g -->

Remember, if you do this:

Don't do this:

Otherwise, you're going to look like this:
Or this:
Maybe even this:
Or even worse:

Have a better 2007 everyone!
Look for new reviews starting tomorrow!


See you Christmas 2007!
Mordi from Blowupdoll - Christine from SpikedCandy - Bruno from Schlocker - Guuzbourg from Filles Sourires - Roy from Germans Under Cover - Brainwerk from Check The Cool Wax - Erik from Earth Goes Around - Wouter from The Blues Are Still Blue and me !


Featuring Santatron 3000 - I Accidentally Slept Through Christmas

My home at Christmas, 2003

I expect today will be the quietest day here at the yuleblog. So if you're reading this on Christmas Day, thanks for looking in and we wish you a very Merry Christmas! We hope Santa brought you everything on your list this year!

We won't be open tomorrow for exchanges or returns. Nope. Not even open for business. We're taking the rest of the year off.

It's going to take more than a week to sort through the massive amount of downloaded material we've compiled here at the yuleblog.

At last count, we have over 160 complete albums we've downloaded through the sharity network. Add in the 50 odd Christmas comps sent to the yuleblog via our PO Box or downloaded on the net, and all of the Christmas CDs
I purchased during this month and the ones I'll receive as Christmas gifts... There's only so many days on the calendar!

Adding this to the pile doesn't count:

This is my Christmas gift to you. Not exactly a "best of" but these are some of my favorites songs from the many albums, singles, and the occasional MP3s from
all the Christmas music I've shared this year.

A few people (you know who you are) received earlier rough cuts of this sampler with a totally different lineup of songs. This is all NEW so you might want to get this new version while its being shared!

We've shared a-plenty. Over 3200 downloads since Thanksgiving. Counter that number with this one: just over 70 comments left here. This is partially my fault. I've never allowed "anonymous" comments to be allowed on the yuleblog.

Until now.

Starting today, anonymous comments will be allowed. This is your chance. If you've read something here, if you've downloaded something here, if you're going to download the sampler, please take one moment to leave a comment.

I will try to answer as many comments as time will allow me this upcoming week. General questions about the albums I've reviewed here are encouraged.
Christmas wishes from family, friends, and readers like you will take precedent.

If you have requests for specific long-lost Christmas songs, I will try to point you in the right direction. I won't be posting any new shares to start next year - just reviews. Requests for an upload of an album I've never offered will remain unanswered. Any unsolicited link to other web sites will be immediately zapped like a bug.

In closing, I want to send my very best wishes to everyone along the sharity network. Thanks for all the work you've done this year to brighten the holiday with the gift of music.

This was my first year within that network. It was a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and sometimes it was a pain in the ______ (you have your word, I have mine). But its worth it when you get a comment or letter thanking you for helping someone grab those Christmas memories.

Will I be a member next year? Only time will tell...

It's time. The kids are coming downstairs to open their presents. Time for me to put the first year of my online diary of additions to my Christmas music collection to bed.

We'll open gifts, have a hearty breakfast, and spend the rest of the day with family. Some time today, I will get the final tracks from FaLaLaLaLa's ADVENTure In Carols 2006 and Ernie's 25 Days Of Christmas, burn them, and listen to each of them for the first time. I can't think of a better way to end my Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by (as you have) and hope you'll continue to visit us at the yuleblog throughout 2007!

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2006

Happy listening... and Happy Holidays!


NOTE: At the same time the giant ball drops in Times Square
(January 1, 2007 at midnight EST),
every link at the yuleblog will drop as well.
If you haven't clicked, get going!

Early this Christmas morning, we lost a true pioneer in music.

James Brown passed away at the age of 73 after a battle with
prolonged pnuemonia.

To honor his memory, I offer this classic Christmas song:

James Brown - Merry Christmas, I Love You

We loved you James... Dazzle them angels with your moves!


It's Christmas Eve... the whole world is settling down for tomorrow -
one day of "peace on earth" (subject to change).

There are a lot of thoughts running through my mind - most of which
will be covered in tomorrow's post.

I want to share with you a story I wrote several years ago. Some have
read this, many have not. This includes several members of my family
who are looking in for the first time. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Originally published at FaLaLaLaLa.com on November 29, 2004:

December, 1982 wasn't starting very well for many people. It had been a rough year with the economy and recession the way it was. No one knew that better than a middle aged woman standing in line at the gas company, ready to plead for leniency so she could continue to heat her home. Paying bills was all brand new to her since the divorce and she was barely staying afloat.

Her 4th oldest son sat quietly in the waiting area, reading a book and secretly wishing the gas company would side with his mom. The boy had witnessed his mother accomplish many things in the past year; balance a checkbook, balance her time between being a mother and father to her four children living at home, devoting time to her old friends and a new church she was involved with, and treading the line of sanity and insanity to keep up with it all.

