Saturday, August 30, 2008

Christmas on 45 Part 2

8) The Trashmen-Dancin' With Santa

The Trashmen
are better known for "Surfin' Bird," but Christmas music aficionados will also recognize them for their 7 inch single "Dancin' With Santa," recently reissued by Sundazed records.

9) Royal Guardsmen-It Kinda Looks Like Christmas

This is the b-side of the Snoopy's Christmas song, which I LOVED when I was a kid. I never knew the b-side until recently. Oh, it's on CD, but not on the CD that I had that contained the Snoopy's Christmas song, and I never felt too compelled to buy a whole CD for one more song I didn't have. But I tracked down a decent copy on 45 for only a dollar, so here we go. If there are a few more out there who haven't heard this yet...

10) The Tropics-Groovy Christmas

Or by Chipper? I have a scratchier copy of this in my 2007 Christmas music folder credited to Chipper with 197? (sic) as the date. But that's exactly what it appears to far as I have been able to locate info online, The Tropics made this record under the name Chipper. What year? I actually believe 1968 is the correct date on this record.

11) The Knickerbockers-I Want a Girl For Christmas

I believe I already shared this track in one of my summer compilations, but what the's worth another spin here, don't you think?

This is yet another resurrected single on the Sundazed label. And it has that late 60's kind of feel I am into at this point in the compilation, so it fits right in. For more information...

12) The Trashmen-Real Live Doll

Sticking in with the period pieces here, this is the first of a bit of a trend I noticed on a handful of records around this time...grown men desiring sex dolls for Christmas. There were just a few too many of these songs around back then for my comfort level. I guess if Lars and the Real Girl had been a movie back in the late 60's, it would have been hugely popular. And this is from the gents who brought us "Surfin Bird," as if I had to remind you...

13) Jim Eanes-Christmas Doll

Yet another obscure single I picked up this year...and yet another song about wanting the technology that wouldn't be available until today.

BONUS TRACK-Paul Revere and the Raiders-Dear Mr. Claus

Not found on a 45 (though maybe it had been released on one, I don't know...this comes from CD), but yet another example of the strange fetish that was sung about in Christmas songs from this period. SING A LONG, KIDS!!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Santa Claus Presents: Christmas on 45

After much mulling about, as I thought about making this like my usual month long compilation posts and have all the songs run under 80 minutes in length so they can make for a nifty CD compilation, I had a real hard time whittling down my selections from my 45's to just 80 minutes of music.

Then today I picked up a record I bought in Minnesota during my vacation and inside the record were two more 45's I bought as well but forgot about and I also received two more 45's in the mail today.

So I said forget about it...forget a nice and tidy 80 minute CD length compilation on this one. Cutting nothing, restoring all the cut files from the folder on my computer, here it Christmas on 45's collection, uncut and unrated! I have over 50 tracks chosen just for you!

Well, they aren't rated. It's not like the MPAA has rated these, and they came out before Tipper Gore could have any say, so...

Before I get into the first part of the compilation, I want to mention again that the holiday season is right around the corner. That means it's time to clean out my old files on my file sharing service, which means that inevitably I will have to take down certain old links. Now, I honestly don't know which ones are more popular or not, so I will do it as I personally see fit. I have to make room for the new files I have in plan to post for this coming holiday season. So, if you are new around here, stop dilly-dallying around and get to downloading those older files! There's no promises on how long they will remain up! Consider any time after today time that they could be subject for removal.

Without further adieu...

1) Country Squirrels-How I Love Those Christmas Songs

I picked up this record a few weeks ago from a retired DJ selling off their collection online. It was in perfect condition; it really looked like it could have come off the store shelf yesterday, yet this record was pressed in 1972.

The record label that put this out is Metromedia Country, and the best I can tell they were looking for the next Alvin and the Chipmunks. The A side of this single is pure kiddiefied pap designed to capitalize in on the Alvin and the Chipmunks frenzy that no doubt enthralled the nation in 1972. Don't worry...I will post side A later on in the compilation listing. But first is side B. While it maintains the ridiculous sped up voices that are common in kids records featuring animals (because we all know that if animals could really talk, their voices would sound like adult humans who speed up their voices), it's actually a relatively decent song in of itself. So much so that I wish it wasn't recorded like kiddiefied pap, but made into a regular song by the people behind the Country Squirrels.

It's not a lost treasure that will leave you scratching your head why it's been lost to time, but it's certainly a fine, capable song.

And as a bonus, here is the same song with the voices sounding normal (with digital editing, not by simply playing the 45 at regular speed.) I am not exactly sure if this is what their voices would really sound like in normal speed, but I did my best to edit it in a version that sounded relatively normal. Perhaps with different production values, this could have turned out to be a really good song.

BONUS: Country Squirrels-How I Love Those Christmas Songs (the Tone King Edit)

2) Becky Lamb-Little Becky's Christmas Wish

Perhaps the most hated and loved Christmas song. But it seems for everybody who hates it, this song receives an outpouring of support. I've read stories online about how well this song charted back in 1967 and the requests for it and the compliments outweighed the complaints.

I have to be honest and say I never heard the song until I spun the 45 record on my player a few weeks ago. I bought the record because I never heard of the song, and that was all the reason enough for me.

3) The Spirit of Christmas-Christmas Is My Time of Year

Now I am sure there is a good number of you reading this blog who recognize this by the name alone. Don't get excited...I haven't tracked down my own copy of the original White Whale records 45. I haven't been that lucky, and I doubt I'd have that much money to blow on one record.

