Christmas 2009

My favorite Christmas record, maybe Santa will bring me the picture sleeve….

Rockets Redglare as Santa Claus, Christmas Hangover Hop, ’91.

Why is it that at Christmas time, when you really need to lose yourself in TV, the worst movies are on? Everything else is re-runs. If station programmers had half a brain they’d save all their weirdest, whacked out stuff for Christmas week and the week after and get the alienated crowd, which I’m sure is huge (that’s why Christmas day is the biggest day for movie theaters). Since I don’t have kids, I’m allowed to hate Christmas, which I do. New York City is jammed with morons rushing around, pushing and shoving, no one looks happy. Everyone will be in debt until next August for crap no one needs. I didn’t post Christmas discs this year, I’m still sick of them from last year, anyway, there’s tons old Christmas rock’n’roll, country, blues and R&B onn the airchecks at the Hound aircheck site, I think the best one was in ’93. You can no longer download individual songs, only entire shows, mainly because it was getting rather expensive to maintain the thing. I figure everything that’s there is up somewhere else anyway, or most of it, besides, it’s been up there for years now and anyone who cares has already gone through itall. Unfortunately since last year’s two part Christmas disc posting was taken mostly from airchecks, the song links no longer work. Sorry, but nothing good lasts for very long in this life. Besides since the sound quality ain’t so good since it comes from cassette recordings from WFMU’s always (in NYC) dodgy signal.
I think I’m sort of in shock that the decade’s already over and nothing seemed to happen except everyone died, and the world I knew just seemed to vanish. I blame the worst president ever, but if he wasn’t so bad we would have finally gotten a black one. So I guess something good came out of it. Too bad he (Obama) is going to get blamed for the entire mess he inherited. Poor guy. I feel sorry for him.
The whole world I knew disappeared, even the cities I loved– New York and New Orleans are barely recognizable. The world just seems like a much meaner, uglier place.
They say that crime is going down, but I don’t believe it, they’re just manipulating the statistics.
If crime’s going down, why are two million people in jail? I don’t understand the kids today,
why do they want to join gangs and shoot each other? Is it all that bad music, bad movies, ugly clothing, bad jobs, bad drugs and really bad hair cuts? I guess I’d want to shoot somebody too if I was nineteen years old. I came to New York with $200 in my pocket. What would I do if I was just leaving home in this day and age? I have no idea.
The only thing that got better was TV— we’ve had some great ones– The Wire,The Shield, The Sopranos, Big Love, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry Sanders (ooops, that was twenty years ago? My time flys….), Breaking Bad, etc. And great big, HD flat screen TV’s to watch ’em on. Orwell in reverse. You wait, it’ll end. They’re already threatening to raise cable prices by 300%, which would bring my bill to around $500 a month. I hope they don’t stop making books.
Awwwy, I don’t mean to be a scrooge, I’ll leave you with one tune, my favorite Christmas record ever: Canned Heat & the Chimpmunks– Christmas Boogie. That seems rather stingy, here’s another Christmas present for you all, from WFMU’s Rock Rock’n’Soul Ichiban blog page, Bo Diddley, live 1959, you just gotta hear his version of Night Train! I guess it’s okay for me to give it away here since they gave away my Great Lost Hasil Adkins record (which turned out to be a good thing since they set up a faster connection). Despite a slightly distorted sound on the vocal mike, it’s a really great record. It’s nearly as good as Bo’s Beach Party (Checker, 1963). Evidently, someone pressed up a few copies of this 1959 frat party gig in the early seventies, I’ve never seen the actual LP, or even knew about it. I wish the garage jam tape from the old Bop comic book would get released. If you never saw the story, this kid invited Bo to his house to jam with his band, around 1963 and the next day Bo and Jerome showed up and played all day with these kids, they taped it and the still tape exists, but Bo’s manager wouldn’t let it come out, he was too busy pushing Bo’s rap record and horrible jams with Ron Wood. Now that Bo’s gone, what’s the harm of releasing it? Some day it’ll come out, I just hope I’m still around to enjoy it. Whenever I think of poor Bob Quine, I think, the little guy waited his whole life for the Link Wray Cadence LP, and then it comes out six months after he dies.

X-Mas part one

The above photo was taken from a live Hangover Hop WFMU radio broadcast done in I believe Dec. of ’91. That’s the late actor/degenerate Rocket Redglare as Santa Claus. The drink and cigarette weren’t the worst things he ingested that day.
For years comedy writer/producer/collector Eddie Gordetsky made Christmas tapes and then CD’s and sent ’em out to every cool person in the world. They were full of incredible, obscure, Christmas discs of all musical genres (and some that fit no known genre). This year he sent out an e-mail admitting he hated Christmas records and there would be no CD this year, he just sent out blank CD’s with a note to make your own and pass it along. So I’ll use this, and maybe another blog to do just that.
Truth is, I’m not crazy about Christmas either. New York City is full of stressed out shoppers and moronic tourists, all shoving and pushing. Traffic is a nightmare. The parties aren’t even fun anymore (and I don’t drink anyway courtesy of my damaged liver which doesn’t like to leave the house much anymore). And all that false “cheer” just depresses me.
I do like Christmas records because basically, rock’n’roll is a novelty music, and as such it translates to such things as Christmas records pretty well. Some groups best records are their Christmas records.
If you want to hear an entire three hours of Christmas discs you can find my Dec. ’93 show here. I think that was the best one. Not as good but with some different tunes is one from Dec. ’92 here. If you like your Christmas in smaller doses (recommended) here’s a few of my favorites.
Santo & Johnny’s Twistin’ Bells and the Ventures’ Sleigh Ride are my two favorite Xmas instrumentals.
On the vocal group R&B side of things the Marshall Brothers’ Mr. Santa’s Boogie, the Penguins’ Jingle Jangle, Marvin & Johnny’s It’s Christmas, the Marquees’ Christmas In The Congo, the Falcons’ Can This Be Christmas?, the Hepsters’ Rockin’ and Rollin’ With Santa Claus, the Youngsters’ Christmas In Jail, the Martels’ Rockin’ Santa Claus, and my old favorite Hank Ballard & the Midnighters’ Santa Claus Is Coming would all be at the top of my list.
On the rockabilly/white rocker front I’ve always loved Johnny Preston’s I Want A Rock’n’Roll Guitar, Cordell Jackson’s (I miss her Christmas cards) Be-Bopper’s Christmas, Little Joey Farr’s
Rock’n’Roll Santa, the Davis Sisters’ Christmas Boogie, Tommy Lee & the Orbits’ Jingle Rock, the Holly Twins’ I Want Elvis For Christmas (that’s Eddie Cochran doin’ the Elvis impersonation), Hasil Adkins’ Santa Claus Boogie (sounds more like Santa’s Hunch to me), Gary Remo Quartet’s St. Nick Rock, Brendan Hanlan and his Bat Men’s Christmas Party (dig that guitar solo), 3 Aces & a Joker’s Sleigh Bell Rock (flip side of “Booze Party”) and Chuck Blevins’ Sleigh Bell Rock. If those don’t liven up your Christmas party, try taking your clothes off.
     The best soul Christmas record of all time is Clarence Carter’s Back Door Santa. There’s plenty of other good ones though, including Johnny & Jon’s Christmas In Viet Nam, Clyde Lasley & the Cadillac Babies’ Santa Came Home Drunk, Detroit Jr.’s Christmas Day  and Nathaniel Mayer’s Mr. Santa Claus (too bad Nat won’t be around this Christmas, R.I.P., I bet him and Rockets have a lot to talk about on the other side).
     For Christmas blues here’s Eddie C. Cambell’s wonderful Santa’s Messin’ With The Kid, Charles Brown’s Miserable Christmas, Washboard Pete’s Christmas Blues, Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Santa, John Lee Hooker’s Blues For Christmas, Sonny Boy (What Number Sonny Boy Am I Again?) Williamson’s Sonny Boy’s Christmas Blues (actually it’s #2, Rice Miller, I am Sonny Boy #523 btw), Louis Jordan’s Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Robert Nighthawk’s Merry Christmas Baby is also a nice guitar workout, as is Hop Wilson’s Merry Christmas Darling.
     For those who like rockin’ R&B, the best Christmas record ever is Huey Smith & the Clowns Christmas album– Twas The Night Before Christmas (Ace). From said lp here’s Rock’n’Roll Santa and the best version ever of Silent Night. The whole LP can be found here.  Bobbie & Boobie’s Cool Cool Christmas  rocks like crazy, as does Jimmy Butler’s Trim Your Tree (dirty too).
    Now here’s some oddball Christmas records I like starting with my all-time favorite Christmas disc– Canned Heat & the Chipmunks (they were both on Liberty, why not?) jamming out on Christmas Boogie. Good thing Bear Hite didn’t step on one of the Chipmunks, he’d a crushed the little fella. I’d say this is Canned Heat’s best record ever. Commander Cody’s Lost Planet Airmen’s Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas is another great one, it’s the only record of theirs I own. The Sonics sure deliver the goods on Don’t Believe In Christmas for you garage fans. Bob Seger & his Last Heard never sounded more like Mitch Ryder & his Detroit Wheels than they did on this one– Sock It To Me Santa. Again, this might be his best record (at least in his top three along with “East Side Story” and “Ramblin’ Gamlin’ Man”). Hope this brings some cheer to your Christmas season, especially you broke mother fuckers.
    I’ve done worn myself out for the moment, I’ll get to more great rock’n’roll and some cool country Christmas discs in another posting in the next week or so. Feel free to post requests or your own favorites, if I have ’em I’ll try and post ’em.

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