It’s (The Day After) Chriiiistmas!!!

Hands up whose head hurts.

image

Some of you lot have definitely got both hands up. There’s no need to show off, just because you’re tired and hung over.

Just the one song today. I’m pretty sure when John Lennon wrote this, he fully intended for it to be used as a cheap gag about the Christmas left-overs that we’ll all be living off for the next few weeks. Which is lucky, since that’s exactly what’s happening right now.

hit-by-hit

The Godfathers – Cold Turkey

I’m off for a very long lie down.

More soon.

 

Advertisements

It’s (still) Chriiiistmas!!!

Apparently, here in the UK, on average most families sit down to eat their Christmas dinner between 1:00 and 2:00 in the afternoon, presumably so they all be ready to watch the Queen’s Speech at 3:00pm.

In our house, we sit down to eat at around 2:55pm, in a room specifically selected for being as far from a television as possible, for completely the opposite reason.

This means that by about 7:00 in the evening…how can I put this… things are starting to work their way through.

Which means it’s time to welcome the latest house guest:

mr-hankey

South Park – Mr Hanky The Christmas Poo

You’re welcome.

Hope you all had a great day.

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Finally, the big day is here.

You know it is. It really is.

frank-sidebottom-christmas-is-really-fantastic-in-tape

Frank Sidebottom – Christmas is Really Fantastic

So, as a special treat for all of you folks old enough to remember back as far as 1982:

51FT8AHmlpL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_R-1629881-1341224038-5272_jpeg

Smash Hits Happy Xmas From The Stars 1982 FlexiDisc

Now last night, you should have had a visit from a jolly old sod dressed in red and white. I do hope you kept your head under the covers and didn’t peek. The lead singer on the next track was clearly emotionally scarred by what he witnessed one Christmas Eve; what other excuse can there be for some of the things he (allegedly, make sure you say allegedly – Legal Editor) allegedly got up to in later life?

Jackson5-ChristmasAlbum

The Jackson 5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

And if that vision wasn’t enough to screw the little fellow up, then having his brothers illustrate the indecent act by harmonising the words “Tickle! Tickle!” around him as he recounted what he witnessed certainly would.

Let’s move on, shall we?

One of my favourite Christmas Records featuring two of my favourite indie pop acts. A real Christmas bargain, a Buy One Get One Free deal if you will:

christmas

Saint Etienne feat. Tim Burgess – I Was Born On Christmas Day

Well, Sarah, Tim, I hate to break the news to you, but so was this chap:

Big_Star_Jesus_Christ_OV-153

Big Star – Jesus Christ

(See, I don’t just throw this shit together, you know)

And since I’ve just about managed to drag this back to the true meaning of Christmas, a song which isn’t particularly Christmassy, but the title is. There’s plenty of versions of this knocking about to choose from: Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Alexandra Burke to name but a few. Me, I’ve plumped for this one:

MI0003613165

Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Enjoy your day, folks. You deserve it for sticking with me and my inane ramblings, if nothing else.

Cheers!

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Oh ok, I admit it then. I’m not Father Christmas. I’m a very naughty boy.

So back to the tuneage, and I figured that after yesterday’s feast of festive forlornness, I’d liven things up with a couple of songs by your actual crooners.

For me, Christmas is a perfect time to revisit some of these easy-listening idols, so here’s a couple to get us in the mood. First up is walking talking Grecian 2000 advert (on this album sleeve anyway), Andy Williams:

51g+UUFnwzL__SY300_

Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And then there’s Dean “King of Cool” Martin, member of The Rat Pack and provider of the next song; so iconic was he that you can just picture him, tuxedo on, bow tie undone, his trademark glass of scotch in his hand:

Dean+Martin+A+Winter+Romance+413948

Dean Martin – Let it Snow

I think he must have drawn those baubles himself, using his tumbler holding hand with the tumbler still in place.

Next on my list of easy-listening, velvet on the ear crooners, is…er….Billy Idol.

What do you mean you never knew Billy Idol had recorded a Christmas song? Course he did. He only went and recorded a whole album of the ruddy things back in 2006. Don’t believe me? Well, with a sleeve straight out of a family round robin card, here you go:

Cover_happyholidays

Billy Idol – Here Comes Santa Claus

Actually, that leads me rather nicely on (slightly disingenuous of me that, I totally planned it) to a couple of rock legends for some songs about that old fella who’ll be breaking into your house later, necking your sherry, scoffing your mince pies, and treading reindeer crap right the way through your house:

61YMDQZeqlL

Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

I have to admit that I had no idea until I was writing this that that hadn’t been a single in its own right, but rather was tucked away on the B-side of his My Hometown single. See, it’s an education for us all this, isn’t it?

