Monday, December 10, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus, Part 8

Today, I've got a little background information about three more tracks from my latest holiday mix, Here Comes Santa Claus:

Track 22
Santa’s Big Red Car, by Bobby Farrell
I first came across this tune several years ago by way of the Ernie (Not Bert) blog, which is a favorite spot for collectors of offbeat and out-of-print music of all types. According to Ernie, he found the song among a bunch of used novelty records at a store in St. Petersburg, Florida. “I was hoping for a Beach Boys-Little Saint Nick-type thing,” he wrote, “but this is what I got.” I think it’s kind of a cute little song myself, although I haven’t been able to find out much about it, or about the man who recorded it. I’m reasonably sure that this wasn’t recorded by the “Bobby Farrell” who sang lead for the German/Jamaican group Boney M, whose disco hit Daddy Cool was a favorite of mine back in the day. There does seem to have been at least one additional Bobby Farrell who’s made records in the past – a guy who first recorded as “Little” Bobby Farrell beginning sometime in the 1950s before expanding his horizons to become active in various other areas of the music business. Here’s how the ReverbNation website describes this second (or first) Bobby Farrell:

Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Band Leader, Broadcaster, Model, Actor, Record Producer, Booking Agent, Concert Tour Director & Producer, Music Publisher, Promoter, Licenser, Distributor, Production Studio Owner/Operator, Show Producer, Night Club Owner/Operator, Sound Engineer, Lighting Director, Artist &: Road Manager, Pressing Plant Foreman, Printer, Graphics Art Director, Disc Jockey, Radio Talk Master, Program/Music Director, and that's just a few of his Entertainment Credits! If it has to do with Recorded Music and Entertainment, Bobby Farrell has been there and made a success of each and every venture.

His honesty and integrity are exceeded only by his expertise. He founded BFM Enterprises at Dayton, Ohio, in 1959, and built it into one of the surviving Super Seven General Licensers that promote, manufacture and distribute records and motion pictures, videos, CDs and DVDs world wide! It should come as no surprise that his Vandor Motion Pictures, PhonoRecords and Music Publishing Group is the only one of that Super Seven that isn't in debt!

He also is a Master Metaphysician, an accomplished Novelist, Globe Trotter (he helped measure the earth [IGY July 1957-December 1958] with Team II 1959-1966), Inventor, Scalar Scientist, Political and Civil Rights Activist, and Firearms Handling Expert.
Now, while all this sounds a little over the top, I don’t have any reason to dispute any of it, and I’m not sure I would in any event in light of that last item on his resumé. I tend to avoid getting into it with firearms handling experts whenever possible.

Track 21
Rockin’ in a Christmas/New Year, by The Fools (1992)
The Fools
Growing up around Boston when I did, I remember The Fools as a popular novelty-type band that played some unusually good original material and appealed primarily to the area’s large college-age population. Their first hit record was a 1979 take-off on the Talking Heads’ song Psycho Killer called Psycho Chicken. The Fools were signed by EMI the following year, and their first major label single, “It’s a Night for Beautiful Girls,” was a minor hit in markets across the country. The band got additional exposure in the early 1980s as the opening band for both The Knack and Van Halen on their world tours, but they were never quite able to make the big jump to national prominence themselves. There are at least two different versions of Rockin’in a Christmas/New Year, the first of which was released in 1986 and features a completely different set of celebrity party guests than the 1992 version I’ve used in this year’s holiday mix. Frankly, I prefer the earlier version, as it's not only less violent but features cooler celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen and Prince. I used the later release, however, for reasons of sound quality. Both versions remain seasonal favorites on Boston-area radio stations to this day.

Track 20
Holiday Greetings from the Cast of "The Nanny" (1993)
I’ve never been a big fan of prime time network television, and I’m pretty sure I saw only one episode of The Nanny during its original six-season run on CBS. But several years after its network finale, the show was picked up in syndication by Lifetime Television, which started airing it at 7:00 am in place of The Golden Girls. Since I'd grown accustomed to having breakfast with Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia every morning, I left the TV on the same channel after the switch and slowly got used to The Nanny. It's a cute little show that had some mildly amusing moments, and while the story lines were mostly retreads, the characters were nice enough and they became comfortable breakfast companions who didn't mind me reading the news or cleaning the apartment while they were on. I like that in a breakfast date.

Here's the show's pilot episode, which pretty much tells the whole story:

Tomorrow: Rudolph and Tag Along, the guard dog you never knew Santa had.

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