Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Check The Cool Wax V2: Christmas Wax

Throughout the 2006 Christmas downloading season, a great number of sites and blogs went above and beyond the call of duty with Christmas shares.

Brainwerk's always hip and always fun blog entitled "Check The Cool Wax" contributed mightily to the festivities last year with a boatload of Christmas mirth.

Throughout the other eleven months of the year, Brainwerk posts some of the most incredulous vinyl finds on the planet.

For example, his latest post is a super ultra rare Bob Crane / "Hogan's Heroes" album that has Klink and Schultz hovering over Hogan behind a drum kit in Stalag 13!

(Bet I just lost about 1/4 of my readers... DIS missed!)

Back to last December. Brainwerk included among his Christmas shares the Mistletoe Disco Band's "Yuletide Disco", "Christmas With Melis" (Jose Melis), and an assortment of select MP3s and amazing artwork. Calm yourself - most of those links are down.

Two days before Christmas last year, he posted his Christmas gift to the world - a fabulous looking Christmas comp with 34 great tunes (79:55 - the maximum allowed on a burnable CD-R! Hot dog!). And yes, this comp is STILL available to download at his blog.

FYI, "Check The Cool Wax V1" is NOT Christmas related. It does have some wacky and wicked songs and it's still available to download!

While you're downloading all those glorious goodies, here are the standard set of questions I will be asking everyone who has a comp reviewed here:

1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?

My first ones were on cassette tapes, but last Christmas was my tenth year making them on CDs.

2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.

I make five to ten compilations a year for friends and family. One half have themes like Vintage Vegas, Classic Country, Birth Announcements, Halloween, Christmas, etc. The other half is new music, mostly punk, alternative and indie. The comps start out as ideas. I have a notepad next to my computer at work and I make lots of lists. When I hear a song that would fit in a particular category, I write it down. That way I have a good start when I get around to actually starting.

I'm a graphic designer so all my comps get artwork and labels. The Christmas comp that was posted at CheckTheCoolWax was a little unique for me. It wasn't necessarily my favorite songs or anything like that. There are tons of better Christmas songs out there. My goal was to make a fun mix with songs you may not have heard in a long time, or at all. I'm pretty happy with it. There are a few songs in there with lots of pops. It would have been nice to have cleaner records for them.

3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?

Friends and family. I usually make about 20. This comp however was only available on the site.

4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?

It just makes me feel good. It congers up great memories of childhood when Christmas was just magical. Christmas was just such a big deal. Circling things you wanted in the various Christmas catalogs... The way the lights reflected off the tinsel on the tree... All of the family being home together...

And, of course, getting a toy you have been waiting five months for. We always had Christmas music on. I now have two kids with the oldest being 2 1/2 years. It is great seeing him get into it now and the music is now playing for them.

5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?

It was pretty good. Unfortunately, I didn't get it up until Dec. 23. I was also having mucho server troubles about that time. People were having trouble downloading. By the time I had everything hammered out, it was Christmas day and I think most people had already finished most of their Christmas music downloading. I'll have it up all next season so people can enjoy it earlier.

6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?

3 blogs - CheckTheCoolWax, BrainVsZed and a private family one. I also work on some consumer electronic websites for work.

7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?

Thanks for stopping by my site. I have fun doing it. I only know a few people who like odd-ball music like this so it's great to get feedback from people all over the world. I know I'm not alone in my obsessions.


TRACK REVIEWS:

(Click on image to enlarge)


