Friday, December 12, 2008

X-Mas part one

The above photo was taken from a live Hangover Hop WFMU radio broadcast done in I believe Dec. of '91. That's the late actor/degenerate Rocket Redglare as Santa Claus. The drink and cigarette weren't the worst things he ingested that day. For years comedy writer/producer/collector Eddie Gordetsky made Christmas tapes and then CD's and sent 'em out to every cool person in the world. They were full of incredible, obscure, Christmas discs of all musical genres (and some that fit no known genre). This year he sent out an e-mail admitting he hated Christmas records and there would be no CD this year, he just sent out blank CD's with a note to make your own and pass it along. So I'll use this, and maybe another blog to do just that. Truth is, I'm not crazy about Christmas either. New York City is full of stressed out shoppers and moronic tourists, all shoving and pushing. Traffic is a nightmare. The parties aren't even fun anymore (and I don't drink anyway courtesy of my damaged liver which doesn't like to leave the house much anymore). And all that false "cheer" just depresses me. I do like Christmas records because basically, rock'n'roll is a novelty music, and as such it translates to such things as Christmas records pretty well. Some groups best records are their Christmas records. If you want to hear an entire three hours of Christmas discs you can find my Dec. '93 show here. I think that was the best one. Not as good but with some different tunes is one from Dec. '92 here. If you like your Christmas in smaller doses (recommended) here's a few of my favorites. Santo & Johnny's Twistin' Bells and the Ventures' Sleigh Ride are my two favorite Xmas instrumentals. On the vocal group R&B side of things the Marshall Brothers' Mr. Santa's Boogie, the Penguins' Jingle Jangle, Marvin & Johnny's It's Christmas, the Marquees' Christmas In The Congo, the Falcons' Can This Be Christmas?, the Hepsters' Rockin' and Rollin' With Santa Claus, the Youngsters' Christmas In Jail, the Martels' Rockin' Santa Claus, and my old favorite Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' Santa Claus Is Coming would all be at the top of my list. On the rockabilly/white rocker front I've always loved Johnny Preston's I Want A Rock'n'Roll Guitar, Cordell Jackson's (I miss her Christmas cards) Be-Bopper's Christmas, Little Joey Farr's Rock'n'Roll Santa, the Davis Sisters' Christmas Boogie, Tommy Lee & the Orbits' Jingle Rock, the Holly Twins' I Want Elvis For Christmas (that's Eddie Cochran doin' the Elvis impersonation), Hasil Adkins' Santa Claus Boogie (sounds more like Santa's Hunch to me), Gary Remo Quartet's St. Nick Rock, Brendan Hanlan and his Bat Men's Christmas Party (dig that guitar solo), 3 Aces & a Joker's Sleigh Bell Rock (flip side of "Booze Party") and Chuck Blevins' Sleigh Bell Rock. If those don't liven up your Christmas party, try taking your clothes off.      The best soul Christmas record of all time is Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa. There's plenty of other good ones though, including Johnny & Jon's Christmas In Viet Nam, Clyde Lasley & the Cadillac Babies' Santa Came Home Drunk, Detroit Jr.'s Christmas Day  and Nathaniel Mayer's Mr. Santa Claus (too bad Nat won't be around this Christmas, R.I.P., I bet him and Rockets have a lot to talk about on the other side).      For Christmas blues here's Eddie C. Cambell's wonderful Santa's Messin' With The Kid, Charles Brown's Miserable Christmas, Washboard Pete's Christmas Blues, Lightnin' Hopkins' Santa, John Lee Hooker's Blues For Christmas, Sonny Boy (What Number Sonny Boy Am I Again?) Williamson's Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues (actually it's #2, Rice Miller, I am Sonny Boy #523 btw), Louis Jordan's Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Robert Nighthawk's Merry Christmas Baby is also a nice guitar workout, as is Hop Wilson's Merry Christmas Darling.      For those who like rockin' R&B, the best Christmas record ever is Huey Smith & the Clowns Christmas album-- Twas The Night Before Christmas (Ace). From said lp here's Rock'n'Roll Santa and the best version ever of Silent Night. The whole LP can be found here.  Bobbie & Boobie's Cool Cool Christmas  rocks like crazy, as does Jimmy Butler's Trim Your Tree (dirty too).     Now here's some oddball Christmas records I like starting with my all-time favorite Christmas disc-- Canned Heat & the Chipmunks (they were both on Liberty, why not?) jamming out on Christmas Boogie. Good thing Bear Hite didn't step on one of the Chipmunks, he'd a crushed the little fella. I'd say this is Canned Heat's best record ever. Commander Cody's Lost Planet Airmen's Daddy's Drinking Up Our Christmas is another great one, it's the only record of theirs I own. The Sonics sure deliver the goods on Don't Believe In Christmas for you garage fans. Bob Seger & his Last Heard never sounded more like Mitch Ryder & his Detroit Wheels than they did on this one-- Sock It To Me Santa. Again, this might be his best record (at least in his top three along with "East Side Story" and "Ramblin' Gamlin' Man"). Hope this brings some cheer to your Christmas season, especially you broke mother fuckers.     I've done worn myself out for the moment, I'll get to more great rock'n'roll and some cool country Christmas discs in another posting in the next week or so. Feel free to post requests or your own favorites, if I have 'em I'll try and post 'em.


count reeshard said...

