Monday, December 19, 2011

Gee Whiz ... It's Christmas (Again!), Part 10

Well, we’re now in the home stretch of our review of the 43 tracks on my latest holiday CD, Gee Whiz … It’s Christmas (Again!). As a quick reminder, this year’s CD is available for download on my holiday music website, HERE, though December 25. You can download the CD either as a single .mp3 file or as a zip folder with all 43 individual tracks. My first project on this new blog has been to share some thoughts about the various tracks in the mix, and we continue today with Tracks 38 and 39.

Track 39
I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus, by Amy Winehouse (2010)
On several of my most recent holiday CDs, I’ve tried to include a couple of numbers by famous entertainers who died during the preceding 12 months as a tribute to their work. Sadly, we’ve lost more than a few notable people in 2011, and of them, this year’s CD honors Amy Winehouse, Andy Rooney and Clarence Clemons. Winehouse was an exceptionally talented British singer with a remarkable range of styles and musical interests. Her first album, Frank, won very favorable reviews after its 2003 release, but it was her sophomore release, Back to Black, that elevated Winehouse to music’s A List. At the 2007 Grammy Awards, she took away a record five Grammy statues, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Unfortunately, Winehouse struggled with a variety of personal issues, including substance abuse, relationship troubles and mental health issues, and she was known as much for her troubled lifestyle as for her musical talent. Although she never had the chance to record a holiday album, her version of “I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus,” taken from a British television broadcast, gives us an idea of what one might have sounded like.

Track 38
Christmas Catalogs, by Andy Rooney (2008)
Writer Andy Rooney was best known for his trademark commentaries at the end of the CBS weekly show, 60 Minutes. Rooney joined the program in 1978 and retired this past September at the age of 92. He died just one month later. Rooney was something of a curmudgeon, but a lovable and popular one. I included an excerpt from a relatively recent Rooney commentary on this year’s CD. The subject is holiday catalogs, and it’s vintage Andy Rooney. The full commentary can be seen HERE. For another Rooney holiday piece, see HERE.

More tomorrow. And before we go, there's an important public service announcement waiting for you HERE.  (Thanks, Mondo Diablo).

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