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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Deck Those Halls, Part 6 (Tracks 16-18)

Greetings holiday music fans. It looks like we're going to have a race to the finish here, because with only nine days to go before the big day I've still got 27 tracks to discuss here in some form or fashion. That's a pretty tall order, so I'd best get to it.

Track 18
C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, by "Little" Marcy Tigner (1973)
When I put together my first few holiday mixes some 15 years ago, a significant number of the tracks I included were selected solely because of how awful they were. Seriously! Wait, you don't believe me? Try this little number on for size:  Track 32 from my 2005 mix. Or this one:  Track 34 from my 2006 mix. OK, I can hear the cries of "Uncle!" I'll stop. I only wish I'd shown that same sort of mercy and self-restraint when it came to picking this year's Track 18, but for some reason I turned sadistic and chose this monstrosity by the deceitful Marcy Tigner.

News flash! This hateful mess of audio was recorded by a middle-aged woman impersonating a child, and not by a cute little girl, as the "artist" would have you believe. Well, I already wrote about this woman in a 2011 post, and I have nothing more add. I apologize for my cruelty in selecting this track and promise it won't happen again.

(NOTE: I thought I'd amuse myself just now by doing a Google search for pictures of "Little" Marcy and her keeper online and discovered two horrifying facts. First, this obnoxious young child appears to have had quite a time of it in the 1970s, because  my Google Image search turned up at least 20 different album covers featuring her happy little face.  Even worse, tucked among the pictures the search turned up were several of my 2011 mix! Never again I promise! (Look at this kid closely, by the way. I'm not even sure she's a human being.)

Track 17
Holiday Greetings, by Eddie Kendricks 
Eddie Kendricks
An Alabama native known for his distinctive falsetto voice, Eddie Kendricks is perhaps best known for his work during the 1960s as a member of R&B supergroup The Temptations. From 1965 through 1973 the group had 15 Top 10 records, including four Number One singles:  "My Girl," "I Can't Get Next to You," "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," and "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)." Kendricks sang lead vocals on the latter song, which has been described as "Eddie's finest moment." Another song featuring Kendricks on lead vocals was intended to be the follow-up single to "Just My Imagination," but Kendricks left the band on bad terms around that same time, and the would-be follow-up, "Smiling Faces," was given away instead to the band The Undisputed Truth.

Kendricks was quickly signed by Motown after leaving The Temptations, and though it took awhile to get started, he enjoyed a very successful solo career. I was a huge fan of R&B, soul and even disco when I was growing up, and I first got turned on to Kendricks after hearing his rather touching single, "Shoeshine Boy." That was only a modest hit, but Kendricks also had smash hits like "Keep on Truckin'" and "Boogie Down," which made it to #1 and #2, respectively, on Billboard's Hot 100.

Tragically, Kendricks died of lung cancer in 1992. But he will be remembered as a huge contributor to an era of amazingly rich music.

Listen to "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," by the Temptations, featuring Eddie Kendricks on lead vocals

Track 16
O Christmas Tree, by The Orphan, The Poet

Drum roll, please . . . for now we come to my very favorite song on this year's mix, "O Christmas Tree," by the Dayton, Ohio band The Orphan, The Poet. You can hear the song HERE. I've played it at least 30 or 40 times over the past couple of months, and it hasn't lost a bit of its original appeal to me. They also have a number of other awesome holiday tunes kicking around, such as their version of "Have Yourself a Merry, Little Christmas," which, through the magic of the interweb, is available below:



If you're lucky enough to live in Dayton (did I just write that?), be sure to attend the band's Christmas Extravaganza at the Canal Public House in Dayton this Friday night, starting at 7:30. And wherever you're from, check out their beautiful version of "O Christmas Tree."

We'll be back with more sometime soon.

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