Artwork by my son K, age 11
My family followed the theme of “Homemade Xmas” pretty closely this year — my wife spent hours (days!) baking and making cookies, candy and other treats for family. My contribution, assisted my son, was a little less time intensive: mix CD’s (and a few custom jobs) for family — with artwork by K.
Here’s a YouTube-ized version of the mix, along with some of K’s artwork. Merry Christmas, Y’all!
1. We Wish You a Twisted Christmas – Twisted Sister. From TS’s Christmas record, which is mainly unlistenable. I thought this made a nice introduction to a not-so-serious Christmas Mix CD, and one that, I hope, is both a bit off-the-wall and enjoyable to listen to.
2. Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. A sixties-style Christmas party anthem that was TPHB’s contribution to the second “Very Special Christmas” compilation.
3. Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas – The Decemberists. From the “Alternative X-Mas” compilation. Folksy and funny (or maybe not). Originally recorded by John Denver, of course!
4. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Aimee Mann with Grant Lee Phillips. The very thought of Aimee Mann making a Christmas record seems ridiculous; her image is so dour and her song subjects typically rang from depression to murderous depression. Still, the record — mainly traditional tunes — works, and this version of the song we all know and love from The Grinch is my favorite track.
5. Christmas – The Who. From “Tommy.” You get some religion, some Tommy back-story, some rock and rool, and a little opera-lite, all in 4 and a half minutes. Can’t beat that. Video from the Ken Russell film.
6. River, Skyway /Little Drummer Boy – The Bleeding Heart Show. Our (Tracey, Chuck, Stephen and
Rob) version of the Joni Mitchell tune; yes, we’re trying to out-sad Aimee Mann on this one. “Skyway”: We worked up this mash-up of the Replacements tune and the Christmas classic for the Down Home Christmasshow that was snowed-out last year. Luckily, Chuck caught a decent rendition during a practice, so now at least someone will hear it. That’s Tracey rocking the glockenspiel.
7. Santa Baby – Everclear. The Portland neo-grungers swing this version of the classic bo-bo-pe-doop Christmas classic. Also from the “Alternative X-Mas” compilation.
8. Joseph, Who Understood – The New Pornographers. An original Christmas tuen from Tracey’s favorite band. I like this song more and more every time I hear it, not only for the great melody but because of it’s take on the most ignored member of the nativity scene, Joseph, whose wife has give birth to the messiah — a child who is not “his.” In my opinion, the greatest faith shown by any participant in the entire Christmas story was shown by Joseph.
9. The Dreidel Song – Julie Silver. A blues version of the traditional Hanukah song. Seriously.
10. Spotlight on Christmas – Rufus Wainwright. A great, heartfelt tune, and a vocal that goes from off-hand conversational to transcendent. Absolute Rufus. It originally appeared on an Elton John Christmas compilation; my version comes from Mojo Magazine’s 2002 “Blue Christmas” CD. This video is from an A&E Christmas special.
11. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. No explanation needed!
12. Father Christmas – The Kinks. Saint Nick gets mugged in this 1977 single. Awesome.
13. Jingle Bell Rock – The Ventures. Short and sweet, with some fine picking. Merry Christmas from East Tennessee!