Friday, December 7, 2018

My Christmas Time Philosophy, Part 1

The chief reason I started this blog was to share a little background information about the material I included on each of my annual holiday collections. When I first started to develop an interest in offbeat and obscure holiday audio I relied on the internet as the source for most of my material and I found it frustrating to search for even the most basic information about some of the wonderful tracks I was finding online. Happily, a number of collectors went out of their way to include some interesting background about some of the items they shared, and I wanted to try to do the same for each of the tracks I was sharing.

I typically post about two or three tracks at a time working my way from the front to the back. The tracks in each day's post are presented in reverse order so that the final list, if assembled chronologically as daily posting clusters, would yield a list in true reverse order.

Track 2
Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas), by The Weather Girls (1983)

My friend Lorenzo introduced me to this song several years ago and he's asked me each year since why I haven't included it on one of my annual mixes. Sometimes it's tough to to find a place for certain tracks, and that's certainly true of this one. But it's a great song that's not widely known so I'm happy to use it this year on My Christmas Time Philosophy. I'm not at all sure that it necessarily fits where I've put it  in between a children's visit from Santa and '50s-style rockabilly number. But it's a fun, campy tune by a couple of women with among the most memorable voices in post-Beatles pop music, so this year it makes the cut.

The Weather Girls consists primarily of Izora Armstead and Martha Wash, former back-up singers for Sylvester, the flamboyant male diva whose smash hit "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" has long been an anthem to the San Francisco gay community. The pair started out in 1977 under the name Two Tons O' Fun, later becoming The Two Tons, and, finally The Weather Girls. In 1982, they scored their biggest hit  ever with "It's Raining Men," the video of which appeared in heavy rotation on both VH1 and MTV. Despite its phenomenal success in dance clubs around the world, "It's Raining Men" never cracked the Billboard Top 40, and the group's subsequent releases did even less well. For all its passion and intensity, "Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas)" failed to even make the Hot 100. Yet this song, which, like "It's Raining Men" was co-written by former David Letterman side-man Paul Shaffer, remains a holiday staple in many dance clubs even today. Enjoy!


Track 1
Holiday on Ice - A ride with Santa (Intro), by Walt Jacobs (1967)
Both the first and last track on this year's mix are by a fellow named Walt Jacobs from his 1967 album Santa's Own Christmas. This first track, cleverly titled "Intro,"
consists of a small number of children watching for – and eventually finding – Santa Claus as he prepares for his annual holiday tour. You can hear the excitement in the children's voices, and it's just that magical anticipation that helps to give me enough of the Christmas spirit each year to start my holiday shopping and what not.

I previously tapped this album for one of my previous mixes, including "What Santa Wants for Christmas" on my 2007 bonus mix Hooray for Santa Claus.

Billboard magazine featured a short piece on the album in its November 4, 1967 edition, which noted the following:
Santa's Own Christmas
Walt Jacobs, Chicago-based performer-writer, is taking on the guise of Santa Claus for his first disk outing on the Capitol label. Playing the role of Santa Claus has been Jacobs’ Christmas commitment for the past several years. He has been Santa at orphanages and schools  in [the] mid-West area. But it was only last year that he decided to play the part on an independently produced album.
In the package, which was also written by Jacobs, Santa Claus presents his view of Christmas for children. ‘The fantasies of children are on a high level,’ Jacobs said on a recent visit to New York, ‘and an adult can only communicate with them on that level.’
Christmas with Santa and His Friends
Jacobs will take off his Santa Claus uniform after the Yule drive to begin work on other projects he’s got in mind to fulfill his seven-year commitment to the label. He’s keeping his ideas under wraps right now but the future projects, he said, will cover both the children’s and adult fields.
I haven't been able to find much evidence that Walt completed any additional original projects, although he is credited as a contributor to a Radio Shack release from 1979 called "Christmas with Santa and His Friends." It appears to include the contents of "Santa's Own Christmas" together with a number of additional tracks.

Listen to Walt Jacobs' 1967 album "Santa's Own Christmas"

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