I'd really appreciate it if someone could digitize Eddie G.'s Merry Sixmas cassette (maybe from the late '80s?), the one whose terrific songs were stitched together with dialog from a Xmas episode of Dragnet.

Those cassettes were wonderful, true labors of love. Eddie's cottage industry didn't translate well in legit terms, though; some ineffable quality seemed to go missing when Christmas With Eddie G appeared as a Sony CD.

Spike Priggen said...

Isn't that Connie "The Empress"(my former manager at "Screaming Mimi's") to the left of Rockets?

You should do a Rockets post. I bet you have some interesting, uhh, anecdotes on him. Like, what do you know about Siouxsie Sioux putting a beat down on him at some after-hours club?

Ripping that old Xmas Hound show to a cd so I can listen to it in the car.

Thanks for the link on your blogroll.

Anonymous said...

What about "merry christmas everybody" by SLADE ?

The Hound said...

yes that's Connie on the left w/beehive. I remember Siouxsie throwing a drink at Rockets, funny how the years have turned it into a "beat down". Rockets could handle himself pretty well when he was young and I doubt she would have won a real fight. btw somewhere in my house is the first few chapters of Rockets' autobiography which he never finished. If I can find it I'll put it up on the blog. Louis D.'s documentry on Rockets did come out on DVD and is fairly hilarious, Rockets was a mess by that point. Louis died a couple of years after making it (in a motorcycle accident). The funny part is that when Louis worked at the Lakeside he was always complaining about Rockets (one of the bad things about owning a bar is having to deal w/your degenerate friends), but he was savvy enough to know a good subect that could be filmed on the cheap. Youtube used to have some clips from it.

The Hound said...

I don't own the Slade record or I'd post it for you but it being the biggest selling Xmas record ever in the UK it's easily available other places. My ears are still ringing from seeing Slade in '74....

KevanA said...

Let me just first say how much I enjoy your blog. Your passion about the subjects that you write about really shows through. If I may I'd like to share a couple of obscure Xmas tunes with you and your readers that I like. First one from 1937.
Black Ace (BK Turner)- Christmas Time Blues. Not much of a fan of Pre-War Blues but this has some bite.

And another from 1947. JB Summers with Harry Fats Crofton - Bring That Cadillac Back. This probably never gets played for the fact that Christmas isn't in the title.

Again Happy Holidays to you and your family and the ever growing readers your acquiring.

Kevan from the NW

Youngest of all possible men said...

Rockets had started an autobiography? That would be a must read. And yes, would love to read an entire blog entry on him.

I wanted to get him in the photo booth with me at Lakeside one night for posterity. Still regret not asking him.

Thanks for the holiday music...we've had a "Hound Christmas" for the last couple years at our house on the 25th. Your shows go well with the televised fire on Channel 11.

The Hound said...

"I wanted to get him in the photo booth with me at Lakeside one night for posterity. Still regret not asking him."
I don't think he fit at the end. We did have a collection of his hospital wristbands hanging off the back bar for time but we had to 86 him when he started passing out at the bar (he'd gotten so big we couldn't lift him off the ground). I felt bad about the 86 but it really looked like he was gonna die in the bar and that would have cost us our liquor license. They'd let him out of the hospital and he'd head straight to the bar, his liver was pumping amonia into his blood stream. It wasn't pretty. Sometimes running a bar is real drag, you often end up having to ban your own friends or risk having 'em ruin the joint. His autobiography of which he only completed one or two chapters was called "User's Manuel".
btw, Rockets was the first person to tell me about Cormac McCarthy, back in '85 before anyone had heard of him.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog. Amazing and influential stuff. Thanks also for the Xmas songs as well, because the wife loves xmas songs and slowly and somewhat understands/comes around to my passion for raw r&b, garage, punk, soul and country when done xmas style. How about adding in James Browns' "Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto to" to your next posting. I'll send it if you don't have it digitally.
a lost crusader

The Hound said...

"How about adding in James Browns' "Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto to" to your next posting. I'll send it if you don't have it digitally".

I'm pretty sure I have that one some where, I'll get it up on xmas pt 2 coming next week sometime.

Anonymous said...

That was me who wrote the bit about getting Rockets into the photo booth. He was big as a house, but as I recall he was drinking water that night.

For some reason, I was nervous about asking him, so I kept saying to myself, "OK..after the next drink..." Not only didn't I get the photos, I puked on the way home. File under "Sad"

Anonymous said...

i loved your x-mas shows. my favorite was always Christmas in Jail by the Youngsters. Later i found it on a compilatioin called "bummed out christmas." it also had "new year's even can kill ya" by the everly bros. you can't beat depressing x-mas songs like that. the only thing i like about x-mas is getting to eat 13 kinds of fish.

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