Monday, December 28, 2009
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!
Worst Christmas EVER. Those are three words I don't commonly use, nor lightly. And I am sure people have had far worse Christmases. Nobody died, nothing burned down, I am still alive and well. But three things made this past Christmas the worst Christmas ever to me:
1 The weather. This year the winter storm that hit the Midwest really ruined any plans I had to do what I wanted to do. The best I can say is I survived the storm in one piece, with my car still up and running, but that’s about the only best I can say. I could go into a lengthy diatribe into what went wrong for my Christmas this year but I am sure many of you have your own tale to tell and nobody came here to hear that so I will leave all that alone. (In short, it dealt with going to work on both Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day and having to go out in that horrible weather and dealing just about all day with that. I know, I know, things could always be worse. And they could always be better!) Best to just get past this and get ready for next year!
2 This year I just couldn’t get the time to find and buy and download the Christmas music I usually do. I was sick (I already told you all about that) then this weather system hit and so much more... I had no time to search for music on sites like My Space. I found a few songs, but not like I did in past years. And you have no idea how hard that is on a collector…it makes me wonder what music I missed out on! Not to mention the lack of time to check out other Christmas music sites to see what the offered this year and other things. This Christmas was not a good Christmas overall for me.
3 The apparent death of the physical CD. It's one thing that my Christmas was taken from me due to circumstances beyond my control, but the lack of great CD compilations this year really was disheartening.
I knew last year that they said there would be fewer Christmas compilation releases this year and they kept that promise, much to my chagrin. More and more Christmas music I find to buy is available in digital downloads only. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (oh, wait…there is…read on.)
I am just as modern as the next guy…I enjoy MP3s for their portability and apparent universal ease of use. However, there’s something about that physical CD, even if the first thing I do when I get it is rip the songs to MP3. There’s something to be said for having a product to hold…it gives me the sense of accomplishment that my hard earned money went to get me something and I have something to show for it. It’s far more impressive to show people the CDs I have in my collection than to open a digital folder and show them the files I have and tell them, “I downloaded these.” Oh, sure...I could burn those MP3s I paid for to a CD-R. Yeah, CD-Rs don't quite cut it either.
You tell people you downloaded all your music and it cheapens the product you paid good money to get. I don’t know if it’s just the assumption that downloaded=stole...uh, I mean "received" music for free in the minds of many or what but I never get the same response in telling somebody I have digital files that I get when I show them the cool and rare CDs I have. Even the average person knows there's just something about the physical CD that a digital download can NEVER replace.
Not to mention I can often tell stories how I came across the rare and hard to find CDs and what it took to acquire them into my collection but digital downloads? “Oh, I found this at a website and bought it.” Oh, that’s interesting. There are some CDs I own that once I pick the case up and see the cover art I have instant memories of how I came across the CD. Sometimes it’s not just as simple of driving to Best Buy and buying it. Sometimes there’s more involved and I have to say my memory gets fuzzy with the digital downloads. Where did I find that MP3? Shoot if I can remember. Online somewhere, who cares? Cheapened product...
It goes beyond that for me. Having suffered a hard drive crash twice in the past year there is something to be said for having the physical copy. It’s like insurance that you have a back up of those songs. If I lose MP3s I ripped from CDs I own, I rip the MP3s again and get on with my life. If I lose MP3s of digital albums I paid for online, for the most part I am screwed.
In the past decade we saw the apparent death of the CD, and predictors of trends to come predict that it will just get worse in the next decade. I am optimistic. OK, maybe CDs will die but I don’t think it’s just going to be hard drives and Ipods either. I believe that MP3s are like the 45s of the 50’s. Just as 45 records gave birth to high fidelity vinyl records and improved sound quality that, to this day, remains unravialed with digital media (which is why we are seeing a renewed interest in vinyl) I think the sound quality of MP3s will no longer be acceptable in the next decade and will perhaps give birth to a new way to listen to music and still enjoy conveience and portability.
MP3s compress the sound and if you have a high enough quality MP3 you don’t really notice the loss in quality, but if you get a chance to hear uncompressed music you notice the improved quality. With Blu-Rays replacing DVDs we have discs with uncompressed sound replacing discs with compressed MP3s. Would I notice the lack of sound quality on a DVD by itself? No…DVD sounds great and served its purpose of superior home entertainment for more than a decade for a reason. Until you put the Blu-Ray in the player and hear the difference then suddenly it’s crystal clear which is superior.
A part of me hopes for the death of MP3s in the next decade. While they will still have a place and won’t go away, with improved storage capabilities in our digital media we can have room for uncompressed music files. And with the renewed interest in vinyl and people hearing uncompressed sound on Blu-Ray disc I think it's only a matter of time before people realize these digital albums they are downloading sound like crap and they are NOT getting their money's worth. And perhaps…just perhaps…a new format will come around that will showcase this “new” uncompressed digital sound for music like Blu-Ray did for movies and we will enjoy a resurgence in physical copies and in enjoying uncompressed music.
At least I can always hope.
