Well, the time has come...
It's Christmas Eve!
To those who submitted a Christmas cheer, a special 'thank you'. To those who wished they had but didn't, I say 'enjoy'.
And this is the time for me to graciously acknowledge and thank the patronage of Gary Slaight for another year of support, and to team Music Canada - Graham, Randy, Steve, Shane (and now Jeffrey) - for back-stopping FYI.
For our readers, there will be a surprise contained in tomorrow's newsletter, after which FYI takes a holiday until Monday, January 4th.
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
- Leonard Cohen
See you all in 2016: David Farrell & team FYI
12th Day Of Christmas
David Farrell:To start things off with Relator's calypso, "Christmas Is Yours, Christmas Is Mine".
CMRRA's Margaret McGuffin submits "Good King Wenceslas" by The Skydiggers: I have spent too many December evenings at The Horseshoe with The Skydiggers. It wouldn't be Christmas without Andy Maize's version of "Good King Wenceslas".
Music Canada's Siobhan Ozege: "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" - Bruce Springsteen
Sherri Jones, Jones & Co.: "Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo" - David Myles
Riley O'Connor, Live Nation: "There’s No Light On The Christmas Tree" - The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Yes I have a pick , not hard to do as I used to work these shows in Glasgow at the Apollo Theatre.
Faye Perkins, Real World Artists: "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus" - Twisted Sister: Every year, I bring out my copy of Twisted Sister's' Christmas DVD, which was given to me by by brother, a big Cramps fan. I learned everything that I needed to know for marketing heavy and death metal. Here's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by Twisted Sister. Great music to play while stuffing the turkey.
Bill Gilliland: "Fairytale of New York" - The Pogues: One of my all-time favourites. I love to see the reaction of listeners when I program it after "White Christmas" by Michael Bublé.
Shan Kelley, Somerset Group: "Christmas In Jail" - The Youngsters: Who doesn’t love the warm Yuletide nostalgia of this old favourite?
Dave Chesney, White Rock Councillor & Publisher: "She'll Be My Everything For Christmas" - Los Lonely Boys.
Steve Jones, Newcap Broadcasting: "Santa Claus Go Fuck Yourself - Bubbles & The Shitrockers: Since our company is based in Halifax, I’ll throw out an east coast classic from Bubbles of the Trailer Park Boys.
The 10th Day
Roger Ashby, Drive-time superstar and coffee-time's best friend: "Sleigh Ride" - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Don Green, CCMA topper and hat guy with a sense of humour: "Cranky Christmas: Why Does Every Christmas Song Have So Many Chords? - Wendell Ferguson. Okay now you have me engaged … totally off-the-wall above from CCMA Hall of Fame Wendell Ferguson (and) Anne Murray is always a go to for me.
Eric Alper, eOne Ent. social media superstar and world's second best dad: "Winter Wonderland" - Radiohead: Here is Radiohead with a cut from their Inside Out night webcast in 2002 performing 'Winter Wonderland'. I love lead singer Thom Yorke’s shout out of "It's the Smurfs! It’s the Smurfs!" to open up the song.
Barry Haugen, CMAO topper, hat guy and all-round fun guy: "Christmas Kisses" - Heather Ballentine
Kerry Doole, Kiwi superstar music scribbler, FYI friend and absentee sheep herder: "Carol Of The Bells" - Pentatonix
Howard Druckman, SOCAN author & ase (heh, heh) spellchecker: "Must Be Santa" - Bob Dylan
Pat Holiday, (retired) radio consultant, classy guy and a left-handed golfer: "Grover Henson Feels Forgotten" - Bill Cosby: On the one hand it’s Bill Cosby and all the baggage that brings given what he’s accused of and probably did. On the other hand it’s always been a pretty cool song to me because of what's in it. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys and women overseas right now who could write this song about themselves word for word. Sad. It was during the Vietnam years but still dead on today for the Middle East.
Here’s one more. Kind of similar. "Silent Night / 7 O’Clock News" - Simon & Garfunkel
Tony Tarleton, Maple Music kingpin and all-round good guy with an ear for great music: "White Christmas" - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
The Ninth Day
Kim Stockwood, singer, songwriter, media personality and champion of The Rock: "White Christmas" - Bing Crosby. There is a reason his version is the best selling single of all time…It just makes you feel good when you hear it. His recording has magic in it…think I might go listen to it right now!!
Tom Cochrane: "Christmas All the Time" - Tom Cochrane. ...Not to be self promoting but why not :) It's good and it's original.
Allan Reid, Juno/CARAS topper: "Christmas Time Is Here" - Vince Guaraldi Trio. No question my Favourite Christmas album of all time. I watched the Charlie Brown special every year as a kid and the music sank deep into my psyche and to this day it’s the first album I play when the tree gets decorated. This song feels like winter, snow falling, warm fire and just slowing things down.