As she neared the end of the line, the middle aged woman reviewed her papers and her checkbook figures. The child support payment was due in the first week of December and it was spent already on food, the phone bill, gas for the car, and if there was anything left Christmas presents. She wasn't good at lying, conning, or bluffing at the beginning of the year; it wasn't her nature. How far she had come in a year's time, she thought to herself.

After she was through at the gas company, it was off to school... again. She shot a somewhat disgusted look at her 4th oldest son, who was re-reading that dumb Chicago Cubs book again. At home, he was quiet and kept to himself in his room. He tried to keep up with his older brothers but never was able to garner their attention or respect.

At school, however, it was a totally different story. He had always been the class clown and would do anything for attention or a laugh. For a time, it was cute. Now, as he reached adolescence and after the divorce of his parents, his classmates were annoyed by him. So his antics became more forced, more harsh, more biting to no avail. He was losing friends and teachers were losing their patience.

As punishment for his recent crimes, the boy was forced not to go on the annual Christmas shopping trip to downtown Chicago; something he wasn't going to do anyway since he didn't have enough money for the bus fee, let alone gift money. He smiled knowing the punishment the principal tried to hand out didn't work.

"If you're not going on the trip, you're still required to come to school," the principal snorted. "You will spend the day here, doing class work and cleaning chores. My secretary will have a check list for you to do." The boy went to school and did what he was told, never complaining once.

The Sunday following the incident, the boy and his mother attended their new church. He liked going to the services while his mom worshipped in a new way; speaking in tongues, raising hands, etc. As church ended and members of the church congregated, the secretary approached the mother and boy. She had been a member of the church for years and wanted to say hello to a familiar face. During the conversation, the mother learned of the punishment the principal gave.

The gas company bought the story. Now she was ready to tackle the school problem. Her 4th oldest ran to her side and was thrilled the gas would stay on. A quick death stare from his mom told him he wasn't out of the woods yet.

They pulled into the school parking lot, nothing new for the middle aged woman. On many occasions before, she was here to learn about a fantastic new stunt her 4th oldest was being punished for. Many times she had to sit and listen to the rather pompous and arrogant principal tell her what a bad kid her son was. She kept the boy out of school today for some reason and now she dragged him into the office.

"Very nice to see you again." the principal said in a patronizing way.

"SIR," the mother countered. "I understand you kept my son here last week while the others went on the Christmas trip and made him do manual labor."

"Well, yes... but..."

"I just came from my doctor's office, sir." she interrupted.

The boy's eyes widened for a brief millisecond, hearing his mom's lie, then returned to normal. He then sagged a bit, playing up the injury his mom was about to tell the principal. He tried to keep from smiling throughout the dissertation / ass reaming his mother gave the startled principal. It was the only time in the son's life he ever heard his mother use the "F" word.

As they left the office, the secretary smiled and gave a friendly look to them both, reminding the middle aged woman about a church function. As if coming out of a trance, the mother smiled and returned to her old self again; quaint, proper, thanking the secretary for the reminder.

In the hallway, the 4th oldest said goodbye to his mom. Another death stare.

As the middle aged woman reached her car, her oldest friend, neighbor, and crossing guard for the school arrived. They chatted briefly about their prospective days, chitchatted, gossiped, etc.. Many of her old friends gave up on the middle aged woman long ago. She was thankful to her friend for standing by her throughout the divorce, the new church, and as she tried to raise her family.

Before the friend began her crossing guard duties, the middle aged woman reached into her purse and handed her a $20 bill. It was only a fraction of the money she owed to her friend. But she had nothing else to give her for Christmas. They played the usual game of "keep that - take it" before the friend pocketed the money. The middle aged woman went home, winning two small battles that day. But as she thought about the larger picture, she knew she was losing the war.

Christmas Eve... at last. The middle aged woman sat quietly in her drafty home, looking at the hastily assembled Christmas tree she had bought three days earlier. She was exhausted, mentally, physically, and spiritually from the divorce, the year, her church, and from her family. She had made her last decision before Christmas that day: one present each for her kids or food for the next half week until the child support arrives.

The presents laid under the Christmas tree. Nothing for herself.

The food banks were out of food. Her checking account stood at $0.56 cents. The phone was disconnected. Again. The thermostat was set at 60 degrees as the thermometer read 15 below outside. The car had two days worth of fuel but it didn't matter. The fuel line had frozen up at the shopping center and sat there still. None of her friends could lend her any money due to the holidays.

The middle aged woman looked at the broken TV set that went out months earlier and saw her Bible sitting atop it; her altar. She wasn't in the mood for "It's A Wonderful Life" or the sixth re-reading of Job and his story of patience. She looked at the family pictures on the wall and studied them again for the umpteenth time.

The newest family picture was just a proof; 2 x 3. There was no money for grand pictures like 3 x 5s or 4 x 6s. Not even enough for a colossal 8 x 10. It stood there as a testament to the middle aged woman. Through it all, she kept her family together, clothed, fed, protected, parented as best she could with no rewards or prizes for herself. As she looked at the picture, she began crying.

