Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Five

I wish I could figure out how to hang some tinsel and holly on my title bit up there...but, alas, I'm just not that tech savvy.

Since I've been all holiday-ish this week, I thought I might continue the trend. This is a video heavy post, kids, so give it some time to load.

Five Favourite Non-Traditional Christmas Songs

1. Brian Setzer Orchestra-Z'at You Santa Claus?

Louis Armstrong did the original, and I like the original, but I love this updated version. I've liked Brian Setzer since his days back with The Stray Cats, and it made me happy that the resurgence in swing music a few years back boosted his career. This video is a live version, and he botches the last verse, but who cares? He's fun to watch, and the song is fun, too.

2. Eartha Kitt-Santa Baby

She did this waaay before Madonna. I love this song because it brings out my inner sex kitten (which is deeply buried at the moment). Eartha Kitt has the most unique voice, and she practically purrs her way through the song. She has a ton of sex appeal. In this video from 1962, she flies through it a little faster that in the original recording, but you get the idea. If you've got iTunes, you can get the original there. That's where I got mine.

3. Barenaked Ladies - The Elf's Lament

I love this song to pieces. Who else could give you a Christmas song about illegal doping and unionization amongst elves? The song is witty, wry, and has a great retro sound. Michael Buble sang on the original recording. This video is a live performance of the song by the band alone.

4. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Mr. Heatmiser

I can honestly say that most Rankin-Bass Christmas specials leave me a bit...well, for lack of a better term (and no pun intended) cold. They're silly, with bad dialogue, but they're also a tradition of sorts and therefore should not be shunned. I was happy to find that one of my favourite bands had done a cover of this song from "The Year Without a Santa Claus". I'm a bit disappointed in this video, because they've sped up the Snow Miser bit to fit with the animation, but you'll get the general idea. Again, if you've got iTunes, you can hear the original recording by the band. This song is also TFYO's favourite right now, so it's a good thing I like it, because I get to hear it over and OVER again on the way to school.

5. The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping

I had no idea this song from 1981 existed until the program director at my last station put it into the Christmas rotation. It's very 80's sounding, but I love it. For me it captures the decade and the season perfectly. If you don't know The Waitresses, you might remember they're only Top 40 hit "I Know What Boys Like". It was little sing-songy, and got annoying after a bit. This song isn't like that. The video isn't so much a video as a series of visual wipes of the 45, but that's okay, because they've got the song in it's entirety.

Okay, that's my five. What are your favourite Christmas songs? Or Hanukkah songs? Or maybe you've got a big "Bah Humbug!" up your butt and you don't like anything. Feel free to share, but leave the humbug where it is, okay?


The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'd forgotten just how distinctive Eartha Kitt's voice is (was?) Wow. And the Waitresses? It's college all over again, baby.

My favorite Christmas song is I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas (Mommy and Daddy are mad, I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas, cause I ain't been nothin' but bad...)

Maybe I should check YouTube?

Leendaluu said...

Ha! I just download The Elf's Lament this afternoon. My favorite Christmas album is The Burns Sisters Tradition --they are a local group. My favorite on the album is 'Children Go Where I Send Thee', although 'Songs We Love' is a close second. And for Hanukkah--it's the Barenaked Ladies 'Hannukah Blessings'

laurie said...

oooh, good post. i love that version of santababy.

i like vince guaraldi's tracks to "a charlie brown christmas."

Willowtree said...

I have no favourite Christmas songs done by otherwise serious musicians.

However, the BNL one was a decent song, and I am a fan of Setzer (Stray Cats actually). I used to love "I know what Boys Like".

Mya said...

Try digging out 'Around this Time, Christmas Time' by Sydney L - it's an unintentionally hilarious homage to Christmas. It contains the priceless lyric 'Christmas treats, of ham and other meats' - which, I for one, think deserves a wider audience.

You can't beat a bit of Bing for getting me in the Christmas mood.

Mya x

Jo Beaufoix said...

Jen we've all just had a big boogie to this post. I saw BAre Naked Ladies at Glastonbury in 1993 and they were fabulous, and they play that last one loads over here. I love Is that You Santa Claus, and Eartha Kitt was spectacular.
As for mine...

We were brought up on I wish it could be Christmas Every Day by Wizard, Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade, Jona Lewie - Stop the Cavalry (which we called the duba duba dum song), Wham - Last Christmas which came out when I was 9 years old and in love with George Micheal, and Paul McCartney's The Pipes of Peace which came out in 1983 when I was 8. They seemed to get played for so many years after they came out.

PixelPi said...

Well, my faves are all the usual Christmas songs, so it's a pretty boring list. Lo, How a Rose Eer Blooming, The Holly and the Ivy,Ring Christmas Bells,Silent Night, and Handel's Messiah. I guess my Christmas party music won't be nearly as much fun to dance to as everyone else's. However, with enough eggnog, it won't matter after a while.

Jen said...

RC Eartha is still kicking around, though her voice is a little bit rougher. And YouTube seems to have everything. You just have to look.

leeandaluu Hannukah Blessings is fun, even though all the radio stations play Adam Sandler instead.

laurie I actually have the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. The Vince Guiraldi trio is always on at our house Christmas eve.

WT You also don't really like Christmas, if I recall, and that's okay.

mya What is it with you and meat? LOL

Jo Oh, man, I haven't heard Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade since I left Canada. They have quite a following there. Hardly anyone knows of them here. And of course, Last Christmas. I like it, but it's been overplayed on almost every station I've ever worked for. I still like it, just don't listen to it at home!

bellevelma said...

I love, love, love, BNL and Elf's Lament. I love BNL so much I saw them twice when I was pg with Snags!

Other Christmas Favs of mine include Mary's Boy Child by Boney M. and You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch by Whirling Dervishes.

my two cents said...

I have no bah humbug for Christmas at all! Like Pixel, I'm not sure my list is good to dance to, but here goes:

Vivaldi's Gloria (does it get any better than this?); Judy Collins' Come Rejoice; George Winston's December album; Emmy Lou Harris' Beautiful Star of Bethlehem; and we have recording of a handbell choir performing In the Bleak Midwinter that I really like, too.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. We are off now to hear a Christmas concert at the church where the fifteen-year-old girl plays in the handbell choir.

Jillian said...

My favourite non-traditional Christmas song is, in essence, a traditional one - but with a very Canadian twist.

The Twelve Days of Christmas
(by Bob and Doug McKenzie)

For those of you who don't know who Bob and Doug McKenzie are, they are two actors (Rick Moranis plays Bob and Dave Thomas plays Doug) who had huge success on SCTV (Second City Television) in Toronto portraying two very stereotypical Canadian characters. Touques, backbacon, and of course, lots and lots of beer. Here are the Canadian 12 days of Christmas as recorded by them.

1) A Beer (in a tree)
2) 2 turtlenecks
3) 3 French Toasts
4) 4 pounds of backbacon
5) 5 Golden Touques!
6) 6 Packs of 2-4
7) 7 Packs of Smokes (nice gift!)
8) 8 Comic Books
9) They got so busy talking on the record, that they didn't mention 9 - 12, but Bob decided that a good gift for him would have been to go down to the donut shop where if you buy a dozen donuts you get another one free, so there would be 13 days of Christmas. I digress. (I love Canadian humour!)