Steve McLean, scribbler, editor, reporter: El Vez's Christmas shows. I wish El Vez's Merry Mex-Mas shows were an annual Toronto holiday tradition. But since they don't make it up here that often, it makes them more special when they do. Here's a taste of his 2002 show at the Horseshoe Tavern featuring a Dave Foley introduction and extravagant renditions of "Little Drummer Boy," "Feliz Navidad," "Brown Christmas", and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)."
Rosanne Baker Thornley, songwriter: "Christmas Lights" - North Easton and My Favourite Tragedy. Because Christmas is as much about remembering the heart-warming memories that add layers to who we are, “Christmas Lights” by my good friend and writing partner, Canadian singer/songwriter North Easton and his band My Favourite Tragedy.
Enjoy. It’s a really good one.
Michael Greggs, music manager, vinyl nutter and audio fanatic: "Father Christmas" - The Kinks
Paul Tuch, Nielsen Canada music charts director and baseball enthusiast: "Fairytale Of New York" - The Pogues
David Freeman, Bob Ansell and Adele's best friend at Beggars Group Canada: "The Gift That Keeps Giving" - Super Furry Animals
Bob Segarini, no introduction necessary for this humble man: "It's Christmas" - The Segarini Band. How about one by...me? Recorded at Maclear Place in 1979, this was my attempt to capture the "Wall of Sound" by recording everything live off the floor. There are 16 people playing on the track including Greg Godovitz and Margo Davidson from the Parachute Club on sax. Multiple pianos, etc...could have used more echo, though. "Deck the halls with Buddy Holly's guitar".
Alan Cross, media star and musicologist: "Christmas Shoes" - Erlosung (Black Metal Cover). If there’s one Christmas song that causes my colon to spasm uncontrollably, it’s “Christmas Shoes,” the story of the kid, the shoes and the dying mother.
Gary Cormier, event promoter, city treasure, and trivia buff: "Soul Christmas" - Graham Parker
Shauna de Cartier, Six Shooter Records' six-shooter: "O Holy Night" - The Beauties featuring Jenn Grant. Well, this isn’t “whacky”, but here is one of my all-time favourites.
Denise Donlon, media star and soon-to-be-author: "Christmas Island"- Leon Redbone. Hi David! Wanted to send "Sober For Christmas" by Marc Jordan on Lunch At Allen's Zuzu's Petals CD, but no video! So here's a perennial favourite at our house - Leon Redbone's "Christmas Island". Frosty the Snowman fun with Dr. John and I especially like the yodelling at the end!
Gary W. Hubbard, retired A&M record executive: "That's What Christmas Means To Me" - Eddie Fisher. Enjoy this Christmas song — surprised no-one has covered with an up-to-date version.
Bill King, musician & FYI columnist and all-round good guy: "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" - Scooby Doo Squad
The Sixth & Fifth Days
Warren Cosford, radio archivist, editor of WarrensNetwork and the universe's #1 Jack Scott fan: "Jingle Bells Slide" - Jack Scott. You won't be surprised with this choice. BTW.... Jack will turn 80 in January and has just released a new album recorded in Finland.
But if you need a video,
Frank Davies, music publisher & great Canadian talent supporter: Three choices for some of my favourite Christmas songs.
"Stop The Cavalry" by Jona Lewie. This has been one of my family's staples for celebrating Christmas since the early eighties. My daughters consider it a Christmas 'chestnut' along with various traditional Christmas songs and hymns. Classic British upbeat, fun, sing-a-long song but with an understated political, anti-war message wrapped up in the warmth of a lovely colliery brass band.
"2000 Miles" by The Pretenders. I could actually listen to this song on repeat for all 12 days of Christmas. Never tire of it. My daughter Emily called me a couple of days ago to tell me she was playing it for her children this year. Again an early eighties classic.
Paul Tuch just picked another favourite of ours ("Fairytale of New York"), though we know it as "Christmas In The Drunk Tank" by The Pogues (but the version with Kirsty MacColl).
My brother-in-law Ken from Dublin (recording engineer - Klaatu/MaxWebster/Surrender, etc) turned me on to this fabulous Irish record/song — so along with that comment and seconding Paul's pick, I'm gonna pick a great Canadian-written Christmas song: London, Ontario singer/songwriter Steven Hardy's Randy Newman-ish "Nothing Outside But Snow," a great song Michael Bublé or Diana Krall should record.
Mister Zero, The Kings: Audio of The Kings "This Christmas", gets a lot of airplay and we will be performing it on Dec 20th at Applewood United Church in Mississauga (ON).
John Donnelly, of the famed music biz Donnelly family: Here is the new original Christmas song from our family show: “Sparkly Christmas Things" - Rockin’ Robin & the Magical Tree.
