Christmas Eve Music Club

A couple of weeks ago, I had the dubious distinction of co-hosting this year’s Christmas Party at work.

This involved me and three others planning and then hosting the event, which got moved to an online virtual party a little more than a week before it was scheduled for, due to the latest Covid strain and the advice to avoid face-to-face meetings unless they were absolutely necessary. This meant a lot of frantic rewriting, but it all went well in the end, with remarkably few technical issues. I’ll maybe write some more about this later.

You won’t be surprised to learn that my main contribution with regards to content was a pop quiz, in the form of a Spot the Intro round. The organisers last year had done one about Christmas Number Ones, so I had planned to do one about Christmas Number Twos, mostly so that I could make a particularly lavatorial joke.

However, you’d be surprised how many records which were #2 in the UK charts on Christmas Day are not particularly Christmassy at all, so it got changed to The Not The Christmas Number One Quiz, which isn’t a particularly snappy title, I must confess.

I prepared 20 intros of Christmas records and invited the attendees to name the song, the artist, the year it was originally a hit, and what was actually #1 that Christmas.

This allowed we to slip in a few gags when delivering the answers: “That was Coldplay with Christmas Lights, setting the template for the soundtrack to every M&S advert since” and, my favourite, “From 2008, that’s It’s Christmas Time by Status Quo, which was kept off the #1 slot by Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah. That, and 38 other records.”

Anyway, that put me in the mood for doing a Christmas mix, remembering that this time last year Christmas was cancelled and I posted a very long and defiantly un-Christmassy mix.

My brother is picking me up to go to be with our parents later today, so this mix is intended to be played on the journey over there (you’ve been warned, bruv!), and then when we arrive too. As such it’s geared towards Christmas Eve, travelling home, Santa visiting (and what the randy old dog gets up to when he does) and the hope that this Christmas is better than last year. It’s full of slightly obscure tunes and the occasional cover of a Christmas favourite. And you’ll be relieved to hear that, unlike most of my mixes, it’s only about an hour and a quarter long. There’s only so many jingling bells one can take.

The length doesn’t seem to have effected the occasional skip or jump (my usual disclaimer) but having listened to it through that shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment too much.

And yes, of course The Wedding Present and Status Quo (R.I.P. Rick) make appearances.

I’m having fun guessing at which song my father will try to work out how to turn the volume down a little, and when exactly my mother will ask just what on earth we’re listening to. I reckon if it’s not when Helen Love is covering Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight) then it will certainly be when Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo makes his annual appearance. And so we’re back to Christmas #2s.

Here you go:

Xmas Eve Music Club

And here’s the tracklisting:

  1. Saint Etienne – Driving Home For Christmas
  2. Summer Camp – Christmas Wrapping
  3. Low – Just Like Christmas
  4. Cuckooland – Silver Bells
  5. Charley Pride – Christmas In My Home Town
  6. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  7. George Jones – My Mom And Santa Claus
  8. John Prine – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  9. Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa
  10. Girls Aloud – Not Tonight Santa
  11. Eels – Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
  12. The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride
  13. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – White Christmas
  14. Joey Ramone – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  15. Helen Love – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight)
  16. The Housemartins – Caravan of Love
  17. Cocteau Twins – Frosty The Snowman
  18. South Park – Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
  19. The Wedding Present – Step into Christmas
  20. Fountains Of Wayne – I Want An Alien For Christmas
  21. Shonen Knife – Space Christmas
  22. Ash – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
  23. Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today
  24. Status Quo – It’s Christmas Time
  25. Darlene Love – Marshmallow World
  26. Weezer – We Wish You A Merry Christmas

I haven’t had time to prepare anything else to post over the Christmas weekend, but I’ll probably be back before the New Year, so for now I’ll just wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Morning all.

I suppose that since it’s Christmas Day next Monday, I’d better play something festive to get us all going today.

So, since I think I posted one of these last year, here’s a couple of tracks from the greatest Christmas album ever made:

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Darlene Love – Marshmallow World

The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride

Ringa-linga-linga-ding-dong-ding indeed.

More soon.

It’s Chriiiiistmas!!!

The other day at work, the topic of what the greatest Christmas Record Ever (!) is came up.

“Fairytale of New York” was mentioned, as was Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”, Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” and Shaky’s “Merry Christmas Everyone”.

My suggestion, which drew some blank looks, was “A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector”. Nobody said it had to be a single, or that it had to be by someone who wasn’t a mad-haired murderous gun-toting lunatic genius.

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one airing of something from, and it’s official, The Greatest Christmas Record ever, so here’s one which is often shamefully overlooked in favour of more well-known ditties:

phil-spector-christmas

Darlene Love – Marshmallow World

More tinselly soon.

