Bette Midler opened the show with COOL YULE and that set the mood for what followed. I never thought I would see the day that Bob Dylan recorded a Christmas album, and isn’t he collecting some flak for doing so? But I, for one, happen to love the album Christmas in the Heart and appreciate the guts it took to release it. We played a couple of songs from the album. First up it was MUST BE SANTA. Check out the clip. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humour!
Now if you’re talking cool, there is no cooler, in my opinion, than ‘Keef’ Richards. My favourite Rolling Stone gave us RUN RUDOLPH RUN and then it was Patsy Raye & The Beatniks with BEATNIK’S WISH. All Patsy wants for Christmas is a man. Tall order Pats, especially here in Byron Bay!
I’ve got a question for you. Who’s feeling a bit grumpy this Xmas? Go on hands up… Well if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps, the perfect song for you is the Staple Singers with WHO TOOK THE MERRY OUT OF XMAS? Another for you mopers is Charles Brown and PLEASE COME HOME FOR XMAS. What you all need is the optimism of Darlene Love’s ALL ALONE ON CHRISTMAS. Lifted from the soundtrack to the film Home Alone, the famous sound of the legendary E Street Band and Love’s voice make being alone at Christmas almost OK. Check out the video if you don’t believe me:
Next up in our Cool Yule show was Bob Seger and The Last Heard with SOCK IT TO ME SANTA. And then it was The Kinks with FATHER CHRISTMAS and The Ramones with MERRY CHRISTMAS (I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT TONIGHT). Whew, that was a rockin’ set of Chrissie tunes. The three tracks came from a compilation album called Christmas A Go-Go, put together by Steven Van Zandt who also goes by the name Little Steven. As well as playing in Bruce Springsteen’s band and acting in the hit series The Sopranos, he also hosts an American radio program called the Underground Garage . Check out the website where you can listen to archived programs.
Tina Sugandh is also known as TablaGirl. Originally from India, now resident in the US, I love her version of WHITE CHRISTMAS with its Bollywood undertones. We followed with an oldie but a goodie, by Little Esther Phillips and the Johnny Otis Orchestra, FAR AWAY CHRISTMAS BLUES.
I had to include the 80’s New Wave group the Waitresses in the show because they recorded a song about something I really do loath: CHRISTMAS WRAPPIING. Yeah, yeah, bah humbug.
Something most of us have to be careful about over the holiday period is drinking and driving. A great song that deals with the repercussions of doing so is The Youngsters with CHRISTMAS IN JAIL from an album entitled Doo Wop Christmas. It wasn’t as serious as it sounds, honestly. And neither was the very funny version of JINGLE BELLS from the Electric Prunes, another great track from Little Stevie’s Christmas A Go-G0 album.
Rufus Thomas makes this rather scary offer: I’LL BE YOUR SANTA. And then it was time for a little Latin in our Christmas show. First up, The Enchanters with MAMBO SANTA MAMBO and the wonderful Celia Cruz with some salsa, FIESTA DE NAVIDAD.
A complete change of tone followed: Clarence Carter with the brilliantly bawdy BACK DOOR SANTA. This Santa makes all the girls happy while the boys are out to play. Naughty Santa.
Roy Woods was one of the founding members of Electric Light Orchestra and left to form Wizzard. Their song I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY was a huge hit for them. Check out the video, with lead singer Mike Morley looking rather like Kris Kringle himself:
The great James Brown injected a little politics into the show with SANTA CLAUSE GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO and then it was the extremely excited Jamaican DJ King Stitt with a little reggae. The song was CHRISTMAS TREE.
For all the cynics listening I had to include I DON’T BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS from the Sonics. And I’m sure all the rodders would have appreciated SANTA DRIVES A HOT ROD from The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Were any of you born on Xmas Day? My birthday is in January and that’s bad enough, but I’ve always felt sorry for people born on Xmas Day itself. Like here’s your Christmas and your birthday present. Gee thanks. But at least you don’t get everyone’s Xmas rejects as birthday presents as I do in January. Yeah, yeah, cry me a river. For all of you born on Xmas Day, we played I WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY from St. Etienne. It’s a nice piece of disco-pop, although I do worry about a band that named itself after a footie team.
The Cocktail Slippers, an all girl band from Norway, have been called “The 60’s Shangri Las meet the 70s Stooges meet the 80s Go Gos”. Loved their Christmas song, SANTA’S COMING HOME. I also don’t mind the occasional tribute band as long as they do it well. The Chesterfield Kings heavily mine The Rolling Stones for their garage sound and they do a great job with HEY SANTA CLAUSE.
Here’s the delicious Eartha Kitt, with the help of three ‘friends’ singing her hit of 1953 SANTA BABY. Hilarious.
We closed the show with the amazing Darlene Love with CHRISTMAS, (Baby, Please Come Home). The clip is from the David Letterman show of a couple of years ago. What a voice. Merry Xmas everyone!
Here’s this week’s playlist: