Monthly Archives: December 2011

12 days mashed into one

While you wait for more of the Christmas music you’ve become accustomed to seeing here, we did want to mention …

All of the tunes posted during our 12 Days of Christmas series last year are still up. Here’s a brief guide to those posts. Please go explore them and grab the tunes if you haven’t already done so.

Day 1: Vintage ’60s and ’70s Motown Christmas soul with the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and the Temptations.

Day 2: The Brian Setzer Orchestra is the best Christmas show to see live.

Day 3: Vintage ’60s Christmas jazz from the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

Day 4: Christmas from New Orleans with Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Irma Thomas and Luther Kent.

Day 5: Vintage ’60s Christmas pop from Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme and Trio Los Panchos.

Day 6: Vintage ’50s and ’60s Christmas soul and R&B from Charles Brown.

Day 7: Variations on “The Little Drummer Boy” from Alexander O’Neal, Brave Combo, Dandy Warhols, Lenox Avenue and the Salsoul Orchestra.

Day 8: The acoustic guitar Christmas as only John Fahey could do it.

Day 9: A Christmas playlist from NPR stations featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama, Brave Combo, Clarence Carter, Darlene Love, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, James Brown, Jimmy Smith, Leon Redbone, Louis Armstrong, the Vince Guaraldi Trio and the Waitresses.

Day 10: Christmas music we bought but hadn’t shared. With songs from Ann and Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, the Blue Hawaiians, Darlene Love, Deana Carter, Fats Domino, Lou Rawls, Melissa Etheridge, the Mighty Blue Kings, Pete Jolly, Reverend Horton Heat, Roomful of Blues, Shawn Colvin and the Whispers.

Day 11: An ’80s video Christmas with Band Aid, Billy Squier, Dave Edmunds, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Grace Jones, the Pretenders and Run-D.M.C.

Day 12: It just isn’t Christmas without Bob and Doug McKenzie, Cheech and Chong, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Johnny Mathis, Robert Greenidge, the Royal Guardsmen, the Salsoul Orchestra, Steve Goodman, Timbuk 3 and some of our friends.

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Filed under December 2011, Sounds

Testifyin’ before Christmas

It’s a little surprising — and then again perhaps not — that no one has asked about the Christmas music usually found here at this time of year.

Though there are many Christmas tunes in our collection, it’s been tough to muster the usual enthusiasm for them.

The Christmas spirit usually found here is, for some reason, harder to come by this year. Our corner of Wisconsin is, so far, anything but a winter wonderland. Today was dreary, damp and foggy.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do here for the Christmas season. But let’s turn on the holiday blog design and see where we wind up.

I picked up this record earlier this year for many reasons, but the star on the tree — as it were — was that it was original vinyl of one of my favorite Christmas tunes. I know you dig it, too.

“Back Door Santa,” Clarence Carter, from “Testifyin’,” 1969. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

This is one of the naughtiest Christmas songs ever laid to vinyl. However, this version has more a laid-back drum intro than the rat-a-tat jump start sampled by Run-D.M.C. on “Christmas In Hollis.”

This version also is ever so slightly different than the cut I have from Atlantic’s great “Soul Christmas” compilation, which originally came out on vinyl in 1968 and was reissued on CD in 1991. (Man, 20 years ago already?)

If you have requests for Christmas tunes, put them in the comments.

We’ll do our best.


Filed under December 2011, Sounds

Not quite a Grand evening

It’s quarter to 8 on this clear, cold Wisconsin night. We’re supposed to be sitting in the first row of the right balcony at the Grand Theater in Wausau, listening to Glen Campbell.

But he begged off earlier today, reportedly having caught the laryngitis that’s been going around the singers and musicians with whom he travels. He played a couple of weekend shows in Branson, Missouri, then postponed Monday night’s show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, also citing laryngitis.

So it goes.

The only problem is that our show has been rescheduled for Jan. 22. That’s a date I must keep open for work. It’s entirely possible that the Green Bay Packers will be hosting the NFC championship game across town on that Sunday. If so, I’ll be at work and not at the Grand, listening to Glen Campbell.

In 30-some years of going to gigs, I believe this is only the second time that I’ve been all but ready to head out to a show, only to have it postponed.

Ten years ago, I’d driven about 30 miles of a 150-mile trip to Madison when I heard on the radio that the AC/DC show to which I was headed had been postponed. Those were the days before Twitter and texting, of course.

That AC/DC show was made up 10 days later, on a day that worked better for me than the original date.

No such luck with Glen Campbell. Guess we’ll just listen to this Paul Westerberg song we might have heard him sing tonight.

“Ghost On The Canvas,” Glen Campbell, from “Ghost On The Canvas,” 2011.


Filed under December 2011, Sounds