For now, digital albums do not give me the opportunity to listen to that music uncompressed and there is a greater chance if I lose the files I lost the music for good. Even backing it up can be unreliable. I know somebody who had all their MP3s backed up on an external hard drive, they were moving, they dropped the external drive in the process, the drive broke and all that music was lost for good. Like I said previously, with my CDs even if my backed up MP3s get corrupted or lost, I still have the original discs. It makes me reluctant to throw my hard earned money at these so-called Christmas albums available only for download because I am not getting the full audio experience I would from a physical copy. Even if I choose to rip the songs from that physical copy to MP3 at least I can still enjoy the full audio fidelity of those songs when I want to.
(Is it ironic that I would be commenting on the lack of sound quality in MP3s on a MP3 blog? Perhaps so…but my hope is that my MP3s inspire you to go out and purchase the music featured here and listen to it uncompressed!)
I am honored and humbled to see some new numbers on my followers list. I promise to be back soon with more Christmas music. I know I said that before, but this time I mean it. Now I got all this out of my system, it's time to get back to the music.
And I hope what I have to say about digital downloads hits home with some of you. I know there are people who read this blog who prefer the physical copy of music. And for those of you who don't...well, I hope I gave you some food for thought.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The CD is still available. There have been a few orders (and thank you so much for those of you patient with the delay in getting the orders out while I fought my sickness!) but there are still copies left. This edition is LIMITED TO 500 copies! The suggested donation for this item is ONLY $10.00. That would be cheap at twice the price!
For those looking for the file to download... To keep an E-Junkie account for free to use for charity purposes, I am unable to host the download file on their site. Sorry, I tried everything I could think of.
This is an 8 song EP featuring new tracks -some by artists who were unable to get me their tracks by the time the CD went into production last year and some songs recorded for this collection- with bonus/hidden tracks as well.
The new songs include:
Jim Abel-Let Christmas Start Here
Ken Clinger-Ho, Ho, Ho and A Ride on Santa's Sleigh
Franky Four Eyes-Just Like Christmas
Shufflin' Noah-Comin' Home For Christmas
No Fun-No Fun at Christmas
Mexican Kids at Home-Wholesale Xmas Bore is Over
We Know, Plato!-A Christmas Sort of Dream
This EP is limited to 100 numbered copies.
And, because I do NOT like double dipping, for those of you who ordered the bonus CD last year you can order this bonus CD by itself. Otherwise, this bonus CD is only available with the purchase of the full length CD for $10.00 plus an additional donation of $5.00.
If you want to order just the EP (and you ordered the CD last year with the bonus disc) you can either just Pay Pal the money to me at my email address or click to buy the CD and change the donation amount to the price of the EP and put a note you are just ordering the Ep.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
On December 5th I attended the Christmas Open House at Wayside Waifs and on December 6th I developed a bit of a runny nose and a small cough that I chalked up to an allergy reaction of some sort. On the 7th I woke up with a full blown cold/flu/whatever it is that made me the sickest I've been in...oh...at least the past 15-16 years. No joke. So that's why you haven't seen much of me or heard much from me. And for that I truly apologize. I am still recovering but at least I feel a bit better every day. This is some kind of insidious cold that refuses to improve with rest and liquids and medication. It's a tenacious sort that gets a hold of your body and forces you to suffer until it's done ravaging you. Suffice to say, it's not just this blog that has suffered. I missed time from work and, shoot, I haven't even been able to buy any Christmas music this year, let alone down load any new tracks. Shoot.
But I would like to share with you a collection of some of my favorite songs that I've compiled over the past year. I intended to post more than this, of course, but this is really the first time I could make it on here in a while. I tried Monday (I really did!) and I could barely stay awake I was so sick.
01-August Darnell-Christmas on Riverside Drive
A nice upbeat tune to start things off! This is from the ZE Christmas Record.
02-Triffids-Save What You Can
From the album Calenture. The Triffids were always a favorite of mine, and this was the first album I heard from them. And, while not exactly the most overtly Christmas song of the bunch (though it does mention Christmas cheer!), it does lead quite well into the next track...
03-Prefab Sprout-Earth, the Story So Far
Prefab Sprout rose to fame around the same time as the Triffids did. This track comes from their 2009 release, "Let's Change the World."
04-Super Fuffy Animals-Gift that Keeps Giving
From Hey Venus!
05-Adam and Darcie-With Wondering Awe
Found online last year at the Village Ten Collective.
06-April March-Last Train to Christmas
I liked the sound of track 5 and it seemed to compliment well the sound of this track. April March's music is often a bit of a challenge to find at reasonable prices, but always worth it if you do your digging at the right time. This comes from April March and Los Cincos.
07-Milagro Saints & The Sounds of Creation Choir & Band - Child of Peace
And this comes from the first Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas compilation.
08-Breanne Düren-Heart in My Hands
From My Space...still going in the same style of music, for the most part. Found online last year.
09-Betty & The Cavaleros-Hey I'm Your Gift Today
Also found online last year, a free gift to web surfers at www.cafesuperstar.com
10-The Birthday Girl Vs AFH-Hey Santa
Another online find...this time the Filthy Little Angels Christmas compilation.
11-The Cartridge Family - Frosty The Freemason
Online as well...
12-Glam Chops-Countdown To Christmas
And yet another My Space track I found last year.
13-Billy Ruffian-It's A Long Lonely Christmas Without Jimmy Greenhoff
From A Very Cherry Christmas 3
14-Departure Lounge - Christmas Downer
This comes from It's a Cool, Cool Christmas.
