of indie winter songs, as an antidote to the usual seasonal muzak. Here’s a yearning, delicate Snow Angel for the top of your tree.

Pairubu and Bish nestled snug in their beds,
While pop, soul and reggae tunes danced in their heads.
And Severin and Nilpferd in matching night caps,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.

Joni Mitchell – River – Ali: Heard this on a TV trailer, went off immediately to look it up and can’t believe I’d not heard it before. Where have I been since 1970?

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their rest to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Jingle Bells – Duke Ellington Orchestra – goneforeign: Duke usually wrote all of his music for his soloists, very rarely played covers, so this is an oddball. It’s from the early ’60’s and I’ve no idea why he recorded it except that he put his own very definite stamp on it and if you know Duke’s musicians, you can recognise them all here.

Keith Richards – Run Run Rudolph – CaroleBristol: A Chuck Berry single that has been covered by hundreds of acts, including The Grateful Dead (good as it is, I’ll leave that version to Chris). Allegedly, Keef wanted to release this as a Christmas single in 1976 but didn’t get his act together, so it came out in 1978. Anyway, it is a glorious slab of Chuck Berry boogie as interpreted by Keith Richards with the assistance of the late Ian Stewart on piano.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to ‘Spillers below.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But tincanman’s sleigh, and nine panto reindeer.

Elvis Costello and Stephen Colbert – “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In – daddypig:  It’s from the 2008 Christmas special edition of “The Colbert Report”.  The song was written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger.

“Now Fintan! Now, Beltway! Now, Carole and Shoey!
On, Aba! On, TY! On, Beth! Albahooky!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dance away ghe! Dance away all!”

The Who – Christmas – goneforeign: You want a REAL earworm for Christmas, I digitised my Tommy vinyl a couple of weeks ago and I can’t get it out of my head, not that I’m trying. Consider this one.

The Hard Pans – Have the Stones Ever Done A Christmas Song – tfd: a blatant attempt to break in to the shopping-mall Christmas muzak market by the Jimmy Smith Gourds spin-off band.

As DsD leaves when the beer has run dry,
Or as Joc to a Tom Petty concert must hie,
So up to the chimney the ‘Spillers they flew,
With the sleigh full of tunes, (and daddypig too).

Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler – Zombie Christmas – Shoey – so fabulous, Shoey forgot the blurb (Ed).

Tin squeezed down the chimney, and went straight to work,
Filled the stockings with music, scrambled back with a jerk.
Goneforeign, zalamanda and debby below
Stood in open-mouthed wonder, all covered in snow.

Good Morning Blues – Ella Fitzgerald – goneforeign: I think this was originally sung by Leadbelly but Count Basie had a big hit with it with Jimmy Rushing singing it in 1937. Ella does a nice version and I suspect that might be the 1960’s Basie band behind her.

Tin sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a bellow
And away they all flew like an air guitar solo
But I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they flew out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

The Epilogue

The Little Drummer Boy – DsD: I’m sending you two takes on Little Drummer Boy. The first is by The Blind Boys Of Alabama, with guest vocalist Michael Franti. The second is by Simon Breed and Paul The Girl: Played loud on a good stereo, one of the versions I find quite movingly warm, the other is quite excruciatingly bad! But I bet you can’t drag your ears away from either of ’em!

29 thoughts on “Christmas Earworms 23 December 2013

  1. Big thanks to Ali, for hosting & keeping this series running – suspect you must be the longest serving worm wrangler.

    Merry Christmas

  2. Thank you Ali for curating these so poetically, I’m looking forward to these – perhaps tomorrow night when the children are asleep and MummyP and her folks are at the midnight service. Happy Christmas and love to all and see you here and there in 2014 !

  3. As ToffeeBoy read through the rhymes written here,
    He started to bristle – the reason was clear.
    He felt quite affronted to find that his name,
    Had been missed from the poem; left out of the game.

    But then he took stock and decided to pause,
    And he thought, “I’m a Spiller; I’m not Santa Claus!”
    So he opened his laptop and started to write,
    But whatever he wrote down, he felt it seemed trite.