Off the family room was her 4th oldest son's room. He was awake, re-reading the Chicago Cubs book (again). He heard the crying, then sobbing from his mother in the family room and wanted to go to her side. He continued to listen as the sobs quieted down to sniffles and figured she was okay.

He was getting tired of hearing his mom crying and was constantly praying for a miracle. The boy was determined one day he would pay her back for all the things she sacrificed bunted and the Cubs won 2-1. Santo and Banks had solo home runs the next day against the Dodgers while ...

A knock at the door.

The middle aged woman opened the door and saw a person standing on her dark porch (the light was broken). The person was silhouetted by the headlights of a car that stood dead center in the driveway. For a brief moment, the woman stared at the faceless person, haloed in halogen light, speechless.

She turned on the foyer light and the familiar face of the secretary from school and church came into view. The middle aged woman, overjoyed to see any happy face, broke into tears and instinctively wrapped her arms around the bewildered secretary. The hug lasted for a brief time as the woman composed herself and the secretary waved at the car to come forward.

"We have something for you." the secretary explained.

Three large men emerged from the car and headed to the trunk. Each grabbed two sacks of groceries and headed to the porch. The middle aged woman's eyes were now two times larger than they ever were as the men came into her home and placed the bounty on the table. She sat next to the table staring at the bags, half dazed and half confused. She was crying uncontrollably. She was speechless.

The secretary came in with a large frozen turkey and placed it in the sink. The middle aged woman sat stunned, not able to move or speak. The secretary wished her a blessed Christmas and went to her side. The angel hugged the middle aged woman, still comatose at the outpouring of relief. As the secretary turned to walk away, the woman finally squeaked out the only two words that would come:

"Thank you."

The mother cried for her sons who immediately assembled in the kitchen where the mountains of food, glorious canned food, sat in paper bags. They stared in amazement at the bags and listened to the story of how a school secretary had come to rescue their Christmas.

The 4th oldest arrived last and saw that the miracle he was praying for had come. He went to his mother and gave her a hug that lasted for decades it seemed. By this time, the boy was crying along with his mother.

"I've been praying for this for a long time, momma" he whispered.

The mother now clenched her son so tight that the boy felt like he was going to snap in two. He finally asked to be released for the simple act of breathing. He began walking to his room, crying still and thankful. As he walked past the family Christmas tree, he squatted down to floor.

He wasn't there to look at the single present for himself. He looked into the manger that guarded the presents under the tree. The baby Jesus was looking up at him as Joseph, Mary, and the assembled cast of wise men and shepherds all looked at the swaddled clothed infant.

The boy turned around and peered into the kitchen where his mother was putting the Christmas gifts of food away. She actually looked happy for the first time that month of December, 1982. The son turned back to the manger, tears finally subsiding.

"Thank you for giving my mom a good Christmas this year."

Thank you for Christmas, period.

Don't forget the milk and cookies PLUS the carrots to feed the reindeer. Get to bed...


This is it - the second of three posts on Christmas Eve and the last shared LP of the year!

Boy, have I saved the worst for last! Err... that's best for worst! Wait... I meant to say best for least! No... it should be least for worst! Darn it... I've saved the least for last... ARGH! THE BEST FOR LAST!!!

Don't count on it.

Can you believe that this is the photo shopped clean version of the album cover? Someone must have used this in their garage under their engine when they changed the oil - it was that bad. The album was in great shape though.

And regardless of what you might be thinking about this album, fear not. Tammy Faye Bakker (now Messner) only has ONE song on the whole album and the only contribution Jim Bakker made to this album was the back cover notes and an executive producer credit to his name.

The rest of the album is performed by one time members of the PTL family in its heyday. To some, it's your standard 1980s teleevangelist type of album - usually sold at touring revival concerts or through a 1-800 number. If you close your eyes, you can imagine the 80s bouffant hairdos, the linebacker blouse shoulder pads, and all that mascara.

There's nothing really memorable here vocally outside of Tammy Faye (for all the wrong reasons of course). But there are two instrumentals on the album that truly stand out.

One of the problems with "O Holy Night" is that massive buildup to the final peak in the song. Many vocalists have tried, few have succeeded, some should never have even attempted it. Violinist Vern McLellan performs "O Holy Night" on the album and you'll be surprised by it. It's got a lot going for it, some good, some bad.

The other instrumental is "Away In A Manger" by the PTL Orchestra. The orchestration is pure 80s, the arrangement is quite good, and it's definitely the standout track of the album. Then I began to wonder. WHY is it the standout track? Why does this sound out of place yet familiar?

A simple look on the back cover will tell you everything you need to know. Underneath the scrawlings of Jim Bakker and just above the logo for PTL Records & Tapes lies the answer:

The one and only Thurlow Spurr!

My friend Ernie has posted at a few items from Mr. Spurr at his blog (most of which are currently available to download). Earlier this year, I reviewed Spurr's "Christmas; Time For Song" album which you have to read to understand the full effect that Thurlow Spurr has on me. I'm too far tired and depressed to explain it.