And it seems that at some time or another, every grizzled old walnut faced warbling misery guts has got in on the Christmas record act:

bob_dylan_christmas_in_the_heart_20

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan in bouncy Christmas record shocker? What next – Morrissey covering “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”? Leonard Cohen doing “While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night?” (Actually, I’d happily buy both of those.) Van Morrison teaming up with Cliff Richard? Oh wait…that one actually happened….:

How was that allowed to happen?

But it’s not just weird Christmas collaborations that have me scratching my head though:

Clarence_Carter_-_Testifyin'

Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

Er…doesn’t Santa come down the chimney. He can’t mean…no…he doesn’t….can he??? Dirty boy.

Moving swiftly on, a song from a Christmas Peel Session which, as far as I’m aware, never got commercially released, although as always I’m open to correction about that. For example, for some reason I had it in my head that this was recorded at Peel Acres, but a little digging on that there internet tells me that it was just done at the normal Maida Vale studios, and transmitted to an expectant nation back on 18th December 2002. Two years later, Peel was dead. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but I don’t think we should rule it out just yet:

Jp_copy

Belle & Sebastian – Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me

(I’ve no idea who photo-shopped that, but whoever you are, I salute you.)

By 1978, The Kinks were no longer the force they were back in the 60s, and that’s fairly evident from this single which, to be honest, could just have easily featured in yesterday’s post, telling as it does the story of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids demanding that he gives them money instead of toys, which he should give to “to the little rich boys” instead:

kinks~~~~~~_fatherchr_101b

The Kinks – Father Christmas

To round up things on this Christmas Eve, a song which I think has to go down as one of the weirdest Christmas records I own. Years ago, whilst trawling through the second hand section of Andy’s Records in Peterborough, I stumbled across a compilation album of alternative versions of Christmas songs. It includes a prototype version of “Step Into Christmas” by The Wedding Present, “The First Noel” by Test Crash Dummies, “Silent Night” by The Primitives, a load of other (possibly Australian, since the album came out on Aussie label Dead Line Records) acts, but which culminated in the definitely not Australian but definitely not to be fucked with Henry Rollins:

Various-Indie+A+Lump+Of+Coal+536765

Henry Rollins – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Of course, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I mentioned I was reluctant to do any posts involving Christmas songs. My how times have changed.

There was a reason for this, other than thinking you’d all be sick of hearing Christmas songs by now. Let me take you back a few years.

I was still sharing a flat with Hel, and she, along with our two other flatmates (I say two, I actually mean one other official flatmate and his girlfriend who practically moved in on the same day as he did) suggested we had a Friday night in, just the four of us (so I’m reluctant to call it a House Party, although that’s exactly what it was) and they asked me to do a Christmas playlist to last the night.

I spent the next few weeks finding songs to fill a few hours, my idea to be structure them into sequences of three or four upbeat cheerful ones to have a bit of a dance to, then a slower one or two for us to sit down, catch our breaths, and of course, have a ciggie. And more booze.

Alas, time caught up with me, and I didn’t have chance to fashion them into any kind of order, so I elected to simply put the playlist on shuffle and hope for the best.

You can guess what happened next. My iPod decided to get the ratios the wrong way round, merrily skipping to six or seven slow, depressing Christmas plodders in a row, then chucking in Shaky’s “Merry Christmas Everyone” to lull us into a false sense of security, before reverting back to the death dirges again.

Needless to say, it was not the joyous Christmas knees-up that had been requested. I think we were all in bed by 10.30.

Well, they say that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger, so I thought I’d post a few of the less cheerful songs today, just to temper those Christmas spirits, you understand.

First up, breathy songstress Isobel Campbell and gravel-throated Mark Lanegan, from their excellent third album “Hawk”:

MI0002988083

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Time of the Season

Next up, a slightly more upbeat track by an actual couple (at the time anyway, I’ve no idea whether they still are) from what is one of my favourite Christmas albums of recent years:

thisischristmasalbum_566

Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

Could that sleeve be any more twee indie?

