Happy Christmas ‘Spillers! Thanks for all your contributions, we have a bumper selection this Christmas, so I hope you find something you like in the pick n’mix. Whatever you’re doing this year, best wishes from me here in Earwormland, and when it’s all over please send more worms to top-up the bank, at the usual email@example.com address. For festive ‘Spill points, if you’re really bored, list something you like or dislike about Christmas, beginning with one or more of the Christmassy letters below (B, C, D, F, G, J, M, N, O, P, R, S, U, V, W).
Blink-182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas: LeaveItAllBehind: Do anti-Christmas tunes count? Well this one from Blink-182 probably doesn’t feature on many ‘Ultimate Christmas’ compilations, it certainly isn’t East 17, more reminiscent of The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl but I love it anytime of year.
Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa – beltway: So Dylan’s Xmas album was met with rather mixed (and plenty of hostile) reviews, but this particular track is an essential part of Xmas round our place now, it’s infectious, fun Cajun style mixed with Dylan’s highly cheerful rasp is just irresistible – just love the idea that Bob likes to kick loose with this!
Boca Chica – Not on Christmas Eve – shoegazer – (no blurb, I imagine shoey is exhausted after his amazing festive ‘Spill posts).
Bristol Bach Choir – He Smiles Within His Cradle – Bethnoir: I have a rather classical ear worm for Christmas, I wanted a version in German, but this one appeared. I used to sing in choirs and always liked this one, used to sing it to my boy when he was a grizzly baby.
Count Basie – Jingle Bells – goneforeign: (see above)
Diamond Rugs – Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant – Deanofromoz: I have been lucky, I have always celebrated Christmas with family around me, so I don’t know what it is like to be lonely, drunk and alone in a Chinese Restaurant on Christmas day – well at least not until I heard this track. I came across this on a Christmas sampler a few years ago. I know nothing about the Diamond Rugs – even their Wikipedia entry is not very detailed.
Fitz and the Tantrums – Santa Stole My Lady – deanofromoz: Another discovery from a free Christmas sampler, every year I listen and think that I must check out their work further. This track is just so catchy, from a group that Wikipedia describe as being neo soul/indie pop.
Great Lake Swimmers – Hang a String of Lights – DebbyM: I am currently enjoying the album I got yesterday, ‘Isn’t This World Enough? A Nettwerk Christmas’. I haven’t listened to it all the way through yet, but I’ll go with the Great Lake Swimmers track, because I like most of what they do.
Johnny Otis & Esther Phillips – Far Away Christmas Blues – goneforeign:(see above)
Megson – Mary Mary – tfd: I know this as The Virgin Mary Had One Son but hey, if Megson want to call it Mary Mary that’s fine by me. It’s just the folk process.
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue – goneforeign: Little Girl Blue is the debut album by Nina Simone. Nina was in her mid-20s at the time of this album, and still aspiring to be a classical concert pianist. She immediately sold the rights for the songs on this album to Bethlehem for $3,000. In the end, this cost her royalty profits of more than a million dollars. Notably for the 1980s re-release of My Baby Just Cares for Me, she never benefited financially from the album’s sales. “Little Girl Blue” is a modern example of a quodlibet. In this case Simone combined the Rodgers and Hart melody and lyrics with the melody of the popular carol “Good King Wenceslas”.
No Doubt – Oi To The World – DsD: Big, bouncy and boisterous. And so’s the song! ;o)
Over the Rhine – Blood Oranges in the Snow – ghe: Ohio-based Over the Rhine are a fave of mine, with a core of husband-and-wife team of pianist/guitarist/bassist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/guitarist Karin Bergquist. They do a Xmas album each year, and here’s a great track from the 2014 effort.
Paul Kelly – How to Make Gravy – deanofromoz: Those that bother to read my posts on RR and here will probably realise that I tend to talk about Paul Kelly quite a lot. This, his contribution to a charity Christmas CD is wonderful. A remorseful prisoner contacts home to talk about the upcoming Christmas celebrations that he is going to miss out on – in one song Kelly manages to say something about prison life as well as reflecting on an Aussie family Christmas. Great stuff. I should also note, it was zedded in the Marconium long before I started playing, so I am obviously not the only PK fan floating around.
Paul Young – Wonderland (Milan Mix) – DsD: I was twiddling my thumbs around my Walkman at Jess’ band practice … this just shuffled in for the first time in simply ages. I’d forgotten just what an ace song I’ve always thought it to be. Can’t stop playing it now.
Ray Charles and Betty Carter – Baby, It’s Cold Outside – CaroleBristol: So “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been covered by dozens of artists, but this is Ray Charles and Betty Carter from 1961. OK, maybe it isn’t really a Christmas song, but it does great service as one, without mentioning reindeer, sleigh bells or fat men in red suits, it manages to evoke a roaring fire, a bottle or two of something good to drink and the snow outside lying deep and crisp and even.
Ronald Corp – A Ceremony of Carols, Op.28 (Wolcum Yole!) – Benjamin Britten – severin: This could be a Christmas worm even though it’s hardly new! I bought the CD it’s from after seeing the film Moonrise Kingdom and being reminded of singing Old Abram Brown at primary school.
Kate Rusby – Here We Come A Wassailing – AliM: Someone kindly bought me a ticket to see Kate Rusby’s Christmas show in Huddersfield on Saturday; she was excellent, and this was the opening number. Who could be curmudgeonly about Christmas in the face of such a cheerful song?
Sara Storer – Christmas in the Country (Jimmy’s Christmas) – deanofromoz: Sara Storer is an Aussie country musician who has a very unique quality to her vocals, and this is a fine example of storytelling lyrics, Sara’s lovely voice and a Christmas Australian style. Its funny, we still have the Winter Wonderland type carols over here, even though Christmas often brings very hot weather with it. I hope you all enjoy.
Seasick Steve – Xmas Prison Blues – AliM: It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of blues, well, not in this house, anyway!
Slim Dusty – Christmas on the Station – deanofromoz: An Australian country music legend, here Slim gives his take on an outback Christmas. I am born and bred in the city and wouldn’t know anything about country life, but the quintessential Australianness of this song makes me feel like I somehow have an attachment to everything it represents.
The Unthanks – In the Bleak Midwinter – CaroleBristol: I’ve come rather late to The Unthanks. Not sure why it took me so long, but I find their music rather lovely and their voices are wonderful. I like it that you can hear their accents when they sing. This is a gorgeous arrangement of a favourite Christmas carol.
Viv Albertine: Home Sweet Home (At Christmas) – abahachi: Obviously as a latter-day Scrooge I’m a sucker for this sort of ‘bah, humbug’ approach to the festivities, revealing the effort and drudgery that supports the whole enterprise. I actually rather enjoy cooking Christmas dinner, but then as a man I’m not actually compelled to do it by a patriarchal culture.
White Mice – Fart, the Herald Angels Stink – panthersan: I’ve been a White Mice fan for a number of years now and was pretty excited to see their difficult-to-get-hold-of back catalogue come online this year. This is from their Christmas album “Do They Know it’s Christmice?” from quite a few years ago now.
(All images courtesy of http://www.123rf.com)