Saturday, December 26, 2015

Deck Those Halls, Part 8 (Tracks 22-30)

Merry Christmas to one and all, and my sincere apologies for falling so far behind this year with my summaries of the tracks on this year's holiday mix, Deck Those Halls! It's been a busier December than I'm used to, and there hasn't been much free time to tend to this sort of business, so let me take a few minutes here to at least hjit diown a few words about some of the other tracks I included on thisd year;s collection.

Track 30
Holiday News Brief, by the American Comedy Network
Dr. Demento
This track was a favorite on the old Dr. Demento Show, which started in the early 1970s on KPPC-FM and later enjoyed considerable popularity in syndication throughout and even outside the United States. Hosted by Barry Hansen, the Demento show featured a wide variety of novelty and comedy bits. I first heard it as a college freshman, where it was popular with a small group of guys in my dorm who played Dungeons and Dragons and dressed up in Star Trek outfits. I gave them pretty wide berth and steered clear of Dr. Demento as well, but I rediscovered the show a few years ago in its current internet version, and I'll be the first to say that I wished I'd started listening earlier. A lot of it's pretty cornball, but there's lots of fun stuff, too. This little clip falls dead center in the cornball bucket, but, what the heck. That's what makes it fun.

Track 29
Claude De Santos, by Mudlow
I love surfing the internet to find new music and other goodies, and I’m pretty good at turning up interesting stuff, as I hope my collections bear out. Unfortunately, I’m not so good at documenting where I’ve been and how to get back there. So I don’t have any idea where I ran across this track, or where you can find a copy of your own. I love this one myself. I love its film noir feel, and its dirty, almost sinister swagger. However, at least several friends have cited this as their least favorite cut on this year’s mix, which is really saying something when you consider it’s a collection that includes selections from Laffy and Little Marcy Tigner. 

I can tell you (and I believe this is reasonably accurate) that Mudlow is “a three piece rock band from Brighton, England, inspired by country, f@#*ed-up blues, garage, striptease, klezmer …  stuff like Bo Diddley, Tom Waits, Morphine and The Cramps.“ I know that because I did manage to save that quote along with the song. But I’ve no idea who “Claude De Santos” is, what he’s got to do with Christmas, or whether he or anyone else really “gave Rudy a red nose with a trash can lid.” Anyone with further information is invited to contact me ... or your local police department.

Track 28
Holiday Greetings from Bjork
I actually like Bjork's music -- both her work as a solo artist, and with The Sugarcubes. But I confess that whenever her name comes up, the first thing I think of is this clip from Saturday Night Live, where she's portrayed, believe it or not, by Winona Rider:

Watch the entire clip of "Rock and Roll Jeopardy" featuring Bjork from SNL

Track 27
How NOT to Make Gravy, by Benny Davis, featuring Mark Sutton (2014)
Please refer to the description for Track 25, below.

Track 26
Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny Radio Spot, featuring Jay Ripley as Santa Claus (1972)
This track is a radio ad for a the God-awful monstrosity  we featured as last year's Boxing Day Horror Show, the 1972 film, "Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny." I shudder just thinking about it.

Hear the Radio Promo Spot

Watch the Entire Video (WARNING:  Are You Really Sure You Want to Do This?)

Watch an Excerpt from the RiffRax Version of the Video

Track 25
How to Make Gravy, by Paul Kelly (1996)
I have to admit I had some doubts about including both this track and the 2014 take-off by Benny Davis (Track 27) on the same mix. The Paul Kelly original is a beautifully crafted and touching song written as a letter from a newly imprisoned man to his brother just a few days before Christmas. In it, the author imagines all the fun he'll be missing at the family's traditional holiday gathering, and in so doing, conveys the value of each small piece and the enormity of the loss he will suffer. It's a terrific record and therefore not surprising that it's become a treasured part of the holiday oeuvre in Australia, which is where the artist Paul Kelly resides. I mean, just listen to it:

The Benny Davis send-up, by contrast, is irreverent and unseemly. And yet, from the moment I first heard last year's "How NOT to Make Gravy," I knew I had to use it. It's just too perfect! What do you think?  Appropriate, or not?

Thanks to Stubby's House of Christmas.

Track 24
After Christmas Sale Radio Spot from Crazy Eddie's Appliance Store
The Crazy Eddie's story has an awful, tragic ending, but for a time there in the early- to mid-1980s, you couldn't turn on a TV in the Tri-State area (Connecticut, New York and New Jersey) without hearing one of their advertisements. This is just one of many.

Track 23
We Celebrate Kwanzaa, by the Cast of Sesame Street
I've been looking for quite awhile to find a short clip that actually describes Kwanzaa in terms that are understandable and accessible. This clip from Sesame Street does a terrific job, I think.

Watch the Actual Sesame Street Clip

Read More HERE

Track 22
Poor Mr. Santa Claus, by Andre Williams 

Commentary Coming Soon

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