I still have a large stack of Christmas CDs next to my computer monitor that I downloaded from my friend Ernie over at his blog. The album you see before you was buried deep inside this stack but I moved it up because of two reasons.
One reason I will reveal later. The other reason is our house stoop and back patio have become new homes for a family of chipmunks. They have dug themselves in quite nicely and we're either going to start charging rent or call a pest control guy to give us a quote.
Do they make chipmunk traps?
Background on this album: In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian was a struggling actor / songwriter /family man who was down to his last $200 - his entire life savings. He spent $190 on a state of the art tape recorder that played and recorded at half speed.
Bagdasarian sat down and wrote a song that utilized a gibberish sound that he recorded: OO EE, OO AH AH, TING-TANG, WAL-LA WAL-LA BING BANG. "Witch Doctor" was released by Liberty Records and quickly went to #1 on the charts, selling over a million copies. Bagdasarian, using the stage name David Seville, never had to worry about his life savings ever again.
Liberty Records quickly asked for a follow-up record - preferrably something for the 1958 Christmas season. Need I say more? "The Chipmunk Song" was a HUGE smash, forever linking Alvin, Simon, and Theodore with the Christmas season. The Chipmunks quickly became a huge franchise for years, spawning other albums (who can't forget "Chipmunk Punk"?) as well as TV shows and movies.
It was shortly after the success of the Chipmunks in the late 1950s that other Chipmunk imitators began popping up, notably the Nutty Squirrels and the Happy Crickets. Enter one Woody The Woodchuck.
This album (released by Premier Albums - 356 W 40th St., N.Y.C.) quickly cranks out 10 Christmas classics timed to the squeaks of some anonymous singers whose voices were sped up. However, they can't match the soul and depth that the Chipmunks bring to their records.
A prime example would be the second song on the album, "The Chipmunk Song". Some nobody simply reads off the lyrics "Alright you Chipmunks..." so listlessly that he almost makes you forget that these are supposed to be WOODCHUCKS! To add insult upon injury, the mystery voice then adds "Are you ready Simon? Are you ready Theodore?" Are you ready Alvin?" - even though on the back cover of this album, the woodchucks assembled to do the singing are named Woody, Milty, and Chuck!
This is about as sad as Christmas albums can come, good readers. Which is probably why, in a perverse way, that I like the album.
Oh yeah... what was Reason #2 that I alluded to?
While searching through some stacks of vinyl at a local thrift store, I was happy to discover a copy of this album with one slight twist. It was the STEREOPHONIC version! Talk about Christmas in June or July!
I wonder if the singing will sound any better if it's in stereo?
On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...