What a way to go out on:

Jim & Tammy - Christmas With Love

I would say "Happy listening..." but I just can't.


The Blues Are Still Blue presents:

Christmas Compilation 2006

The Pipettes – In The Bleak Midwinter
Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
Sufjan Stevens - Only At Christmas Time
The Ronettes - I saw mommy kissing santa claus
Ella Fitzgerald - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
Bob Atcher & The Dinning Sisters - Christmas island
Mary Gauthier - Christmas in paradise
The Waitresses - Christmas wrapping
Yo La Tengo - It's Christmas Time
Peggy Lee - Happy holiday
Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby
The Long Blondes - Christmas Is Cancelled
Otis Redding - Merry Christmas, Baby
Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews - Baby it's cold outside
Fountains of Wayne - The man in the Santa suit
Jackson 5 - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Augie Rios - Donde Esta Santa Claus (Where is Santa Claus)
Mabel Scott - Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Brenda Lee - I'm gonna lasso Santa Claus
Claudine Longet - I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You
Sha Na Na - Santa's on a diet
Hello Saferide - I pod X-mas
James Brown - Santa Claus go straight to the getto
Marlene Paul - I Wanna Spend Christmas With Elvis
Elvis Presley - Here Comes Santa Claus

And here's my compilation from last year.

I wasn't going to share this album out because who needs another Christmas organ music LP?

This album and I have a long history. I found it earlier this year when I located just the record alone at a local Goodwill store. The album cover turned up much later.

The front cover was in great shape. The back was hideous. Watermarks, coffee mug rings, a small food stain... was it food? It took me forever to clean it up in Photoshop.

Why all this for a Christmas organ album? When you see the name "Sy Mann" on the back cover, you tend to overlook little details like coffee and food stains!

For those who don't know who Sy Mann is, let me quote from a review I did back in August of an album I got last Christmas from our friend Ernie at his incredible blog Ernie (not Bert) (which he just upgraded to STEREO! WOW!):

"But organ music in the hands of Sy Mann, then it becomes something that deserves special attention. If the name Sy Mann sounds familiar, that's because he was one of the main forces behind "Switched On Santa" - one of the top five Christmas albums of all time."

On this album, Mann gets plenty of solos at the Wurlitzer organ solo on tracks like "Deck The Halls", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and "White Christmas" (whose lyrics were never printed on the back - guess that was extra $$$ when they licensed the song!).

The Malvin Carolers are also featured on the album, singing your favorite Christmas carols. They do a fine job on standards like "Joy To The World", "Silent Night" and "The First Noel" but listen for those Mann accents on the Wurlitzer!

"Let's All Sing Christmas Carols"... not a bad idea for this first of three posts on Christmas Eve:

Sy Mann & The Malvin Carolers - Let's All Sing Christmas Carols

Happy listening... and singing if you like!


This song was my first contribution to Christmas A Go Go!
It seems fitting it's also my last...

Merry Christmas everybody!

24 decembre Yikes Peach Cut remix by HANDSOMEBOY TECHNIQUE


Maybe this isn't really a Christmas song, but to me it sounds liike a Phil Spector Christmas production.
Anyway, this song by Japanese group Handsomeboy Technique is one of the best songe EVER. You don't want to miss this one on your Christmas playlist.

Your Blessings


Kay Starr - (Everybody's Waitin' for) The Man with the Bag
Henry Hall & His Orchestra - Santa Claus Express
Marianne the Polka Doll - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (in Russian)
Tony De Nardo - Santa's on His Way


If you love beautiful French girls with accents, you will love Vanessa Contenay-Quinones (Vanessa and The O's) special christmas greeting!

Who's Pat O'Brien? (For those who know, please feel free to skip ahead).

Pat O'Brien was an actor whose work for Warner Brothers back in the 1930s and 1940s is legendary. He appeared eight times together with Jimmy Cagney; most notably in "Angels With Dirty Faces" in 1938.

Two years later, he was forever immortalized in "Knute Rockne All-American" playing the lead role. Remember Ronald Reagan saying "win one for the Gipper?" This is it!

My personal favorite role of O'Brien's came many years later in 1959. He played the Chicago cop who tracked down George Raft (and Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon to a degree) in "Some Like It Hot".

By the late 1950s, movie roles for O'Brien were scarce. He began appearing on television quite regularly in westerns, drama anthologies, and the like.

In 1964, O'Brien scored a television special entitled "Here Pat O'Brien" which featured him singing and reciting stories. Someone at Recording Industries Corporation (RIC) thought quickly and issued a soundtrack of that TV special. It apparently sold well enough to let O'Brien try his hand with a Christmas album.

This album contains eleven tracks. But the record labels shows seventeen stories and poems contained within the eleven tracks. Hmmm...

When I transferred this, I decided to offer two versions of this. The first is in its original LP format - all eleven tracks preserved the way it is. The second version is the separate tracks version with each story or poem all to itself - for those who want to skip directly to a certain poem or story within.

O'Brien does a masterful job reciting poetry and reading stories (O Henry's "The Gift Of The Magi" is presented in its entirety here). The singing? Well...