    Then he saw that the answer was right in his face,
    And his heart started beating, at jaw-dropping pace.
    “I’ll give them some music – it’s always my bastion.”
    So here is his favourite – Belle and Sebastian…

  4. Great Christmas ‘worms, except for Over The Rhine which won’t play for me. Joni is, as always immaculate. I need to listen to “Blue” again, I think. Overall, I loved them.

    Merry Christmas fellow ‘Spillers.

  5. So much music; so little time. Hey two days off coming up to start to listen to these, Festive Two’s and the soon to be published Festive One’s. Great Christmas pressies. Thanks everyone.

    Love the poem, song, rhyme; was brilliant. There are some very talented spillers around.

  6. Lovely antidote to the rubbish in the shops (aurally I mean, but thinking about it…) Especially taken with the Nick Lowe and Emmy/Tim, but as his Bobness says ‘It’s all good’. Mega thanks to AliM for such a sterling job over all these months – now crowned by poetic talent!
    I am just back from hospital with pills that mean no alcohol for 7 days. Gee, thanks, doc.
    A merry xmas to all you wormers, and have one for me…

  7. Greetings from the slightly-snowy-but-unfortunately-not-enough-for-Langlauf Bavarian Forest. Probably won’t be able to get onto internet properly again for a few days, so Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch to you all.

  8. Unsurprisingly, Over The Rhine made me melt, but I loved ’em all.
    Having finished wrapping the remaining presents whilst I listened, I’m now well-and-truly in the Christmas mood.

  9. Great list, I’m not a huge fan of what we endlessly hear at this time of the year, but presented like this, with poetry no less, it was great, I’ve listened to the entire list three times and have several favorites there, Zombie, Simon Breed, Hard Pans, Elvis, Joni and of course The Who, Duke and Ella.
    And not to discount the rest, they were all great, so thanks to all participants and greetings to everyone, now off to tackle the 1’s, 2’s and 3’s, finally got my Dropbox working.

    A side note, I’ve been aware for some time that various photos that I’d loaded into iPhoto were not showing up, for example some weeks ago I loaded a series of about 60 images but only about 20 were in iPhoto, yesterday I found the rest, they were in my Dropbox, a place I rarely go, no idea how they got there, I didn’t put ’em there, but it made me realize that computers are not as infallible as I previously thought. Now I have to figure out how to get ’em out.
    And more thanks to Ari, great job every week.

    • Dropbox will upload your photos automatically unless you tell it not to. Funny that it’s overriding iphoto, though. Next time you connect your camera make sure you give dropbox a good clip around the ear and insist that iphoto be the default program.

  10. Been out of the earworms and ‘spill loop most of the year – have really enjoyed this, now that I have a little more time than usual to listen. This is great and really well put together. Thank you very much, Ali.

  11. Checklist:
    All meat defrosted? Check.
    Wine & beer chilling? Check.
    Kids worn out and asleep? Check.
    All prezzies out from hiding and under tree? Check.
    Sacks at foot of beds? Check.
    Santa’s mince pie and Rudolph’s carrot munched? Check.
    Reply from Santa to kids’ note written? Check.
    Camera charged up and memory card clear? Check.
    House secured and all electrics turned off? Check.
    DsDad & DsMam shattered? Double check.
    What have we forgotten this year, then?
    PFFFT! Who knows? Too late now.
    Right: off to bed then!

    Merry Christmas, everyone.


  12. My plan was to listen alone with the children in bed and other grown-ups at midnight mass, but that was foiled because the children couldn’t get to sleep ! Lying in the dark quietly, with their lullaby CD on repeat, their little heads wouldn’t settle. I ended up with Emma on my lap, watching a Charlie Brown Christmas DVD, before eventually dozong off next to her.

    So, I listened to this lovely selection on Christmas dinner duty this morning, a fitting accompaniment to my culinary shenanigans. Thanks everyone for your tunes and especially to Ali for putting it all together. I remain very fond of all the Christmas standards, especially Wizzard which I think is a Spectoresque mini-masterpiece; but I do like discovering new ones, which these all were. Happy Christmas to everyone and your loved ones, and best wishes for 2014 !

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