So maybe this entry in this compilation is a bit of cheating, as I don't have this on 45. But this is from the 45, just as it appeared on the White Whale Story Vol 2 CD compilation. (It's also on Rockin' Christmas from Rhino Records, which I also own.)

4) Saturday's Children-Christmas Sounds

God bless us, everyone. Oh, and Sundazed Records, too. They have been re-released a lot of great records and singles and have given us some great lost treasures to enjoy on vinyl again. This song actually comes from side 4 (or is that D???) of a self titled two 45 EP set. Originally recorded in 1966 it is now on a fresh new pressing for us to enjoy today, but it is the same great sound from yesteryear .

Saturday's Children were Chicago's answer to the Fab Four. This song (and the second one from this side that I will share later) was written by Ron Holder and Geoff Bryan, who were the Lennon/McCartney of this band. For some reason the Fab Four didn't give us too many Christmas songs, but we have a good selection of Christmas songs inspired by them from that time period, and I think this is a pretty darn good song.

5) The Cameos-Merry Christmas

From 1957 on the aptly named Cameo Records. A pretty good example of some early doo-wop as well as an example of a pretty good Christmas song.

6)'s-Rock and Roll Santa

Released in 2003 by Norton Records, this might be the most recent of 45's I have to offer in this compilation. Yet I chose to put it with the oldies because it sounds like and oldie but a goody. They are a Japanese band fronted by Ronnie Fujiyama, with Akikio Omo on bass, Sachiko Fujii on drums, Jun Tomia on sax and Chiho on piano.

7) Bob Morrison-It's Christmas

Another B side of a 45. I will share the A side, Santa Mouse, on another part of this compilation. This comes from Columbia Records in 1966. Two pretty strong sides here...

Well, this is a good start, I must say. Look for weekly updates until all the songs are posted (so i am figuring 4 weeks of posts for this compilation.)

Thank you for reading and listening!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Holiday hump

Well, we are over the hump month for the holiday season! Now I feel like Christmas is just right around the corner...and it IS! The leaves will be falling before we know it, the snow flying soon after that... it's amazing how fast time flies.

My trip to Minnesota yielded a few Christmas music finds. I didn't score a whole lot from Cheapo or from the record show I went to (unfortunately, I got there late so I felt rushed enough as it was and I didn't have time to search through everything.)

And there was also a record store in Kansas City that closed because the owner died and they were selling off a TON of records (and I mean a TON) downtown Kansas City two weeks in July. I was out of town for the first week, but I went down there once I got back in town. It was hot...105ยบ heat advisories...and it was in this hot warehouse downtown where they had these records for sale and it about killed me to be there for four hours the day I went. I didn't go back the next day because it was even HOTTER. And there were other people there loading up on Christmas records too...some to give away as joke gifts for Christmas, some serious collectors (one I saw was rambling on about different versions of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, for some reason. Hey, to each their own!) And the records there were only a dollar each. I wish I could have gone more often. It was a once in a life time opportunity.

(Hmmm...there were other Christmas music collectors there....Did anybody who reads this blog show up there?)

But in all these trips, I didn't amass huge amounts from one single place, but I managed to get a few records here and there to make a decent sized collection to add to what I already have.

There are also a few more things I am working on. One, of course, is the Wayside Waifs Holiday Charity CD. I will be updating the latest news on that project soon, but briefly for here: Out of 79 artists I've contacted so far to date, 11 have said they would be willing to contribute. I have one completed song ready for the compilation, and I am contact with the other contributing artists and always reaching out to more to see if they are interested. I've had musicians from as close to me as the next town over from me all the way to Sweden interested in contributing, so I am rather excited about the prospects of this project.

One band I am especially delighted to say are contributing a song is Shi-Sho, who are known around these parts for their contributions to the Filthy Angels online compilations. I wrote a song for them and they are working on recording it as I type this!

So, please, SPREAD THE WORD on this project! Share information on your blog/Christmas site about it if you have one. Submissions are welcome from anywhere and everywhere. So if you know a band or a musician who would like to contribute a song for this charity project, share this information with them.

Another thing I am excited about and I am looking into (though this is entirely up in the air and admittedly a bit ambitious) is there is a local community radio station in Kansas City called KKFI. They allow people to volunteer, do guest DJ spots, and such. So......yeah, I recorded a "pilot episode" of a Christmas music program. Hey, you never know! They just may play it! Either way, the readers of this blog will be treated to a podcast of it once I hear back from the radio station, pro or con. Pro, and I will post the podcast as soon as it airs on the radio. Con, I will post it here sometime during the regular holiday season, and may very well do a few more podcasts for this blog even if I can't get the shows on KKFI.

Hey, it may be a long shot, but it's a community radio station, not a corporate owned commercial station...and I wouldn't collect a dime for my work, so you never know.

Not too long ago I opened EVERY Christmas song on my hard drive to play them in Windows Media Player. Mind you, these are JUST the songs on my hard drive, and I have not transferred everything I have to MP3. I have a solid 12 days worth of music so far, and that is if the songs played back to back for 24 hours a day! Yeah, I think I could pull off a few podcasts for the radio. Well, we will see what KKFI has to say about it! And I will keep you up to date!

No songs to share with you today. I just wanted to touch base with you all to let you know what's been keeping me busy these past few weeks. I am currently working on my next compilation for this blog: a collection of my recent acquisitions of Christmas songs on 45 record! I should have the first part of that up in a few days.

Keep it bookmarked to this blog (somehow I don't think it works to say keep it "tuned" when referring to a website....) and thank you for reading!