Do you remember a favorite grandfather or uncle who took part in the Christmas sing song at your homes on Christmas? Their faint voices adding to the mix? Sounding like they were half asleep or about to pass out due to lack of oxygen? Then this will bring back some memories.

Click two for the Gipper:

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas (Original LP version)

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas (Separate tracks version)

Happy listening...


Nomiya Maki - Christmas in a Picture Book
In 1981, ten years before she joined Pizzicato Five, Maki Nomiya released her debut album "Pink no kokoro" (Pink Heart).

I don't think she was very successful as a teenage idol singer, but this '80's electro-pop Christmas song with bells is actually quite good!


Les Pizzicato Live
Pizzicato Five live with Tokyo's Coolest Combo in concert on December 23th, 1992:
"Merry Pizzicato T.N.T."

The Audrey Hepburn Complex / Brigitte Bardot T.N.T

Enjoy the "Santa Clause Is Comming To Town" vibraphone solo!

This is the first of two posts on this Saturday before Christmas that will contain TWO links!

During one of my vinyl raids of a local thrift shop here in Fort Wayne, I came across this album whose cover definitely caught my eye.

Then I found a different version of the album in another bin!

The Murk Family are Jim & Donna (the parents) and Bill, Becky, Brenda, and Barbara (the alliterated offspring ). The name sounded familiar. Then I remembered this.

Their family caught a big break in 1963 when Jim won the "Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour" - the "American Idol" of its time. This led to hundreds of appearance all over the world.

If you ever saw them perform, you probably wouldn't have forgotten them. Each one of the kids plays a stringed instrument while mom plays the vibraharp (see the back album cover below).

This only sounds bad but it's not. There's a lot going on in this album (or albums).

The first album (ornament cover) was issued on MFM Records (their own label) in 1970. The second (picture wreath) was released a year later on the Toya Records label of Chicago.

So what's the difference in the two? Nothing. They are the same album. The Toya album cleaned up a little better (both on the album & artwork) and that's all.

I think you might find these a change in pace. There are unique versions of Christmas songs and well performed too! My personal favorite is "The Only Thing I Want For Christmas" - a damn good song!

I think you might find these a change in pace. There are unique versions of Christmas songs and well performed too! My personal favorite is "The Only Thing I Want For Christmas" - a damn good song!

Be on the lookout for Jim Murk. He recites several of his poems on the album with a lonely organ accompanying him.

Two choices for your shopping pleasure:

The Murk Family - Christmas With
(MFM - Ornament cover)

The Murk Family - Christmas With
(Toya - Picture wreath)

Happy listening x 2...


Saint Etienne never failed us yet!

Listen to two brand new Christmas songs on their site (quicktime format):
21st Century Christmas
Through the Winter

Or download mp3's:
21st Century Christmas
Through the Winter

Also, check out Bran Van 3000's new Chrismas song "Couch Surfin' at Christmas" : http://www.branvanrecordings.com/
(Thanks for the link Patrick!)


If you're into XTC/The Dukes of Stratosphear, early Pink Floyd and some of the more inspired works of The Beatles, this is thee band for you: The Virgineers, a phantom pair of psychedelic popsters - allegedly hailing from Antarctica, but more likely being stationed somewhere on the West Coast of the United States - whose masterful 2000 debut album went by largely unnoticed and ranks high - very high, in fact - on my list of all-time faves. Unfortunately, the record is "extinct", as the band's website states, and unless you're willing to shell out a cool 130 EUR for a copy, you'll very probably have trouble tracking the damn thing down (but wait - there's one available for $ 17,50 here). For some unfathomable reason, Bruce and Ken have been largely inactive for the past six years, so it might be a while until we hear from them again. Till then, here's the two Christmas songs they made available for download on their site in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

The Virgineers - Christmas in My Mind
The Virgineers - We Are Santa's Helpers

Santa's Little Helpers


Just leave it to Tom Waits to create the ultimate Christmas atmosphere.

Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet - Gavin Bryars with anonymous tramp and Tom Waits
Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet - Gavin Bryars with Tom Waits and anonymous tramp
Christmas Sucks - Porn Orchard
(very good Tom Waits and Peter Murphy parody, they had me fooled!)
Silent Night - Tom Waits

If you're getting bored with Christmas (or already are), here are five places to visit on the web that might shake you up out of the Christmas doldrums:

1.) Jeffco Christmas

My Canadian brother Jeff has had albums and podcasts for your listening pleasure all month. If that's not enough, he has just posted his annual Christmas compilation "Christmas Turkeys 10" - a veritable feast of Christmas music that will make you smile, laugh, vomit, have convulsions, whatever. Still not convinced? Jeff's posted some of your favorite Christmas songs sung by the cast of "The Facts of Life"!

2.) FaLaLaLaLa.com

This has been the place to be at Christmas for three years running. It's the final weekend over at the King Of Jingaling's palace. There's going to be some incredible surprises in store. Other like minded Christmas music people will be gathering to bask in the glow of Christmas memories via music. If you can't find something to read, laugh at, listen to, and offer yourself in their easy to navigate forums, then check your pulse.

