Once again, a little misdirection with our three tunes. You figured it out back in Vol. 6. It’s still not all that complicated.
The first one sounds like Chuck Berry, but really is …
“Run Rudolph Run,” Dave Edmunds, 1982, from “A Different Kind of Christmas,” 1994. It’s out of print … which is a little surprising considering some of the other acts on it: NRBQ, Bruce Cockburn, T-Bone Burnett and Shawn Colvin.
Edmunds has long been one of my favorite performers, and that he would channel Chuck Berry is no surprise. Berry did this one first, as the B side to “Merry Christmas Baby” in 1958, but he didn’t write it. Rather, it was Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie. You may know some other Christmas songs written by Marks: “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”
The second one sounds like James Brown, but really is …
“Sock It To Me, Santa,” Bob Seger and the Last Heard, 1966, from “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas,” 1995.
There’s an interesting little history of this tune at The Seger File, a fan site. There, Scott Sparling discusses the mysterious songwriting credit — first “Punchy,” then “T. Keels” — and suggests they might be pseudonyms created to resolve a copyright challenge “since the riffs were pretty much straight out of Mitch Ryder/James Brown territory.”
This compilation CD, by the way, is a good one if you are into ’80s Christmas music. This by far is the oldest cut. Among the other performers: Elton John, the Moody Blues, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, the Waitresses, Billy Squier, the Kinks and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
The third one sounds like the Chantays, but really is …
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Los Straitjackets, from “‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets!” 2002.
They sound like they’re out of California, and they wear wrestling masks from Mexico, but this surf-rock instrumental quartet hails from Nashville. They’ve played in my town several times, but I must confess I’ve never seen them. They’ll be here again on New Year’s Eve. I may have to go see them … unless I’m setting off fireworks at midnight for our 12-year-old.
Enjoy. More to come. What, no requests?