Thursday, December 17, 2009

Xmas Music Library: Waitresses, Yo La Tengo, Youngsters, Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone, Compilations

Last Christmas music post!  It's a Christmas miracle!  From here, I'll work to finish up Coltrane in the next week or so and maybe knock out a few more catch-up albums.

The Waitresses - "Christmas Wrapping."  New wave Christmas song that's ok at best.  Emusic oversold this one.

Yo La Tengo - Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo (2003). Now here's a great EP.  It starts with YLT loudly covering outsider musician Jan Terri's "Rock & Roll Santa."  Then there's the lovely folk-rock of the Qualities' "It's Christmas Time."  The original, incidentally, can be heard on the lovely Sun Ra album The Singles, which captures a number of singles were Sun Ra served as the sideman.  The final track is a cover of the song-poem "Santa Claus Goes Modern," which is somehow twice as competent and ten times as silly as the original.  This is great stuff here, and I believe that YLT has made it available for free download at their website.

The Youngsters - "Christmas In Jail."  Great little early R&B track about drunk driving.

Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone - "Baby, It's Cold Outside."  While decently sung, unlike the Ray Charles/Betty Carter version, this one - from the Elf soundtrack - has absolutely no sex to it, which is okay when you consider the participants, but also the lesser of the two.

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (1963). Released on November 22, 1963 (that's good luck!), this Chrismas album has Spector and his stable of artists laying the Wall Of Sound onto mostly traditional Xmas songs.  Although it was a flop when first released, it has become a standard (and Brian Wilson cites it as his favorite album).  You've heard every song on this album, I'm sure.

Hillbilly Holiday 1945-1972. This is a compilation with a bunch of major figures in country music singing off-kilter Christmas songs.  Most of them are about drinking and disappointment.  Happy holidays!

It's Christmas Time Again (Stax, 1990). This compilation has many of the Stax Christmas songs.  Two versions of "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" may be one too many, but Isaac Hayes doing his hurt lover-man thing sorta rules.

The My Pal God Holiday Records #1 and #2 (1998 and 1999).  I only have a few tracks from each.  From the former, I have Universal Life & Accident's cover of Prince's "Another Lonely Christmas," which is awesome.  I also have Lullaby For The Working Class's "Utilitarian Christmas Jingle," which is lovely, if slight.  From the latter, I have four: Neutrino's "Island of Misfit Toys/Little Drummer Boy," Atombombpocketknife's "Candy Cane," Del Ray's "Nutcracker Overture/Dance Of the Sugarplum Fairy," and Drum + Tuba's "Auld Lang Syne."  All good.

The American Song-Poem Christmas (2003).  Four tracks here, including the one that YLT covered on their Christmas EP.  Unlike the songs on the other major song-poem anthology, these are not very good.

Redeye 2008 Holiday Sampler. A free download from eMusic with the Supersuckers, the Fleshtones, and (hmm) Lisa Loeb. Not so good, but the price was right.


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