Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Andy Cirzan's Off In The Christmas Cosmos Vol XVII 2005

This is the fourth of six different Christmas comps that I'm reviewing this week. These comps were either sent to me by other Christmas collectors / enthusiasts or download available comps that were created by Christmas collectors / enthusiasts.

As a Christmas collector, one of the greatest things to ever happen to me was when FaLaLaLaLa.com opened its doors for business back in the fall of 2004.

Another one of the greatest things to ever happen to me was when someone brought to everyone's attention at FaLaLaLaLa.com the name of Andy Cirzan.

By day, Andy Cirzan is a mild-mannered vice-president working for a great metropolitan concert promoter. By night, he becomes DJ Lo-Fi - a Christmas music collector extraordinaire; spinning incredible Christmas records he found using his Vinyl-Vision all over the world.

For the past seventeen years, Cirzan has been issuing his own homemade compilations - 100% all-vinyl - no fillers! In an interview he conducted last year, Andy states:

"I have very specific guidelines for what constitutes the right kind of song. I definitely do not consider this stuff to be novelty. If I think someone is trying to be intentionally cute, 99 times out of 100, I pass on it unless it is disturbingly so. I'm not into the Dr. Demento school/Holiday Music for Dummies or the Chipmunks, way too cheesy. Songs get added to the CD because they speak to me in some way."

On average, Andy sends out over 450 Christmas CDs a year and even posts it online (for a brief time) at the website of Sound Opinions, a radio talk show on Chicago Public Radio.

Since there is only two tracks, here is a song by song review:

TRACK 1 -

1A.) Fidelia B. Carghill, the Christmas Lady
Ms. Carghill discusses the Pagan tradition of yuletide... and...uh...a great slaughtering of horses... and...

1B.) Bonnie Lou - Christmas Is Gettin' Mighty Close
Sounds like Rosemary Clooney... "Is the air getting nippy? Is your heart feeling flippy?" Talk about close!

1C.) Don Cornell - Dingle Ling, Dingle Ling
This is a great tune! Not a bad cover - this song was first recorded by Liza Minnelli from the 1965 TV special "The Dangerous Christmas Of Red Riding Hood"!

1D.) Jody Daniels - Peppermint Stick
Possibly the only Christmas song devoted to peppermint candy... A fun bizarre tune!

1E.) Sylvia Reid - Christmas Rock N Roll
A bouncy song with uncredited backing vocals from a David Seville-less Chipmunks!

1F.) Frank Cosmo - Merry Christmas
A sweet little number... although at times it sounds like Frank's blending into the background... Belt Frank, BELT!

1G.) Bobbie Boyle (with The Singers) - Santa Claus Goes Modern
Another classic song-poem... Can you imagine what that outfit would sound like today?

1H.) ... and sometimes it snows...
A cool kiddie clip then a FANTASTIC piano/organ instrumental... anyone know the artist or title?

1I.) Miles Davis (with Bob Donough & Wayne Shorter) - Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)
A song that deserves more Christmas radio airplay and exposure! Not only a great Christmas tune, but a outstanding jazz tune as well!

1J.) Jimmy Jones & The Versatiles - Christmas Is A Drag
What a great song! Reminds me of "Laugh Laugh" by the Beau Brummels...

1K.) Anita Kerr Singers - Hurry Home For Christmas
That does it... I'm going to this site and buy both Anita Kerr Christmas CDs... So smooth and classy!

1L.) Unknown - It's Christmas Time
This delightful tune was rescued from obscurity by Andy Cirzan... do you accept rescue donations?

1M.) Susan Lynn - Christmas Angel
Uh oh... a cutesy wutesy kiddie Christmas song! Must... skip... ahead...


TRACK 2 -

2A.) Christmas Message From Space...
A yuletide request that wants Santa to go into orbit... if that wasn't far out enough, a great Moog clip of "Jingle Bells" is tacked on!

2B.) New York Percussion Trio - Sleigh Ride
Would love to hear a FULL album from these guys... a wonderful arrangement of a classic!

2C.) The Paul Bley Trio - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
A great jazz trio version of this song... Checking Google to see if they released a Christmas album!

2D.) ...Santa's coming... we should be asleep...
A quick clip that still haunts me for some reason... Andy, where in heaven's name did this come from?

2E.) Swingin' Sammy Marshall - Jingle Mint Twist
WOW! A song-poem that didn't make it onto the American Song-Poem Christmas CD!

2F.) The Sisterhood - Ole Year Christmas
From the same song-poem people who brought you Rockin' Disco Santa Claus (see link above)!

2G.) The Free Design - Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)
Gets my vote for "FUNNIEST SONG TITLE" of this CD! You can't get more 1970s than this!

2H.) Lord Beginner - Christmas Morning The Rum Had Me Yawning
What an incredible vintage tune! If you want to here more like this, click here!

2I.) ...a Christmas session with Lutz Dietzmeyer...
I have no clue who this is... but why do I want to say it's Dick Smothers?

2J.) Linda Lawrence - Have A Happy Ho Ho Ho
Who forced the kid to sing this cutesy wutesy tune? Can we get them for child endangerment?

2K.) Jimmy McCracklin - Christmas Time Pt. 1
I love this tune... I'm still searching for part 2... Andy, do you take requests?

2L.) Dino Perone - Twinkletoes
"Rudolph and Vixen had a son last New Year's Eve..." WHO KNEW??? Dino tries so hard to sell this song... my sides still ache from laughing so hard!

2M.) Lalo Guerrero - Pancho Claus
I officially declare "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" by Augie Rios the SECOND best Mexican flavored Christmas song of the 1950s. This one wins by a landslide!

2N.) Antiqua BWI Steel Band - Jingle Bells
From note one on the steel drums, this song sweeps you away! Great stuff!

2O.) ...Santa Claus... that's the signal !!!!
We enjoyed Santa's surprise party as much as we enjoyed the hidden Moog clip of "Good King Wenceslas"!


I've listening to this CD about 20 times... I've also listened to Andy's compilations from 2001-2004 many times in the past year since downloading them from FaLaLaLaLa.com. Every track is gold - a rescued relic from the vinyl bins of anonymity.

In my mind, Andy Cirzan is the "King Of Obscure Christmas" and "King Of The Self-Produced Christmas Compilations". One man, two titles. I'm pretty sure Andy's going to keep both titles for a long, long time. I look forward to what Andy will turn up next year... and the next, and the next...

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...


Capt

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi!
i'm curious about who worte the instrumental of "... and sometimes it snows...", too! did somebody tell you?

Anonymous said...

the song is called "snowfall".