15-Camden Flatwood-Christmas Has A Way
From A Very Balthrop Christmas, an online compilation available last year.
16-Richard Thompson-Mary and Joseph
A little something different...another not so exactly a traditional Christmas song. From Henry the Human Fly.
17-The Leopards-Dancing In The Snow
From a Christmas 45 record.
18-The Walkabouts-Christmas Valley
Another favorite off the beaten path track I found... From Devil's Road.
19-Trapper Zukie-Archie, The Rednosed Reindeer
From Man Ah Warrior. You can never go wrong with music like this!
20-Ting Tings-Shut Up & Let It Snow
One day I hope to hear a full studio recording of this song...but for now we have the radio recording to tide us over.
More to come soon... Including LONG over due news about a NEW bonus CD for the Wayside Waifs compilation. News I wanted to get out earlier...but you know...all what I said earlier and all. The sickness was really horrible timing.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
So on this day of costumed people prowling the streets and stories of stranger danger on the news and Amber Alerts and all that festive stuff that comes with this time of year, I present to you yet another selection of Christmas tunes that seem to be perfect for the Halloween season.
Sorry, no podcast this year!
Robin Gibb-Come Some Christmas Eve or Halloween
OOOOOHHHHH, that was a SPOOOOOOOOOKY one, little boys and girls! I will give you a few minutes if you need to go change your pants before opening the next file! SCARY STUFF!
Coffin Caddies-Halloween on Xmas
Granted, this is about Halloween on December 25, not the other way around. But this is certainly a good, fun tune. From last year's new release Psychobilly Christmas.
Harley Poe-It's Christmas Time Again
The spookiest time of year for little boys and girls! A little bit of Tim Burton feeling here, to me anyway. This nice ditty comes from A Very Standard Christmas.
Hot Buttered Elves-Better Be Good
Keeping with the theme. From A Very Lo-Fi Christmas.
Wendyhouse-The Evil Santa Klaus
Now this is what I'm talking about. From a CD I imported from New Zealand. Available at smokecds.com.
James White-Christmas With Satan
Decent enough, but somehow I don't think the music really fits the concept of the song. This comes from the ZE Christmas Record.
Regina Hexaphone-Christmas Moon
Starting off about as scary as we started. OK, so these aren't exactly the sounds you are used to hearing around Halloween time. But this song about celebrating Christmas under the moon with vampires is really quite a unique song, and what better time of year to share it than now? This comes from Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas Vol. 3.
And if you haven't heard it already, be sure to check out last year's podcast. Fun stuff.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Where does the time go? Well, not in reading excuses of a blogger, that's for sure. You didn't come here for that. I will attempt to post more here...I am coming into some down time now as hours are cut at my second job but I suspect once the holidays kick in I will be working more. It should make things a bit hard keeping up on here, but I will do my best.
So onward and upward with the music. Now that's what you came here for.
Last year I mentioned I had contacted some local DJs about playing Christmas music on their programs. Two of the DJs agreed to let me submit music to them and are open to new stuff. One of those DJs is Bill Shapiro of KCUR. He hosts a weekly radio program called Cyprus Avenue and the show started out as an intelligent look at rock and roll music, but he plays a wide variety of music. Mainly older stuff, but sometimes some new stuff sneaks it's way in there.
As a Christmas music fan, I highly anticipated his annual Christmas show. The first year I heard it it was OK. Nothing too out of the ordinary...nothing too far off the beaten path. And his show certainly digs up some great songs that are off the beaten path on a regular basis. So next year I tuned in...and it was the exact same play list. I looked at the archives of his play lists online and, sure enough, he's been repeating the same Christmas show for quite a while now.
Needless to say, I had to rectify that. KCUR is a public radio station, so perhaps not a lot of money is flying around to buy music to play one day out of the year. I understand. So I decided to intervene and offer my services and choices from my personal collection. I made a custom CD (complete with jewel case and full color cover) for him and another CD of off the beaten path Christmas songs that he may or may not play and sent them to him. He emailed me back and was very grateful to receive the music. He said the producers of his show were wanting him to do a full two hour special this year. So I thought I would send him a second collection. First, the cover art:
I tried to select songs that would fit in his format. The first collection I sent him mainly focused on artists I knew he liked and would be likely to play. For this collection, I decided to be a bit more adventurous and offer him songs by artists he never played before but would fit in well with his format.
01_Harley Fine-Same Old Christmas Song
This first song I chose because of the message and I felt it really spoke of what is to come on this collection: These are NOT the same old Christmas songs! I don't know if he'd play this song...it's a bit off from the style of music he normally plays, if that's possible to say on a show where I've heard everything from the Pogues to Tom Waits to African music and everything else in between. But like I said...it sets the theme of the collection.
02_The Fireman-Dance 'Til We're High
This song was a real nice surprise for me. I discovered this album earlier in the year and did a double take when this song came up on my MP3 player. They may not use the word Christmas, but this is a Christmas song if I ever heard it. The Fireman, if you don't know, is perhaps the best band Paul McCartney has been involved with since Wings (and since 1993.) Arguably a MUCH better song than "Wonderful Christmastime." I am sure there will be those who disagree with me (what? Really???) but I am so glad we got a new Christmas song out of Paul after all this time, and a great song at that.