Ralph James, global traveller, mean bass player and boss at United Talent Agency: "Little Drummer Boy" - Walk Off The Earth.
Bobby Gale, ace music promoter and host of Sunday Glide on 99.3CountyFM.ca: "The Christmas Song" - The Raveonettes: Often overlooked (sadly), "The Christmas Song," for me, has all those tinsely, noir-tinged elements, that trigger emotions of Yuletides past, as Sharon & Sune manage, only too well, to cleverly waltz a vintage vibe, while advancing one foot into the New Year.
John Crossingham, ace editor and stylish musician and song crafter: "Just Like Christmas" - Low: Back in 1999, Duluth trio Low self-released a Christmas album as a “gift to their fans” and they weren’t kidding. Though they cover a few classics (their “Little Drummer Boy” from this LP even soundtracked a Gap ad), the real worth is the strength of their originals. This brisk track makes a simple case for the spirit of youth and friendships trumping the optics of fresh snow.
"Christmas In Prison" - John Prine: The problem I have with nearly all Christmas music is its insistence on idealized sentiments and signifiers at the expense of any of the real emotion that the holiday can deliver — they show and don't tell. This Prine tune is probably the greatest Christmas song I’ve ever heard, because it achieves the exact opposite. I don’t care what annoying relatives you have to endure or what endless list of gifts you need to accrue, if you don’t feel grateful to be celebrating the way that you are after hearing this, you’re frankly beyond saving. Few people have a gift for being so funny, so tender, so rooted in the real as Prine displays here. “I’ll probably get homesick, I love you, goodnight."
Steven Hardy, song plugger: - "I'm Still Waiting For Christmas" - Maya Rae.
The 3rd Day
Cameron Carpenter, ace publicist, soccer nut and music blogger: "Christmas At The Airport" - Nick Lowe. Released two years ago but now on my annual Christmas playlist.
Terry Draper, songwriter, musician and a Klaatu-ite: "A Song For Christmas" - Terry Draper. It seems everyone has a "Christmas" song. Me, too!
Bob Johnston, ex Montreal broadcaster now at Wanted Sound + Picture: "Blue Christmas" - Elvis Presley. Here's the first one I ever played at CKGM on my all night show.
and "Run Rudolph Run" by Chuck Berry
Andrew Forsyth, radio consultant: "A Spaceman Came Travelling" - Chris de Burgh. From the heyday when we were all much younger.... An instant Christmas Classic in Montreal. Another connection is I believe he is backed by his Canadian band led by the late Glenn Morrow.
The 2nd Day
Ron Irving, west-coast songwriter: "Another Silent Night" - Ron Irving. Here is one more song for your Christmas list. I co-wrote this with Lynda McKillip and Aileen Delacruz and performed it live at the Bluebird North show in Vancouver.
Roy Forbes, songwriter, musician aka Bim: “Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn” – Cotton Top Sanctified Singers. I'm a big fan of Bruce Cockburn's Christmas album, especially his version of ”Early On One Christmas Morn". I thought it might be fun to hear the original 1929 recording of that tune by the Cotton Top Sanctified Singers. No video but a nice ad for the original Brunswick 78. I'll be playing "Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn" on my Monday night CKUA radio show, Roy's Record Room, when I feature an all-78 visit from the Shellac Shack Santa. The Cotton Top Sanctified Singers record is on my Christmas 78 wish-list. The show aired at six PM, MST. (Sadly) no podcast.
Andrew Austin, songwriter, musician: “Whatever Happened To Christmas” – Andy Kim & Ron Sexsmith. It probably changes every year, but one holiday song I've been thinking of this year is "What Ever Happened To Christmas" by Andy Kim and Ron Sexsmith. I was playing guitar in Andy's live band, at the time he wrote it with Ron. I thought, 'people still write Christmas Songs? Like relevant and good ones.' It might not be a happy, celebratory one, but it reminds me a little bit of "So This Is Christmas" by John Lennon - another favourite. They both have that sort of sense of 'Christmas is great, we should all enjoy it, but also remember that we could all do a little bit better.' I like to add the tiniest dash of guilt to my holiday celebration.
Richard Green, retired librarian: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - Darlene Love. There are lots of performances of this song by Darlene Love, and others, but this one from The David Letterman Show in 1986, the first of what would become an annual Letterman rite and quite a spectacle, has just Paul Shaffer and the band at their best backing Darlene, who sings her holiday stockings off!
"We Three Kings" - The Beach Boys. I thought there was a sequence with the Beach Boys paired with, I think, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, but perhaps the copyright grinches took it away. In any event, these are the Beach Boys doing their best Four Freshmen inspired singing and looking very young and clean-cut.