A few songs by female artistes now, and taken from her breakthrough album “I Speak Because I Can” (I call it her breakthrough album partly because it was the first thing I ever heard by her, but also because by now she had ditched Mumford & Sons, who I seem to remember used to be her backing band at some point, but I’m buggered if I can find any reference to this anywhere, so maybe I dreamt it):

I-speak

Laura Marling – Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

Moving swiftly on, here’s a bona fide female icon performing a rather over-looked single. Released back in 1980, shortly after her second album “Never for Ever”, I think I had managed to completely avoid hearing this until one of those Top of the Pops 2 Christmas Specials came on last year. You know the kind of thing, where Steve Wright, or more latterly Mark Radcliffe, make super lame jokes about the clip he’s introducing. Whoever would do such a thing? (*coughs…looks guiltily around*)  Needless to say, it’s an absolute joy:

220px-December_Will_Be_Magic_Again

Kate Bush – December Will Be Magic Again

A word of warning. When I was searching for the sleeve for that single, I actually mistyped her name, writing Hate Bush by mistake. Let me tell you, that brings up a whole different set of search results than I had been expecting, only about 2% of which referred to the former US President.

Mind you, “Hate Bush” would be an excellent slogan for a t-shirt, like those “Brian Maiden” ones which were doing the rounds a few years ago. Does me typing it here count as my having copyrighted it?

(Why do I think there was one of those t-shirts about Motorhead too…? Ah yes, a certain someone I know once got Iron Maiden and Motorhead mixed up and accidentally referred to them as “Maidenhead”. Pffft! You know who you are!)

Anyway, you want iconic female singers doing slightly unhappy songs about Christmas? Well, you came to the right place, I got ’em. How about some nice Joni Mitchell:

joni

Joni Mitchell – River

Actually, I have a confession to make about that choice: I was rather hoping I’d be able to track down Michael Ball’s version somewhere, but have had no joy. Ho Hum. There’s always next year.

Anyway, never mind that its opening melody is “Jingle Bells” in a minor key and that the lyrics begin with a seasonal scene: “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees/They’re putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace.” Ultimately, “River” is a bereft song about a broken romance and a woman who desperately wants to escape her heartbreak, saying repeatedly: “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

Well Joni, this must be your lucky day!

smith_burrows-when_the_thames_froze_s

Smith & Burrows -When The Thames Froze

For the unitiated, that’s Tom Smith – lead singer from Editors – and Andy Burrows who you will no doubt recognise as being the drummer from Razorlight (and now of We Are Scientists, apparently). So, proper indie royalty then (*ahem*)

Speaking of Indie Royalty, hands up who remembers this lot? Pretty huge a little while back weren’t they?

6358536320646437721386036997_Killers_RED_XMAS_EP_RGB

The Killers – Boots

Three to go for today, two of which are from artists that I have banged on about an awful lot on these pages. Firstly it’s Gruff Rhys, lead singer of Super Furry Animals, from his bloody-wonderful-but-then-I-would-say-that-wouldn’t-I? “Atheist Xmas EP”:

Gruff-Rhys-Atheist-Xmas-EP

Gruff Rhys – Post-Apocalypse Christmas

Think yourself lucky I didn’t post (and I shit you not, I haven’t made this up) “Slashed Wrists This Christmas” from the same EP. Still brilliant, but maybe a little too dark for tonight’s post.

Instead, something which could quite easily have cropped up in my “From Leeds With Love” series, had I actually been arsed to write any of them for a while; yes, it’s The Wedding Present covering Sir Elton:

Wedding-Present-No-Christmas-12-11822

The Wedding Present – Step Into Christmas

And lastly for today, before you get all cheerful again, this, two minutes of a newscaster reading horrible headlines about how terrible everything is whilst the evil ones from The Detectorists sing “Silent Night” in the background:

549287

Simon & Garfunkel – 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night

Now, tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I’ll be travelling home to spend Christmas with my parents, so there may, or may not, be a post-tomorrow, depending on whether I get all of the things done in time that I need to. Which you could take to be a cover story to obscure the fact that I am actually Father Christmas. You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

More soon.

 

 

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

So I took last night off. Can’t have you getting used to me posting every day, now can we?

Anyway, last night was my night to get all my Christmas wrapping done. Another job ticked off the list.

Now, where were we?

Oh yes, we finished off the last little instalment with Run DMC.

Which means there’s only one place for us to start today’s batch of Christmas tunes:

the_waitresses_christmas_wrapping

The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

Obligatory tenuous link/terrible joke out of the way, I thought the rest of the posts today could be cover versions of Christmas songs.

Now I’m not saying these are better than the originals, just…well, y’know…they’re not the originals.

First up, one that I can guarantee is 100% Linda-free:

Print

The Shins – Wonderful Christmastime

Now, what would Christmas be, without the omniprescent turkey necked arm-waving God botherer that is Sir Cliff? Well, stick around and you’ll find out. Here’s a cover of one of his festive hits, which as far as I can make out has never been commercially released (hence the absence of a sleeve):

Idlewild – Mistletoe & Wine

Next up, masters of the slightly odd yet distinctive cover version, I give you (guaranteed Yoko-less, thankfully):

61E4HhGajSL__SX300_

The Polyphonic Spree- Happy Xmas (War is Over)

I was reading the other day about Andy Park, self-styled “Mr Christmas” who claims to celebrate Christmas every day. Between 1993 and 2001 (when he was told by his doctor to stop being such a bloody arse) he claims to have eaten a turkey sandwich and mice pies for breakfast every day (hang on – if he’s eating turkey sandwiches, then surely he should be calling himself Mr Boxing Day?), then goes to work (in a grotto, presumably), returning to eat a full roast turkey dinner, then watching a recording of the Queen’s speech whilst imbibing a glass of sherry. In 2006, Park claimed that he had eaten: 4,380 turkeys, 87,600 mince pies, 2,190 pints of gravy, 26,280 roast potatoes, 30,660 stuffing balls, 4,380 bottles of champagne, 4,380 bottles of sherry and 5,000 bottles of wine.

He had also sent himself 235,500 Christmas cards. Yes, sent himself.

I think it’s fair to say that Andy Park needs to get out more. Except he probably can’t, the ginormous gutted gluttonous twat.

Anyway, many of his claims just so happened to be made at round about the same time as he just so happened to be releasing a single called “It’s Christmas Every Day”, so most of what I have just written is probably just self-promoting guff. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the video featured Cliff-wannabe and former Radio 1 DJ (no, not that one. Or that one) and purveyor of jaw-droppingly dreadful “UKIP Calypso”, Mike Read.

Anyway, Mr So-Called-Christmas, it isn’t Christmas Every Day, because if it was then Ash wouldn’t have been able to do this:

61SntQ3VfvL__SL500_AA280_

Ash – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Oh go on then, I’ll let you have a gander at the original of that one:

I wonder if there is a direct correlation between the increase in the number of songs which feature children, or children’s choirs, appearing on Top of the Pops, and the decline in religious belief and faith. I ask simply because if you were an 8 year-old trapped in a television studio with Jimmy Savile, I think you’d fairly quickly come to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist.

Anyway, I digress.

Something a little more traditional next. Here’s Weezer, giving a Christmas carol the Weezer treatment, by which I mean making it sound like Weezer:

1280x1280

Weezer – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Just needs the occasional “woo-hoo” to make it sound almost identical to their ace “Buddy Holly” single. And I suppose since there’s mention of Holly there gives me a good enough excuse to play the not in the least bit Christmassy video:

Next, two versions of the same song. First up, a group who will forever be known as Jimmy Eats Cock round my way, and I think there are possibly only two people who read this blog occasionally who will remember why. Happy Christmas to both of you.

music235

Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas

Next, well it’s credited as being by the group that he has fronted for the what will be thirty years come 2016, appearing as it does on their B-sides and Rareties compilation “Lipstick Traces”. But if my memory serves me correctly, it was actually recorded during a performance in the studio bar on “TFI Friday” (don’t get me started….) by a solo James Dean Bradfield:

LipstickTraces

Manic Street Preachers – Last Christmas (live)

Regular readers will know that I spent a good few years living in Wales, and that last one has me pining for the valleys. So I’ll wrap things up with something undisputedly Welsh and Christmassy:

1991%20Christmas%20from%20Land%20of%20Song%20CD

The Massed Male Choirs of Treorchy, Morriston Orpheus & Pontarddulais With The Band Of The Welsh Guards – Deck the Halls

More soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Hello again.

Well, what to say about the next couple of picks, other than that they are gloriously odd:

Shonen+Knife+Space+Christmas+-+Red+Vinyl+61243

Shonen Knife – Space Christmas

Nice of them to put the lyrics on the sleeve, just in case they were a bit too complicated for you to pick up by yourself, eh?

After all these years, I’m still not sure what planet Sultans of Ping were on, so it seems appropriate to put them next.

16a31549d35fd914b02b0122003facfc_395

Sultans of Ping – Xmas Bubblegum Machine

More soon.