3.) Ernie (Not Bert)

Ernie doesn't sleep. Seriously. This guy has been burning the midnight oil, the drapes, the furniture, and has presented almost 200 Christmas albums this year! To make matters better, the albums Ernie's sharing aren't the low quality titles I've been offering... he's got some of the best Christmas music on the web! Get over to Ernie's place, browse around, and be sure to check out the outstanding photos Ernie takes as well!

4.) Queer Music Heritage

JD Doyle is at it again... He's just posted THREE complete Christmas radio shows - all new for 2006! Add these three shows to the TWELVE he's got archived at his web site and that's... carry the one... well, that's A LOT of Christmas shows! JD compiles Christmas music from gay and lesbian artists and presents them with in-depth interviews and vintage sound clips. Take a listen and tell Doyle the Captain sent you!

5.) Scott Marks podcast

Scott Marks has held many titles: film school professor (I took two of his courses), movie revival house manager, film critic and curator. He now lives in San Diego and has a regular gig on "Film Club Of The Air" on KPBS 97.7 FM. He recently went into the studio to record a podcast on two of his favorite holiday movies. For more info and to stream the podcast, click on the link above. To download the podcast, click here.

Happy surfing...


Alphabetically, "A Country Christmas" has been at the very top of my list of shared albums.

Ironically, it's one of the last albums I'll be posting!

To kick off the Christmas holiday weekend, I give you this absolute gem of an album from 1963.

I found this LP in an antique store earlier this year. The cover hooked me and the lineup of songs reeled me in! I finally found a copy of "Captain Santa Claus" by Bobby Helms and "Tag Along" by the Wilburn Brothers!

This isn't your average run-of-the-mill country compilation either. There are some excellent examples of the Nashville sound and pure vintage old school twangy country sung by some of the best artists Decca Records had in their corral of stars!

You're going to find something on this album you're going to love. Be it the bluegrass sounds of Bill Monroe, the deep, rich sound of Red Foley's voice, or listening to pure storytelling on songs by Ernest Tubb or the three guys named Jimmy (or Jimmie) on the LP!

This made another and PFFFTT... here it is:

A Country Christmas (Decca Records)

Happy listening...


Cold Chillin' Juice Crew - Cold Chillin' Xmas
Cypress Hill - The Night Before Xmas
Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin'
samflanagan - Frosty DMC
The Roots - Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa
Treacherous 3 - Santa's Rap

Rappin' Presents


After having appeared in several blaxploitation movies such as Shaft, Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones, a small role in Karel Reisz's The Gambler got Antonio Fargas the part of the flamboyant informant Huggy Bear on the immensely popular TV series Starsky & Hutch. Shortly after the show folded in 1979, Dutch producer Ton "Shell" Schellekens, a former drummer with Netherbeat bands Brainbox, In Crowd, Big Wheel and Drama, summoned the lanky New York actor to the recording studio to lay down this rare Christmas single which saw the light of day in October 1980. While the a-side sounds disastrously like the run-of-the-mill disco stuff the Dutch used to churn out at the time (anyone remember Luv?), the b-side is a slightly funkier affair with Fargas telling a ghetto Xmas story over a fat, bass-laden backing track. I have no idea if Fargas ever recorded again, but Schellekens went on to become one of Holland's foremost producers, working with bands like Gruppo Sportivo, Herman Brood & The Wild Romance and Golden Earring with whom he recorded Cut which spawned the international hit single "Twilight Zone".

1. It's Christmas
2. Christmas Eve 1953 (Horatio)

A Huggy Bear Christmas

A very special guestpost from one of the Christmas a go go readers:

In my search for good Christmas songs this year (they're hard to find but they are out there!), I kept coming across the French chanson"Petit Papa Noël." It's a beautiful and somewhat sad song; very popular in France. I found 16 different versions of the song and every time I heard a new one, I liked the song more and more. But I felt that none of the interpretations did the song justice. So I decided to have a go at it myself. With the help of my good friend Marie-Claire and her marvelous voice, we recorded a very stripped downversion of the song. I humbly hope you enjoy it.

(Picture of Marie-Claire to the left)

Devon and Marie-Claire - Petit Papa Noël



On the surface, this may seem to be an ordinary German Christmas album. If you look and listen a little deeper, you just might find some surprises.  There are abundant copies of this album anywhere you look. eBay probably has a few copies listed for auction as you read this.

But... some album covers have some suspicious red writing directly under the words "Christmas on the Rhine".

These words read: "Mixed Chorus and Orchestra under direction of Werner Müller" That explains why this album is a cut above the rest.

When you heard the words "German Christmas record", visions of oompah bands and overbearing Teutonic singers straight out of a Wagner opera might have filled your head. Not this album.