03_The Spirit of Christmas-Christmas Is My Time of Year
04_The Spirit of Christmas-Will You Still Believe in Me
True 1960's Christmas rock/pop classics that rarely get heard, let alone on the radio. I really hope that Mr. Shapiro chooses to play one or both of these songs. I know I shared them on this blog before, but they are always worth bringing out again.
05_The Neighborhood Kids-The Christmas Party of the Eight Reindeer
This is from a Christmas 45 that I got early in the year and one of the first songs I put in my 2009 folder. I never heard of the band before and really don't know much about them (and Google doesn't dig up too much) but the sound of the song really reminded me of the Spirit of Christmas tracks in a way. And it's a nice, fun obscure song that needed to be heard again by more people. It may be a bit kiddified for Cyprus Avenue, but you never know what kind of mood Mr. Shapiro will be in when he's trying to fill those two hours.
06_Sugar Minott - Christmas Jamboree
Bill likes to play reggae and Jamaican music and I wish I had more to share with him. I do have a handful of songs, but this was the best among the bunch in my book. (I am still trying to locate my Trojan box set of Reggae Christmas music I bought a few years back. You know I haven't been able to find that for a couple years now? I wonder where it could be!)
07_The Cadillacs-Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
08_Brook Benton-You're All I Want For Christmas
09_The Miracles-Christmas Everyday
10_Ella Fitzgerald-Frosty the Snowman
11_Carla Thomas-Gee Whiz, It's Christmas
12_Charles Brown-Christmas in Heaven
13_Bunny & Skully-White Christmas
I don't have much to say about the songs individually...I basically chose this group of songs for the collection because it struck me that this was the period of music Bill likes to play the most. I tried to pick a select few songs from that time period that don't seem to make it on the radio much these days, if at all. A few familiar ones were also tossed in, not just arbitrarily, however, but because I really felt the versions of these standards were actually quite good compared to the familiar versions we often hear at this time of year.
14_Binky Griptite-World of Love
When I was contemplating songs for this collection, I made a list at my day job and saved the email as a draft. Some of the songs in that list made the cut, some did not. Some were just a bit too obscure and there was some great new stuff that I really wanted to include on this collection. But there was one song that was just singular to me in it's sheer beauty and had such an impact on me when I heard it and it was this one. So much horrible stuff is going on in the world today...both in our own areas that never make the news and such horrific stuff on the news these days...stories like a little girl being found dead in a city landfill. Abuse of children and animals, people killing their own children... sometimes it's overwhelming. When I heard this song, my mind was already occupied with a couple horrible things that happened recently and I just wish more people would experience that world of love on more than just one day. It never really seems to last all year around and the children get let down. But I still hope for the world of love.
15_Meditation Singers-Spirit of Christmas
This was also on my short list of songs to include on this compilation but it almost was not included then I came across "World of Love." This seemed like a good follow up to the previous song and now this song had a place on the compilation. These two songs also fit into the time period of the block of songs that already came before.
16_Simon & Garfunkel-7 O'Clock News, Silent Night
Speaking of bad news...There's something just very stark and gripping about the reading of the news stories in this song. I was trying to come up with a cover version of this to do with Ken Clinger but it's hard to find news clips these days that doesn't have loud music and sounds played during it.
17_Sam Baker-Angel Hair
I mentioned a few obscure songs that didn't make the cut in lieu of some new music. This is one of the new songs that I just discovered last week that really struck me and left an impression. I know Sam Baker is an artist that Bill Shapiro has played before, so I hope he plays this one as well. This is a beautiful song that shows that Christmas music just doesn't have to be about Santa, reindeer or Jesus.
18_Felice Brothers-Murder By Mistletoe
I shouldn't have included this one, I really shouldn't have. I actually included it on the first compilation I sent Bill and I know I shared it before with you all. But, at the end of the day, this is one of my favorite off the beaten path Christmas songs I have found. I have listened to this one so many times since I first came across it and often listen to it two or three times in a row...the imagery in this song is just so well brought out and so beautiful to me. And Bill needs to just play more of the Felice Brothers!
19_Jim Croce-It Doesn't Have to Be That Way
Not a new song, but new to me. I suspect this song got some air play back in the day, but for some reason it's been cast off to the side. Here is hoping it gets played again.
20_Elvis-Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees
Elvis (and Paul McCartney, for that matter) isn't exactly an artist that needs exposure. But this isn't exactly one of his most played Christmas songs and this is up there to me with some of his more beautiful recordings, such as "In the Ghetto." It's not just a good Christmas song, it's a good song!
21_Bill Mallonee-Every Father Knows
Speaking of somebody who writes good songs (and somebody whom Bill should play more of on his show!) is this guy. Some of you may recall that I shared the Vigilantes of Love song "My Heart's Electric (On To Bethlehem)" early on in the beginning days of this blog. Bill has released a Christmas album on line and this is perhaps my most favorite Christmas song he recoded since "My Heart's Electric (On To Bethlehem)."
22_Bigton Gulch Town Orchestra-Santa's Coming
A little off the beaten path, a little bit more strange than most Christmas songs, but considering the strange stuff I have heard on the Cyprus Avenue radio program before, this seems to be ripe for playing!
