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 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 – http://mattstevens.bandcamp.com/
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 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!