As I wrote last night’s post, I heard Christmas carols coming from the living room. In the distinctive, occasionally off-key voice of our 12-year-old son.
“Dad, come out here and see!”
So I walk out to the living room to see Evan has discovered a karaoke channel on the digital cable system. Apparently one of several karaoke channels available to us — who knew? — it’s a holiday karaoke channel.
Evan is working his way through “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but he says there’s one big difference.
“It’s not the one by those two goofy guys.”
There you have it. The inspiration for tonight’s three under the tree. I’m not much for Christmas novelty tunes. This is as close as we get.
“Twelve Days of Christmas,” Bob and Doug McKenzie, from “Great White North,” 1981.
I had this album during the ’80s, played it only at Christmas time, sold it at a moving sale, then bought another copy in the early ’90s. This is a pretty clever spoof of the traditional Christmas song. Yet other than “Take Off,” the tune Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug (Dave Thomas) did with Rush’s Geddy Lee, I couldn’t tell you what else is on this album.
Bob and Doug McKenzie were sketch characters on “SCTV,” a show that was sort of Canada’s version of “Saturday Night Live.” It was syndicated in the States, often airing late at night on weekends, sometimes right after “SNL.” Bob and Doug McKenzie were a lot like guys we knew in Wisconsin, pounding beer and acting dopey, thus the appeal.
“Santa Claus and His Old Lady,” Cheech and Chong, from Ode single 66021, released December 1971.
The premise, if you’ve not heard this: One stoner tries to explain Santa Claus to another stoner. Santa used to live in the projects, then started a commune, then got busted at the border, but is not a musician. Sorry. You really had to be there. Being under the influence helps.
A gem of truth tucked inside this bit: “We could sure use a dude like that right now.”
This bit never appeared on any of their albums. It’s available on CD on “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Cheech and Chong,” a 2002 compilation of their best stuff. (The flip side to the single was “Dave,” another stoner classic.)
“Good King Wenceslas,” Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors, from “Horny Holidays,” 1992.
Certainly the rowdiest Christmas album I have. The liner notes insist it was “recorded at 3 Alarm Studio, Memphis, TN, December ’91, top to bottom in four days and 27 bottles of peppermint schnapps on the floor.”
I don’t doubt it. You won’t, either, especially after you hear Mojo and the lads get started on this traditional Christmas song, struggle to remember the lyrics, throw in the towel, sing “la la las” instead and rev up the pace before collapsing in a heap. What you’ve always wanted to do, right?
This album also features “Mr. Grinch,” perhaps the perfect holiday tune for Mojo, and a version of “Jingle Bells” that, again, is the one you’ve always wanted to do — “Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg.” You get the picture.
Most of it is enjoyable except for the last cut — a profane take on “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” that’s in staggeringly, outrageously bad taste. Really not in the Christmas spirit.
That said, enjoy. More tunes to come.