23_C.W. Stoneking-On A Christmas Day
Another personal all time favorite and I never tire of hearing this song. I believe I shared this song on here before, but not positive. The sound C.W. brings recalls the early days of American music. It sounds like something straight out of the Depression era recordings, but it's neither from the Depression era or America. C.W. Stoneking is from Australia and was born in 1974. This is a new song, folks. C.W. certainly offers something to music today that nobody else is really offering, and that makes him a must play in my book.
24_The Neighborhood Kids-Christmas is for Everyone
The B-Side of the track I previously shared on track five. I thought it was a good way to close the collection out.
In closing, I just wanted to say that it wasn't just this blog that I neglected of late. I haven't checked my email in a long time either, and when I went to check it recently I see I have a back log of unread emails. I apologize to each and every one of you who emailed me and expected a reply. Needless to say, your email has been read or will be read and you will get a reply. There are quite a few requests out there for me to bring back some old stuff that I deleted. I very well may post a "back by popular request" posting in the near future.
Fingers crossed, I will be back with my Halloween post. No podcast this year (sorry...I really didn't have time for that!) but I have a handful of some interesting songs to share.
One last thing, I mentioned in one of my last posts before the long delay that my computer crashed. I am actually still trying to recover from that. Thankfully, I had just sent my mom a flash drive full of a lot of my Christmas music (16 GB worth!) and I had a lot of it backed up on an external drive, but there's still work to be done to recover some of the lost tracks. One thing I lost that I REALLY would appreciate somebody out there in helping me recover are the Andy Cirzan annual compilations. I believe I had them going back for the past decade or so. Losing tracks I recorded from LPs and 45s is one thing...when time allows I can make MP3s of those songs again. But I hated losing the Cirzan tracks. Let me know if you can help a brother out!
Thank you SO much for reading and listening.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Given the recent news, I felt it was a good time to revisit this classic record. I see that my previous post of this record has been searched recently, and for good cause. I took down the files of the record a while back but it feels right to repost them.
Rest in peace, Senator Ted Kennedy.
And, for those of you checking for updates...to you I profusely apologize. I still don't feel I am 100% after my computer crash, and there are files I lost that I fear I may have lost for good. Then, with work and other cares of life, it seemed it just kept on getting later and later in the summer. I do have some good stuff in store...keep checking back soon...and I promise you this blog won't end up like many other blogs you may find online that just sit idle for months upon months, years upon years and don't get updated anymore. More updates to come...stay "tuned." And I promise to not focus on what I lost but I will focus on the great stuff I still have!
(Though if anybody can supply me with the MP3 files of Andy Cirzan's compilations, I would be indebted. I lost them all, I'm afraid...not a single one backed up!)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
So just a bit more patience... Now that precious free time I have is going to be spent reinstalling old programs and the sort. It's not going to be fun.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The main reason is lack of time. This year, compared to last year, my free time is really diminished due to an increase of hours to work at my part time job. Which I guess is good and bad. It's good because more hours means more money, means more I can save to do things I want/need to do in the future. It's bad because in a way it's a sign of the bad economy (people having to work more to prove themselves at jobs just to hang on to jobs they aren't getting raises at because of the bad economy) and it's bad because it really sucks up a lot of my free time. A LOT.
The other thing you may have noticed is a HUGE chunk of MP3 files just suddenly vanished from the site. OK, maybe you haven't noticed it yet, but if you are new here and trying to go back in the archives to find good old MP3s to download, I will save you the time...I deleted everything from 2007 and 2008. I three requests to remove Mp3s in the last month, and all of them were older files that I should have deleted long ago. I left them up because I wanted to be the friendly blogger and offer MP3s longer than any site out there. Well, I don't want to get in trouble either and rub anybody the wrong way. The worst case scenario is my file hosting site gets tired of the requests to remove MP3s and terminates my account so I have no where to post my files, and that is not something I want to see happen. So the life span of MP3s on this site is going to be shorter, much shorter, than they ever were before. I haven't decided exactly how long to leave them up. Perhaps six months would be fair?
As for more Christmas music to share, I have a ton, folks. Just hang tight. I think I will have time this week (later in the week, not today or tomorrow) to post my second annual Christmas in July compilation. Shoot, I gotta post it in July while I still can.
I just wanted to post a brief "whassup" to let you all know how things were going, and that I haven't forgotten about this place. I am not letting it go, and have more in plan for it than time allows me to do, but rest assured, I have more in plan for it. So stay tuned!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Stick around his site after checking out the Christmas goodness...there is a lot of stuff there to enjoy!
I know it's late in the month, so I want to give those of you who have been checking this blog for a new post this month something special. Call it a mid-seasonal Christmas gift!
One of my personal favorite finds this past Christmas was this rare record from Santa's Land in Cherokee, North Carolina. I am not sure the exact year this record was produced (what was it about a lot of vinyl not having any dates printed anywhere on the jacket or record label?) but from the look of the kids and the sound of the music, I'd place it circa early to mid 1970's.
