Sunday, December 13, 2015

Deck Those Halls, Part 5 (Tracks 13-15)

Christmas is fast approaching, like some demented maniac in a third-rate horror film – and I realize that I'd better put a little more time into this project if I'm to have any hope of sharing at least a little something about each of the 42 tracks on my latest holiday mix before Christmas. My latest mix, Deck Those Halls, is available on my holiday music website, where you'll also find a track list, CD label and jewel-box insert card – everything you need to make a copy of your own. But several big projects at work have been taking more time than I'd hoped, which leaves less time than I'd hoped, and, of course, my computer printer chose Thanksgiving weekend to die, just as I was starting to prepare my annual mailing to family and friends. So, yes, I'm running well behind this year. Who isn't? But we'll all survive, I'm sure. There's no sense in letting time pressure or the fear of running late ruin this wonderful time of year!

Track 15
D'yer Santa (Sled Zeppelin), by Bob Rivers (1997)

I've always liked the music of Led Zeppelin, as well as most of the solo and side project stuff released by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. But I'm not the kind of fan who can discuss any of the above with even the slightest degree of confidence. So when I first noticed this holiday number, I believed what I was told, which is that it was the work of the actual Led Zeppelin – well, the surviving members, anyway. Of course, it's not. It's actually the creation of Bob Rivers, who's both a very successful rock radio DJ and a talented musical parody artist who specializes in holiday material, among other things. To date, he's released five studio albums of Christmas parodies, each of which offers at least as much good material as not, which, in this genre, is pretty damn good.

Rivers has been into radio since his early teens, and he's had a long and – well, I was going to call it a "distinguished" career, but that might be pushing it a little. Let's just say it was long and lots of fun. He started doing parody records during a stint at WAAF-FM in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 1988 he released his first parody album, Twisted Christmas, featuring "The 12 Pains of Christmas." During the next quarter century, Rivers continued to work his day job as a radio announcer but also put out a string of successful parody records, many of which had a decidedly Christmas feel to them. 

This particular track is from Rivers' 1997 release, "More Twisted Christmas," and it's inspired by the classic rock song "D'yer Maker" by Led Zeppelin. 

Rivers retired last year, and currently lives with his wife in Washington State.

Track 14
I Adore Christmas, by Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage (c. 1987)
Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage

This is just a short soundbite I first heard on The Daily Wav, a wonderful website that posts a simple audio clip each day, typically under ten seconds long. This one's a perfect transitional soundbite from one song to another, and I'm always pleased to give Dame Edna a little attention. I've known a number of drag performers over the years, most of whom have been delightful people, and very funny. Dame Edna is the creation of Australian performer Barry Humphries, who first started using the character in the 1950s, believe it or not. The Dame has certainly evolved over the years, but she has always been loved best for her ability to connect with everyday people as she quietly skewers the notions of celebrity that she simultaneously adores and reviles. I will have to add some further thoughts about her another time.

Track 13
Santa's Lost His Mojo, by Jeremy Lister (2008)

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