Friday, November 30, 2007

All of the Other Reindeer

Eight reindeer. Eight ORIGINAL reindeer. They worked with Santa for God knows how long just fine until Rudolph came along with his freakish mutated genes in 1939.

Sure, they all cheered and Rudolph apparently went down in history, but what about the ORIGINAL EIGHT??? Where was their limelight of fame and glory?

It seemed the Sandpipers would be the ones to answer the call. While I don't know the exact year of the record, they did put out a record sometime in their career called "Santa's Other Reindeer." Finally, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen would finally get to tell their grand tales of how they came to be in favor of Santa and were privileged among all the other reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh every year.

Or were they??? It seems the Sandpipers started the song off strong by explaining what the reindeer's names meant.

Dasher-"I dash about all day/I exercised the whole year long/Because it makes me big and strong/Strong enough for pulling the sleigh!"
Dancer-"I love to dance and play...."

Uh...I am seeing a pattern here.

Then Comet, Prancer, Vixen, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen only get marginal exposure in the song. No explanation of their great exploits or why Santa loves them so much. No great lyrics like "My name is Comet/I hurl like your vomit/Hurling in the sky all day/pulling this friggin' sleigh!"

"My name is Prancer/I like to prance and strut/For the reindeer sluts/Who give it up/For us who pull the sleigh!"

"My name is Vixen/I like to be a shrew/You can go and screw/Yourself today/While I pull the sleigh!"

"My name is Donner/I don women's clothing...."


Cupid? Doesn't like to be stupid? Blitzen? Likes to bomb kids from the sky while pulling the sleigh?

Ok, I am not much of a great lyricist, but suffice to say this song left me just a bit unsatisfied. I thought FINALLY, the other reindeer get to say why they are the BEST! But ummmm...I don't know what to say here...I think the red nose still has it.

The Sandpipers-Santa's Other Reindeer

And while we are on the topic of disgruntled reindeer holding a grudge against Rudolph, Vixen finally did get his voice heard after he realized how much the Sandpipers left to be desired...

Brian Beathard Orchestra-Dammit, I'm Vixen

Hmmmm....maybe Vixen does fit the definition of his name! "Regarded as quarrelsome, shrewish, or malicious." Of course, he'd have to be a woman to be a true Vixen, but that's a topic to be covered another day....if ever.

Yuletide Throw Down

Today's featured track is a rare Christmas song by Blondie. It appeared on a few flexidiscs (what a GREAT format that yielded some of the best rare trax of the 80s!) in England's Flexipop magazine in the early to mid 1980s. As far as I know, it's never been issued on CD from what I've been able to uncover. Enjoy.

And since I am on a retro 80's kick today, I will also feature one of my favorite tracks from that time period that really captures what Christmas back then was all about...Timbuk 3's "All I Want For Christmas."

Blondie-Yuletide Throw Down (Rapture)
Timbuk 3-All I Want For Christmas

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Passion

Christmas music was never too interesting to me. Hearing "Jingle Dogs," "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," and "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas" were about as extensive as my exposure to novelty Christmas songs got. Most of my exposure to Christmas music was rather limited, and uninteresting.

Then something happened around the turn of the century: radio stations started to play Christmas music from about the middle of November all the way through Christmas. But it made me wonder why they kept on playing the same songs over and over again.

I told people I knew that I was sure there HAD to be more good Christmas music out there than what was being played on the radio. So I set out to find the most interesting Christmas music. All genres were fair game provided it could deliver on a few basic ground rules:

1) the songs should preferably be original compositions, and not commonly covered by other artists.

2) if they were cover versions of classic songs, they should bring something to the table that most the cover versions can't offer-good arrangement, great singing, a unique approach...

3) work safe. I'd burn the songs on MP3 CDs and take them into work to play instead of the music on the radio.

Anything is subject to catch my attention. And as I have found that there is A LOT of music out there that puts these 24 hour Christmas stations to shame, there is quite a bit more that's pure crap. So, please, send me suggestions/links/etc telling me about interesting new music (or old music...there are quite a few treasures on LP record that's never seen the light of day on CD) but keep the general crap to yourself.

Rule of thumb: if it could be featured on NBC's lighting of the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree special, more than likely I don't want to hear it. And if it sounds like an amature made it I don't want to hear that either.

To start off here are two early gems I came across:

Max Headroom-Merry Christmas Santa Claus
DiMara Sisters-Santa's Italian Wife

Both of these come from 45s I picked up online at different sites. DiMara Sisters came in a paper sleeve...I don't have much more information on that record. Check back later for the flip side song to be posted.

The Max Headroom record comes from 1986.

Some bloggers will only post Christmas songs this time of year. This blog will post Christmas songs ALL YEAR LONG so keep checking back from time to time. You never know what you will find on here!