And, OH, what a sound it is! Simple songs, yet timeless and captivating in a way as well. From the enjoyable title track (the little girl asks some provoking questions but the woman answering doesn't really answer the questions...) to the final strains of the last track, this is the best 20 minutes I've spent devoted listening to any Christmas record in my days. Some songs come close to the best classics of the genre but never reached the status of the more familiar standards. "How Santa Claus Got His Name," for example, reminds me a lot of the classic "C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S." Some of it is silly (the grown men speeding up their voices to sound like elves, for example!) to the sad and melancholy ("Dear Santa") but all of it is memorable and worthy of repeat listenings in my book. Add all that to the slightly awkward picture on the cover of the kids unsure of this old man they are being exposed to and the strange looking elf in the upper corner...
...What is up with that anyway? I don't want to say what I think in fear of little tykes reading this!
This was well worth the money it took to procure this into my collection! Everything about it adds so much to my enjoyment! The seller only asked that I share the treasure with others, so here you go. Enjoy!
Santa's Land01-What If?
Santa's Land02-Santa's Christmas Party
Santa's Land03-How Santa Claus Got His Name
Santa's Land04-Santa's Christmas Land
Santa's Land05-Christmas Dreaming
Santa's Land06-Hiding Behind the Christmas Tree
Santa's Land07-Dear Santa
Santa's Land08-Santa Claus' Band
Santa's Land09-Ho! Ho! Ho!
Santa's Land10-Old Time Christmas
Thank you for reading and listening!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
First up is Rev. Green (and friends) from a recent 45 record I picked up this past Christmas season. I thought this was the perfect song to kick off today's celebration of Earth Day...
Rev. Green ft. Anthony and Kria Brekkan-Be Good to the Earth This Season
Peter Alsop is an artist I discovered from my work on the Wayside Waifs Charity CD because he was on Ken Clinger's My Space page as one of his many friends. While I did discover Peter's work too late to ask him to contribute to the CD, I did find it in time to pick up his kid friendly but oh so fun Christmas CD in time for this past Christmas. There's a few good tracks on there celebrating our time on this fragile planet. First up...
Peter Alsop- G-Gee, It's Warm Out Here
Well, if it's so warm out, where is the snow? This is from a free download from Zang Productions. It looks like it's still available so scurry over there to get the other tracks they offer!
Joel Barrowclough the Custodian & Greybeard-Where Is All the Snow?
Time for another Peter Alsop song, my favorite Earth friendly song he has to offer on his Christmas CD...a real nice message here.
To close, here is a track that I found on the artists' My Space page during the 2007 Christmas season, and I understand it's currently available on her website (unconfirmed...I did not double check...I just saw that on her Wiki page.)
Nellie McKay-Christmas Dirge
Thank you for listening and reading!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Paincakes-I Believe in Santa
Surprisingly, there aren't very many Easter Christmas songs out there!
I couldn't let a month go without touching base with my dear readers...not in the Twelve Months of Christmas! So this post is just for a few updates in what I've been up to and have planned for the coming year.
First off, after going through about a good 8 gigabytes of Christmas music (which I listened to at work on a flash drive and I listened to it everyday for more than a month!) I have to say that I have a few good compilations coming up soon. I also had to take a BREAK from Christmas music! Well, we all need just a little time away, right? So after getting through all the Christmas music I got in the last year (and then some) I loaded up all the radio shows I recorded on my computer over the last year (not Christmas related, I am afraid) and have been listening to those. It's always interesting to listen to just regular music and you'd be surprised on the odd tidbits you find when you listen to regular music. Take any random band/artist name you can think of and type their name in Google followed by the word "Christmas." You know, that's how I honestly find quite a bit of my off the beaten path stuff?
Here is one of my recent off the beaten path favorite finds for you:
Robyn Hitchcock-Have a Holiday, Baby
That was recorded live on Studio 360 way back in December 2006, so I am sure more than a few of you Christmas music faithful have heard that track before, but it's always new to somebody (and was new to me fairly recently!) and VERY much a welcome addition to my collection. I always liked Robyn Hitchcock's music and I looked on his CDs for proper Christmas music and on compilations and always came up empty handed. But this is the kind of stuff you can find when you search for an artist's/band's name on Google coupled with the word Christmas! Just a tip...
I digress...needless to say that even when I listen to regular ol' music I am thinking, "Hey, I like these guys...I wonder what kind of Christmas music they could make?" Does that make me a fanatic?
In my downtime over the past couple months when NOT listening to Christmas music (I know, hard to imagine, right?) I watched Lost episodes back to back from season one to current. Good times, good times. And those radio programs I mentioned? Well, it so turns out that I contacted the DJs for two local NPR shows that air exclusively in Kansas City and offered music from my own personal collection for their Christmas episodes next year and they are going to play tracks I pick! Certainly not everything I come up with, but it's something! One show in particular plays the same set of Christmas tracks year after year after year...the EXACT SAME! AAAAGGGHHH!!! I had to do something to rectify that. So in addition to creating comps for this blog, I will also be creating custom made compilations for my DJ friends and perhaps will share some of the chosen tracks here as well. Some really, really interesting stuff...