This is a well-orchestrated, well-arranged, and well sung album. Many of the standards are covered ("O Tannenbaum", "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht") but there are a few gems that standout from the rest. "Leise Rieselt Der Schnee (The Snow Falls Quietly)" can be put alongside anything put out by Fred Waring.

"Am Weihnachtsbaum (By The Christmas Tree)" is lush and lovely - a perfect Christmas song. "Kling Glockchen (Ring, Little Bell)" is by far the winner. This song is bouncy, very catchy, and all the elements of the album are capsulated in this track. This is the one you'll remember!

Nehmen Sie hören sich (take a listen for yourself):

O Tannenbaum: Christmas On The Rhine

Happy listening...


Jenny Wilson - Those Winters (OhShare)

More on Jenny Wilson here


This album (my last repost of the 2006 downloading season) was originally offered at FaLaLaLaLa.com last December. To quote from I wrote a year ago:

"Bob Ralston came from a show biz family: his mom was the 13th employee hired by Walt Disney – she was the voice of Minnie Mouse!

"After his formal music training ended, he played six nights at week with the Freddy Martin Orchestra from 1959-62 at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood.

"When that stint ended, he was approached by Lawrence Welk to be a pianist / organist / arranger for his Champagne Music Makers in 1963. It was a job he held until Welk and company went off the air in 1982 and continues to hold as arranger / organist for the occasional Welk reunion road show that tours the US.

"Today, Ralston presents five one-hour pops concerts each month in an intimate (40-seat) setting at his home in Granada Hills, CA. In addition to these regularly scheduled programs, he offers custom concerts to bus tours that visit weekly.

"I found this album at a thrift store and was immediately dazzled by two things: 1.) the near mint condition of the album (the original wrap was protecting the cover nicely) 2.) the jaw dropping number of songs listed on the cover! 30 SONGS!

"Ralston takes three songs, adds a simple chorus (nothing too heavy like Conniff or too contrived like Mitch Miller), blends in his great organ playing, and creates 10 medleys, each unique in its own way.

"If you like this album, Ralston released a Christmas CD in 1992 (74 Minutes of great theatre pipe organ music at Kansas City's Granada Theatre) that you can purchase at his website.

"This is the MONO copy... I'd love to find this in STEREO"

UPDATE: In May, 2008, I found a stereo copy at long last. You now have two album versions to choose from:

Bob Ralston - Christmas Hymns & Carols (MONO)

Bob Ralston - Christmas Hymns & Carols (STEREO)

Happy listening…


Are you a fan of Schoolhouse Rock? Do you find yourself humming its catchy song "Conjunction Junction"? You probably will after reading this next yuleblog entry.

The album you see to the right was released in 1979 by the Alcoa Singers in conjunction with the rebroadcast of the 1978 Rankin-Bass animated TV special "The Stingiest Man In Town" - a musical based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" written by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre.

The album features selections from the animated TV special that were originally sung by the likes of Dennis Day, Tom Bosley, Robert Morse, and (in the title role of Scrooge) Walter Matthau. More on the Alcoa Singers and their album later.

This wasn't the first time these songs were sung on television. When I found this album by The Alcoa Singers, immediately behind it was an album that conjuncts (if such a word exists) with everything described so far!

The second album I found was the ORIGINAL soundtrack to the first television broadcast of "The Stingiest Man In Town". Back in 1956, "The Alcoa Hour" first broadcast "The Stingiest Man In Town" as a live-action television special, was rebroadcast on television every Christmas several years thereafter, and a soundtrack was released in conjunction with that:

This soundtrack has long been out of print (what a coup!). Upon my first listen, I discovered that several of the songs listed were contained within tracks on the album and weren't separate. I transferred the album in two formats - the original LP format and a separate track format - and was set to offer it this Christmas.

Then I discovered the soundtrack was released onto CD for the first time this year. If you've been after this album forever, click on the link and purchase your very own copy.

Back to these folks.

Resplendent in polyester gear and sporting some wonderful 1970s hair styles, the Alcoa Singers got their start in 1961 as a volunteer group who would perform in (dare I say it?) conjunction with holiday functions for Alcoa employees.

Their singing is quite good. I enjoyed their versions of the "Stingiest Man In Town" songs (especially "The Christmas Spirit") but their other songs make the album.

They do wonderful jobs with such reverent songs like "The Little Drummer Boy" and "O Holy Night". "Here We Come A-Wassailing" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" pack a lot of punch (both last under a minute in length).

If you're looking for standout songs, you should take a listen to their version of "Jingle Bells" and the last track of nineteen overall on the album - a medley entitled "Sunshine Christmas". "Sunshine" lasts over six minutes and features 1970s "Godspell" like rhythms and singing. It's a true testament to its era.

Here's the link (no conjunctions necessary):

The Alcoa Singers - An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Happy listening...


"It's Christmas day and Danny "the Carwhiper" hit the street junk-sick and broke after 72 hours in a precinct cel. It was a clear bright day, but there was no warmth in the sun."
His dealer in jail, no friends, no dope, no hope... What's Danny going to do? How is he gonna score. How is he going to get through the day?

