Christmas Earworms 22 December 2014



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 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).

2141697_sBB King – Merry Christmas Baby – goneforeign: Here are your Christmas presents, take your pick (I was unable to choose so I picked them all, see below – Ali).

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.

2141693_sCalexico – Gift X-Change – DsD:  Sometimes life is shit. Joey Burns knows that, and so here he beautifully hopes it gets better for you.

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.

2153653_sFats Waller – Swingin’ Them Jinglebells – goneforeign: (see above)

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.

2153657_s (1)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.

2153651_sJars Of Clay – Christmas For Cowboys – DsD: An odd one, this. Just about the most un-Christmassy Christmas song I own. Strangely affecting, I find.

Johnny Otis & Esther Phillips – Far Away Christmas Blues – goneforeign:(see above)

2153689_s (1)Maddy Prior and June Tabor – The Seven Joys of Mary – AliM: A traditional song, sung with aplomb and strangely moving.

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.

2153685_sNina 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)

2153687_sOver 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.

2153655_sPaul 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.

2153688_sRay 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.

2153670_sThe 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.

2153663_sViv 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.

2153689_s (1)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

17 thoughts on “Christmas Earworms 22 December 2014

  1. Wow, what a diverse selection! Enjoyed just about all of it. Too many to comment on individually but if I exclude my own ones, the favourite would be Seasick Steve, but I already knew that one . Of the ones I didn’t know I really liked the bb king and also liked DsD’s cowboy track. Thanks all, will give this playlist another spin tomorrow too.

    Can I just get a bit sentimental at this point and say thank you to all the rr/spill community for making me so welcome this year when I happened to stumble into your path. I hope you all have a great Christmas and a happy and safe new year.

  2. I’ll be having a…

    Brighton Christmas this year, starting with a
    Curry when I get there tomorrow, a treat from my lovely
    Daughter Ab, who will also take me to a
    Film (hobbit-related) while we wait for my
    Grandsons to arrive; and my son-in-law
    Julian will pour me a large whisky and pass me a
    Mince pie. Once
    Naomi, Stuart, Ivan and Ellis are there it’ll be time to
    Open the
    Presents; then perhaps the visitors will have a bit of a
    Ramble by the
    Sea while
    Uncle Julian and Aunty Ab prepare the
    Vegan feast…and while we’re at it, I’d rather not have a
    White Christmas this year, thanks, because of all the driving.

  3. I like tfd’s idea, much better than mine, so here goes: I’m hoping the …

    Boy stays well for
    Christmas, avoids
    Doctors and can eat some
    Food though it won’t be anything
    Ginormous, I’m looking forward to a
    Jar or two of something beery,
    My ex has bought me the gubbins for making
    Nice homebrew from a kit my friend sent,
    Oh, quite a while ago but she knows I like a
    Real ale preferably but
    Unusual though it may seem, I like
    V8 (we always had tomato juice at Christmas) or a nice glass of

    • Oh, did I get it wrong? Those are all things I’m going to like this Christmas, except the white Christmas which in the ordinary way I’d like but not this time…

  4. Well it seems I can ignore it no longer, so….

    Be cool this
    Do not
    Fight or
    (Or, at least, have a go at it despite the aural assault of Slade & co yet again and all the shit TV)
    Park your troubles for a little while
    Rest your sharpness by the door
    Smile and sing, and form a ring
    United in the cause:
    Venus’ hope of love for all and an end to every

    Seasons Greetings (of whatever variety) to you all. And thanks for all the music.

      • Ta, chuck. There’s a society of Dead fans who write poetry. There was a film about it once…..

        There ya go: a cracker joke!

        And that reminds me of a song for all those unattached this season:

        Some lives read like a postcard
        And some lives read like a book
        I’ll be happy if mine
        Doesn’t read like a joke from an old Christmas cracker

        Finally, a toast: To absent friends.

  5. What a bumper load of Christmas tunes, well done Ali for collecting and curating. I’m just at the end of the working day but I’ll listen with the Christmas cooking / washing up in the days to come.

  6. I’m late to the party as usual, but what a great list to enjoy whilst I finish the last minute preparations before the visitors arrive! And it includes my current must-have Christmas song (no prizes for guessing which!).

    Bob is singing Must Be Santa, the house is
    Clean, the
    Decorations are up, and I’m looking back on the past year and
    Feeling that it really has been a great one. Now it’s time to dig out the board
    Games from the back of the cupboard, and look forward to the
    Joy and
    Merriment of: sharing Christmas Day with
    No.1 Daughter Nancy and family; the excitement when the children
    Open their
    Presents; some well-earned
    Relaxation after all the preparations;
    Second daughter Sophie and family joining us for Boxing Day, and then putting my feet
    Up with a glass of
    Vino, and
    Wondering whether 2015 will bring a new granddaughter or a new grandson?

  7. Thanks for yet another interesting playlist, wormers. And thanks to Ali for her unflagging tending of the wormery.
    Enjoyed them all, but standouts were a long list including BB, Nina, Blink, No Doubt, Seasick Steve, Viv Albertine. Phew.
    Warmest winter wishes to all wormers. You’re a fab bunch.

  8. Brilliant
    Christmas music.
    Festive Earworms.
    Greetings, have a
    Presents followed by
    Roast dinner with
    Sprouts, ugh!
    Variety of music in 2014, so all that’s left is
    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

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