And in other personal Christmas music related news, I have a NEW BONUS DISC in the works for a Christmas 2009 release that will be sold as a bonus disc with the Wayside Waifs CD. Now, I realize that a good number of you already purchased the CD and bonus disc last year, so I will offer the bonus disc to you at a good price. Just know that I hate double dipping myself and would never ask you to double dip to get a few new Christmas songs (though if you want to buy a copy of the Wayside Waifs CD to give as a Christmas present when purchasing your bonus disc, that would be cool too!!!)
The new BONUS DISC will be ALL NEW songs, not just outtakes from the first disc, like the first bonus disc. It will be in a simple cardboard jacket with my designed cover art as well, and more than likely a CD-R burned on my personal computer to keep costs down. The bonus disc will be a VOLUME 2 to the Wayside Waifs CD. However, it won't be sold separately UNLESS you purchased the CD and bonus disc last year. It's going to be an EP and I am not planing to make Vol. 2 a full length CD. I already have four tracks for the disc, and will soon have six once Ken Clinger turns in his contributions and quite possibly eight tracks if a contributor from last year decides to do the two songs I asked them to do (and it's looking like they WILL!) All I can say is I am VERY excited about Volume 2 of the Wayside Waifs Charity CD and I will always keep you posted as I know more.
And if you know any artists or bands who would like to contribute a song, send them my way! While the new disc is going to be an EP, if it turns out to be an 80 minute EP chock full of songs, then SO BE IT!
Til next, thank you for reading and listening. I will be back soon...
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This may become a periodic feature on this blog: Songs with lyrics that are simply strange and/or misheard. I can’t promise that I will post many of these, as I tend to only notice these things upon repeat listenings of songs, and I simply haven’t had time to listen to all that I have several times over to really examine them that hard.
But one particular track has come to play for my ear drums more than a few times and I finally noticed it today…this songs contains a VERY strange line.
Now, you have to listen to it before proceeding...
The lyrics seem innocent enough:
Timble Tumble Little Snowflake High Up In The Sky
Drifting Dancing Slowly
Earthward Like A Cotton Butterfly
Whirling Swhirling Pretty Snowflake Landing In My Hand
How You Change The Whole World
In To Nature's Winter Wonderland
Every Snowflake Has A Shape That's All It's Own
There Are Never Two The Same
White As Day Up To The Sun A Silver Throne.
The lyrics seem innocent enough so far, but what is the next line???
The snow flakes put the Jews to shame????
Then something about Helter Skelter. Which could mean that the snow flakes are falling in hurried confusion or perhaps there is something more sinister at work here since the Jews were "displaced" in Germany and spent time in what are also known as "Helter Skelter" camps. Helter Skelter PURE WHITE SNOW FLAKE? What is this about a pure race of white snow flakes???
Trust me, I've listened to this SEVERAL TIMES, desperately trying to find another meaning in the lyrics. I had to have misheard them! So I did a trusty Google search...obviously, I am wrong, and the lyrics posted online will be RIGHT!
Allthelyrics.com has a different interpretation of that line… “the snow flakes put THEIR JUICE to shame” instead….but what the hell does that mean? Snow flakes put their juice to shame? WHAT? What juice? They hate their orange juice so they put it to shame? IT MAKES NO DAMNED SENSE! And listen to it closely…listen to it a dozen times over like I have…there is no way that they are singing “THEIR.” They sing “THE.” So either it’s they put THE JUICE to shame or THE JEWS to shame.
Or, I hope to GOD, something else nobody else has picked up on so far!
"Their juice" makes absolutely no sense to me, and I doubt it does to the person who submitted it to allthelyrics.com. Not that putting Jews to shame with a Helter Skelter makes any more sense in a Christmas song, but geez, at least I can wrap my head around that.
While on the topic of misheard lyrics, let’s take “Oh Holy Night.”
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
ERROR??? I believe it’s “e’re,” shortened version of EVER for poetic purposes that has not really been in our vocabulary for several years now, but was a common word when this song was written. ERROR pining? Who the hell thought that should be the word used in the online lyrics?
I really have nothing to back me up on that…it’s not like I went to the library to get a book with old carols with original lyrics. It’s not that deep to me, folks. I am just saying which makes more sense to you… “ERROR pining” or “E’RE pining?” EVER pining is something I can wrap my head around.
I also apologize for not posting more this past month. I had to get this in today so I could remain true to the Twelve Months of Christmas! Would you believe I FINALLY got caught up on all the Christmas music I got last year and then some, though? So I have some pretty long lists of compilations I want to post on this site over the course of the next several months, so be sure to check back for more Christmas goodness.
I also have some other goodies in mind for future posts, and promise to post more often in the future!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I can also access my work email from home, and get a hold of my lists when I need them. Only this past week was a double whammy for me...late Thursday into Friday night I had to deal with a virus/spyware on my computer which prevented me from getting ANY work done. Then when I got back up and running, it was too late...the IT department where I work had closed for the long holiday weekend and I couldn't access my email folders from home.
So I had to decide if I should hastily put together a quick list of songs to post by searching for "love" in the titles (or something equally prosaic) or should I just wait until Tuesday and get the list I wanted to post? I opted to wait and make a late post, because I had songs on my play list that I couldn't think of off the top of my head.
And I am glad I did wait.
