A smaller Christmas, Day 18

Those who have stopped here over the past six Christmas seasons know that we try to stay away from novelty tunes.

(I realize “Snoopy’s Christmas” may come close. Too bad.)

But a friend has shared something that’s just too much fun to resist.

Scott was a couple of years ahead of me in high school. We didn’t run in the same circles, though we knew many of the same people. I have a hunch he had more adventures than I did. He’s had a long, successful career in broadcasting, though he likely would characterize it as a long, strange trip.

Anyhow, today on Facebook, he wrote:

“From the archives. It was 20 years ago this holiday season that this little ditty aired on WSCX-FM Detroit.”

“Polish Night Before Christmas,” Scott Chapin, 1992.

The other day, I wrote of the Packers-Bears football rivalry and how it’s deeply rooted in Wisconsin culture. Well, Scott and I grew up in central Wisconsin in the ’70s, and Polish culture is deeply rooted in us, too. We grew up with lots of Polacks, and they would be the first to call themselves that. A big part of being Polish (or appreciating Polish culture) is having a gentle, self-deprecating sense of humor (and a thirst for beer).

That, and digging polka music, which Scott does here. Here’s the story behind that little ditty from the self-proclaimed “Poseur of Polka.”

“In the early ’90s, I was doing the morning show on the classic rock station in Detroit. (WCSX-FM, Chapin and McBean.) I did a lot of characters, and one was Stosh Ponatoski. I drew a lot of Stosh from growing up around Wausau (Hatley, Bevent, Ringle, etc.). Detroit also has a large Polish population in Hamtramck. … It was just basically a rewrite of ‘The Night before Christmas’ from Stosh’s perspective.”

They played it on the “Friday Morning Polka Party” on Scott’s show.

“I’d take a well-known song and record it polka style. … This was when people were starting to use sampling, and I kind of sampled my own polka band and played all the music on the stuff as well. Great memories.”

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

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