Christmas lurks out there, scarcely 10 days away now.
Everyone’s busy, no time to read, no time to write.
This is going to be it for Three Under the Tree. I get the feeling this series has run its course, anyway. I have something in mind for next year, something a little different.
So as we go out, three more good ones:
“All I Want for Christmas,” Timbuk 3, 1987, from “A Different Kind of Christmas,” 1994. It’s out of print.
Gotta support your local musicians. Pat MacDonald, born right here in Green Bay and kicked out of West High School in the late ’60s over his long hair (and that’s only part of a great story), was half of Timbuk 3 with his ex-wife Barbara K. He’s living in our corner of Wisconsin these days, doing a variety of gigs and billing himself as pat mAcdonald.
“Winter Wonderland,” Steve Goodman, from “Artistic Hair,” 1983.
Recorded live, but not otherwise a Christmas record. On which Steve struggles to remember the lyrics but comes close enough, and in so doing comes up with a delightful acoustic version. I bought this record at a Steve Goodman show in 1983. He autographed it for me: “Joe, Hello”
“Merry Christmas Baby,” Chuck Berry, 1958, from “Chuck Berry’s Golden Decade, Vol. 2,” 1973. The LP is out of print, but this tune — and a shorter alternate take — are available on “Johnny B. Goode: His Complete ’50s Chess Recordings,” a 2008 compilation, and digitally.
On which Chuck demonstrates how well he does those quiet, slow blues. Listen for a snippet of “White Christmas” at about 1:40. Mostly, though, it’s just Chuck’s voice backed by Johnnie Johnson’s piano. The rest of the group is Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums.
And to think I got to see Chuck Berry this year. Christmas came early.