So, without further adieu, here are the the Christmas Valentine's Day songs! Some are rather sad and plaintive...I guess people are longing for love at Christmas time! But I tried my best to find some of the more off the beaten path Christmas love songs for this post.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
You know you've been waiting for it, so phone the neighbors and wake the kids because IT IS HERE!!! The SECOND ANNUAL TWELVE MONTHS OF CHRISTMAS MY SPACE COLLECTION!
Whether you love, hate, or are ambivalent to the current state of My Space (my relationship with them is a love/hate one, actually) the fact remains that this is perhaps one of the few places on the 'net where I can find such a wide variety of Christmas music. Granted, the bit rates on the songs are not the greatest, which frustrates me. Other websites (not nearly as large as My Space, granted) can permit their artists to upload higher bit rate MP3s. So sound quality of some of these songs aside, I do feel that these are the rare singles of tomorrow. Some of these songs are only up for a limited time, and I've seen some bands remove them from their page the day after Christmas. Some of these songs are only released for the fans to hear online, and are not on any of the artist's CDs. So somebody has to curate what they can find, and while it's a long process to do so, it's quite rewarding in the end.
And in the end I had nearly 8 hours of music, well over 130 tracks, all compiled from My Space this year. I could have easily turned this into a "boxed set," and there are certainly tracks I left off this compilation that I REALLY wanted to include. As it is, two discs just isn't enough, but I guess having extras will make for some interesting compilations to share in the future. But I still say having to leave off some of the tracks I did is like leaving out the cranberry sauce from Christmas dinner. Oh well...we gotta do what we gotta do.
And what you have here is what I think is a pretty solid collection of music, and spans a good range of styles and has a little of something for everybody.
I took a cue from our friends at Sounds Familyre for the downloads...I chose to utilize the "widget" feature on box.net as I found downloading from Sounds Familyre to be MUCH better using this feature than downloading from any other site, hands down. I hope you find it much easier to use as well, and if you downloaded the Sounds Familyre Christmas comps in the past, then you already know what to do. If not...well, it should be self explanatory once you click your mouse on a title. If you have any problems, let me know. Just remember to right click over the song icon and you can select your options to play or download from there.
Also, just FYI....some of these songs (believe it or not) COULD have been on the Wayside Waifs CD! I won't name any names - you know who you are if you are reading this - but there are bands/artists listed here that I contacted personally to see if they could contribute and they never responded but then their Christmas song gets slapped up on My Space. Oh, I'm not bitter. I just mention it to show any potential artists/bands (and I know some are reading this blog...I get emails!) that I contact that it was a legit deal, and not spam as some suspected.
(And if you are an artist/band I contacted, I didn't check your profile to see if you had a Christmas song you withheld...I checked it because I was sincere when I said I loved your style and that I wanted to see what you could do with a Christmas track!)
You will also note there are a few New Years Day, Boxing Day, and Hanukkah songs here as well...I tried to make it a nice, varied collection.
The track listing:
1) The Singles-New Year's Eve
2) A Smile and A Ribbon-Heavenly Christmas
3) Sean Porter Experience-Christmas Time Is Here
4) The Revelations feat. Tre Williams-It's That Time of Year
5) Huggie-Rockin' on Xmas
6) Dean Farnell-Why Don't Christmas Go Away? I'm Bored With the Wizard of Oz
7) Jace Blues-Christmas Time
8) Kja & the Jersey Cowboyz-Christmas Without You
9) Alyssa Bonagura-Come Back this Christmas
10) Hajen-Hajens Julsång
11) Ingrid Michaelson-Snowfall Kind of Love
12) Jimmy Robbins-Hurry Back to Me
13) Paper Route-The Sound
14) Sleeping At Last-A Cradle in Bethlehem
15) The Violent Husbands-Home Sweet Home
16) The Features-Christmas Wish Book
17) Mike Ryan and the Wabbits-Ah, It's Christmas
18) Poos-Bad Boys and Girls Club
19) Mid Knight-Christmas Star
20) We Know, Plato!-Christmas Ain't a Nursery Rhyme
21) Metro Jets-Jingle Jangle Christmas
22) Socratic-A Christmas Coal Carol
23) The Vonage-Kitten in the Snow
24) Brownie Points-Auld Lang Syne
1) Camera Obscura-You're the Only Star in my Blue Heaven
2) Jens Lekman-Run Away With Me
3) Wolfkin-Christmas Comatose
4) Steven McKay-Sounds Like Christmas
5) Said the Whale-This Winter I Retire
6) The Margarets-Christmas in a Northern Town
8) Jack Hayter-Blind Man's Fog
9) My Skinny Valentine-Christmas Crime
10) Oliver North Boy Choir-Blizzard
11) The Boy Least Likely To-The First Snowflake
12) The Leisure Society-The Last of the Melting Snow
13) The Teenage Prayers-Yuletide
14) Wave Pictures-We Dress Up Like Snowmen
15) Love It or Leave It-You, Me and this Christmas Tree
16) First Class Fever-Mary's Christmas
17) Champagne Riot-December Slopes
18) Captain Polaroid-You'll Never See Christmas
19) Amanda-Cookie Santa
20) Gravity Wave-Lil' Baby Isaac Newton
21) Koo Koo Kanga Roo-Seth Cohen
22) My First Earthquake-Fa La Freezing
Santagold Disc One
Santagold Disc Two
Thank you for listening and for reading!