A tear jerking Christmas story and no happy end? Or is it..? Hark the Herald Angels...

The Junky's Christmas

Word William S. Burroughs
music The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy and Hal Wilner.


By far my favourite christmas-song this year:

Our family weekend in Chicago was a blast - it brought back many great memories for my wife and myself, added new ones to our collection, and a brand new mess of memories with our kids for their folder.

As a kid who grew up in the Chicago area, I have memories so thick dealing with Christmas and Chicago radio that you'd need a whole new blog to catalog them all in.

WGN-AM (720 on your radio dial) is known as "Chicago's hometown radio station". It began broadcasting its 50,000 watt radio signal in 1924 - on clear nights, its signal can be heard as far away as South America!

Even though it pioneered the "news/talk" format long ago, the staggering variety of radio shows hosted on WGN is legendary - sports, news, cooking shows, radio dramas, you name it.

Since 1960, Orion (Oh-REE-un) Samuelson has hosted the farm report for WGN - helping the Midwest's farmers with crop prices, hog futures, and other agricultural news.

In this day and age of instant communication and technology, Samuelson is still at WGN broadcasting his farm report. Ponder this: the number three market in America, the number one radio station in Chicago, and they STILL broadcast farm reports!

Orion has several syndicated farm reports to his name, won hundreds of radio & television awards, and is a member of several radio & TV hall of fames.

His deep resonating voice is instantly recognizable to generations of Midwest farmers and Chicagoans and is no way the model for that other famous farm report radio legend Les Nessman.

Back in 1981, Orion decided to cut loose and have some fun. Gathering with some friends who called themselves "The Uff-Da Band", they re-recorded covers of Yogi Yorgesson's versions of "Jingle Bells" and "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas" and issued them on Phonograph Records. If you look at the record label for "Jingle Bells", the songwriter credited is Samuelson - he's been around forever but NOT that long!

This 45 single probably never got past the borders of the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana - as far as Iowa maybe. So to many who hear this, it's just a homemade cover of two forgettable Christmas songs.

However, to those who know and appreciate Orion Samuelson, this is the ultimate Christmas present. To hear such a straight-laced personality like Samuelson - who would have given Ed Sullivan a run for his money in the "stone-face / barely alive" department - doing something so far-fetched like singing a Christmas song will no doubtedly cause some smiles and chuckles out there.

Play this one on the farm and watch the crops and cattle go bad:

Orion Samuelson - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

Happy listening...


Of all the albums and singles I've offered this Christmas, this might just be the most plain, the most obscure, and the least likely to download album in the whole pile.

Back in the 1960s, Bob Mantzke was a religious leader of choirs in Minnesota and issued several albums (which can be found on eBay here and here).

His leadership caused his Choralaires to win the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Folk Festival back in 1961 - the first U.S. choir to win that competition. Only three U.S. choirs have ever won in Llangollen and Mantzke's won it twice!

Other Google searches show that Robert Mantzke (minus the Choralaires) wrote several Christmas musicals for kids that can still be licensed for performance.

Whether or not Bob is alive or dead is a mystery. So is the fate of Vend-O-Matic Sales, Inc - the company who issued this album some time last century. If anyone can fill in the blanks out there, drop us a line.

The music? If you're looking for a choir standing in front of a microphone with an accompanying organ playing all your standard Christmas fare with some occasional surface noise from the album, then this is for you.

Smile and sing on the beat:

Bob Mantzke Choralaires - Christmas Songs

Happy listening...


tokyo tower christmas tree

Tokyo's Coolest Combo - Music For December's Children

Four groovy instrumentals:
- Santa Clause Is Coming To Town
- Frere Jacques
- The Work Of God
- Santa Baby


If you feel like overdosing on retro Christmas songs, albums and podcasts, here are all the links you'll need:

A Christmas Yuleblog
Ernie (Not Bert)
Senses Working Overtime
Bongo Bells
FaLaLaLaLa (the album pictured at left can be found in this post from last year)

I found some of these links via the excellent Mistletunes website. It features reviews of many different Christmas compilations, conveniently organised by era and themes. Check out, for example, the Tropical Christmas section.

And some of my favourite individual Christmas posts:

Johnny Cash - '12 Days of Christmas' video @ Bedazzled
60s Singaporean band Naomi & The Boys sing a Christmas tune @ Mod-ified Music
Les Chausettes Noires' Christmas 7" @ Rato Records - another share from last year that's still up (found via Bibi's Box). (Natasha has already posted the A-side here).



A plus D - Give the Jew Girl Toys (Trio vs. Sarah Silverman)
dj BC - Chanukkah Song (GoyiMix)
DJ Flack - Dreidle Bells
Electric Menorah - Oh Chanukkah Bush
South Park - The Lonely Jew on Christmas
Summersault - Shalom Haverim
The Always Dangerous Steven Garvey - Dreidle, Dreidle, Dreidle
Tom Lehrer - Hanukkah in Santa Monica

Chappy Chanukkah