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Ok, so it might be more than a couple of tunes a day….

Moving swiftly on to the other side of the pond, some New Yawkers Christmas tuneage:

casablancas-xmas

Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Hearing that, I can’t help but think that the lead singer of New York band The Strokes was in some way trying to emulate the lead singer of New York band The Ramones:

6112G0M3H0L

Joey Ramone – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Whilst it was released a good few years after The Ramones worked with loaded gun-toting Leo Sayer tribute act Phil Spector, you can’t help but think there’s more than a nod here to this:

front1

Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

I could literally post about a dozen versions of that, but I’ll spare you. For now.

Next, just to get us back on the New York tip,  a free download which I don’t have to feel guilty about posting:

Blondie - 2009  We Three Kings

Blondie – We Three Kings

And to round things up, a track from the 1987 charidee album “A Very Special Christmas”:

Christmas_in_Hollis

Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis

More soon.

 

It’s Chriiiiistmas!!!

I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this.

Stay away from the Christmas tunes, I said.

I had made a pledge to myself. You have nothing to add to the medium of Christmas tunes, nothing your readers won’t already know, I told myself, so steer clear.

But did I listen? Well, here we are, so did I fuck.

Because two things happened.

Thing number one: I worked from home on Thursday. Not the most Christmassy of things to do, I grant you. I spent the afternoon tapping away at my keyboard whilst listening to Radcliffe & Maconie on 6Music. I learned two things from their show:

  1. That the chocolate on a chocolate Digestive biscuit is actually the bottom, not the top (who knew???), and
  2. The Courteeners, a band I had no time for up until now, had only gone and released a rather fine Christmas song.

I could track it down and post a link to it so you can download it for nothing, but the single is released in conjunction with the homeless charity Shelter, so what kind of monster would that make me?

So, you can hear it here, but please go and buy it too.

Well, if I’m going to post a song called “Winter Wonderland”, then I can’t really ignore this, now can I? Taken from undoubtedly the greatest Christmas album ever, I give you:

front1 Darlene Love – Winter Wonderland

Thing number two: as I was sitting here, searching for inspiration about what I could I write, shortly after 1am this morning I had a text from Hel, telling me she was watching a music channel which had devoted itself to playing Christmas records, as they often do at this time of year, and she had heard the following two songs:

Single_Pretenders-2000_Miles_cover_(gatefold) The Pretenders – 2000 Miles

Oh, and here’s them doing the same song, in a rather lovely acoustic kinda way:

The Pretenders – 2000 Miles (Live & Acoustic)

and, this:

david-essex-a-winters-tale-mercury David Essex – A Winter’s Tale

That was co-written by Mike Batt, who of course is much better known for his involvement with this bunch of scrounging homeless benefits-cheats:

cd-wombling-merry-christmas The Wombles – Wombling Merry Christmas

Batt is also known for co-writing this, with Tim Rice, a totally non-Christmassy record, but I was asked to post it a few months ago, so here we go Chad, I finally managed to crowbar it in:

I_Know_Him_So_Well Elaine Page & Barbara Dickson – I Know Him So Well

Ok, so I seem to have got off the Christmas vibe with that one, so let me get things back on track with the final two songs.

Every year, me and my little group of buddies meet up for a Christmas knees-up. same venue every year: The Dublin Castle, or the Scrublin as we affectionately refer to it, in Camden.

The nights generally follow the same pattern: we meet, exchange Christmas cards (I try to think of a new reason why I haven’t bothered writing them this year), then we proceed to get right royally trashed, somewhere in the middle there is a speech, then we plough money into the juke box, all the time waiting to hear the one song that will have us all drunkenly swaying, hugging each other, and singing along. I speak of none other than the undisputed greatest Christmas record ever made:

FairytaleOfNewYork The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York

My parents lived in Ireland for a few years; I would pop over there at Christmas to be with them, and on the drive back from the airport, Dad would put the radio on. And this was being played on repeat on whatever radio station he put on. It’s practically their National Anthem.

So, final tune. When Hel told me she was watching Christmas tunes, I emailed her a link to the YouTube video for the next song.  Her response, and I quote:

“They sing Santa, mistletoe, snow and Christmas tree. It’s Christmas song bingo!” You can see why she’s my bezzy mate, right?

Since my only DMCA take down notice has been served by this lot, you will excuse my deliberate mis-spelling of their name, but here’s

MI0002431471 Qatus Toe – It’s Christmas Time

I guarantee, that’ll be stuck in your head for ages now.

Anyway, that’ll ding dang do from me for now.

More soon.