1.) You gotta like a theme song by the Beastie Boys...
2.) From the famous "Santa's Own Christmas" album. More on this one later.
3.) Holi-Dee! If you haven't heard Lenny Dee's outstanding Christmas album, you're doing yourself an injustice!
4.) "A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas" is an Internet favorite... rescued from obscurity (thank goodness) thanks to the sharing community!
5.) WOW! The "Viva Las Vegas" guitars drive this one and Al Hirt's gravelly voice and amazing trumpet is the icing on the cake!
6.) Gol-lee! I've only heard this song by Sammy Davis Jr. - hearing Nabors' big bravado voice throws me for a giddy loop.
7.) Liberace reciting "Twas The Night Before Christmas" in his soft bleating voice... Campy fun!
8.) Christmas disco was all over the place this year! This was from one of Brainwerk's shares in November!
9.) MMmmm! This is pure 1960s knock down, koo-koo, groovy Christmas music! My uncle's favorite girl group!
10.) Second time in two weeks that I've heard this one. Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 never recorded a Christmas album? What a shame!
11.) Breathy song from Claudine. Not really a Christmas song... but are you going to argue with Longet? Ask Spider Sabich!
12.) The Border Brass once again! Brainwerk offered this one but the link is down. Did you try Jeffco Productions out?
13.) Another track from "Santa's Own Christmas". Santa talking about God? Can you imagine a record label trying to re-release this?
14.) The great Hank Snow doing his "Reindeer Boogie"! This album is available on CD... it's a fantastic album throughout!
15.) Buck-a-roo! Buck and Susan make magic together! Grabbed from their 1971 "Merry Christmas From" album!
16.) The Louvin Brothers were before the Everlys and were pure country! Pick up their Christmas CD while you still can!
17.) Fourth country Christmas single in a row! Grabbing my 10-gallon hat! A rare Faron Young Christmas single! WAHOO!
18.) I haven't heard this ole Tex Ritter song in ages! Very nice! Hard to believe Tex was the father of Jack Tripper!
19.) Hank Thompson's twangy version of "White Christmas". Six consecutive country songs - all old school country! To quote Wavy Gravy at Woodstock - "This must be heaven, man!"
20.) Another great Buck Owens & Susan Raye duet. I missed this the first time Ernie posted it at his blog in 2005. Expect a yuleblog review of this one soon!
21.) Charley Pride was not just the first (and sadly only) black country superstar, he was and is a damn good singer! This is a great tune! Thanks for this one Brainwerk!
22.) A big, BIG song from Tiny! You can find the album at Ernie (not Bert)'s blog and then read my yuleblog review!
23.) My grandmother would play mainly Fred Waring's Christmas album around the holidays. This one brought back some frightening memories for me!
24.) Line Material used to issue these promos yearly... Brainwerk offered this one last year, Lee Hartsfield had a bunch at his blog, and I had this Canadian version last year.
25.) Okay... I used to dismiss the Caroleers because it was a kiddie album... this is the third song I've heard from them and my mind is definitely turned!
26.) WOW! Nice to hear Les Baxter's "Santa Claus Party" stand alone! I've heard bad edits from the "Christmas Cocktails II" version!
27.) This is a fun, fabulous track off a wonderful and sentimental Christmas album courtesy of Captain Kangaroo!
28.) Sung to the tune of "Mister Sandman" - both songs written by the same composer! Who knew Lenny could sing?
29.) Another Christmas song from the Caroleers. Pulling this one out to listen to...
30.) "Twas The Night Before Christmas" was one of many Rankin-Bass Christmas specials (and one of my faves). Click the link to read the premise - this is the song the clock rings out!
31.) I was ready to get this Hanna-Barbera album on eBay but when I learned NONE of their characters appeared on it, I passed. Brainwerk posted this one - saving me $30! Thank you!
32.) A Korean child (???) singing "Silent Night" in Korean (obviously). Quite strange and reverent all at once.
33.) The reprise off the "Santa's Own Christmas" album. More on this album below.
34.) Recorded in 1967 for his daughter Jennifer, this Cary Grant hearttugger was written by Peggy Lee! In Marc Eliot's biography (pg. 355), Columbia Records wanted a FULL Christmas album from Cary & Peggy but thanks to his recent marital separation and pending divorce from Dyan Cannon, Cary lost interest and it was shelved.


What a trip! This comp was all over the map - lounge, Christmas disco, 60s Christmas kitsch, old school country, kiddie music, celebs singing, and some foreign music thrown in for good measure! Most importantly, this was a "best of" comp from all the music Brainwerk had offered during the 2006 downloading season.

The 2006 downloading season saw the best and worst of Christmas music. Sometimes its behavior as well.

Last year, I had found a copy of the "Santa's Own Christmas" album and was ready to offer it here at the yuleblog. Brainwerk then posted his version and I quickly countered with mine (leaving it up for a brief time). Chalk it up to resentment and eagerness - last year was my first year offering Christmas shares.

I publicly apologize to Brainwerk and anyone else whose toes I might have stepped on as a result of my decision. I learned quite a bit about myself during the downloading season. Knowing what I know now, I would have done it differently. I never mentioned it until now (another reason I'm kicking myself in the pants) and hope you'll accept this heartfelt "sorry".


Something else I've been saving for you Brain. I was set to issue a Christmas comp with full length songs from other CDs I had posted throughout the year. The lineup was full of songs from CDs I had reviewed over the past year - Jo Stafford, Brian Setzer, The 4 Seasons, Ann-Margret, Regis Philbin, etc. - and readily available elsewhere.

However, when I downloaded your Christmas comp two days before Christmas (and less than 24 hours before I was ready to post mine), I noticed your lineup of stuff that came from your shares. I quickly dumped my lineup and gathered a whole new selection from my shares - and that's how my Christmas comp ended up the way it did.

Thanks for the influence Brain and your colossal Christmas comp!


UP NEXT: Katya's Office Holiday Party 2005


Capt

1 comment:

brainwerk said...

Hey Captain - Thanks for the review. Like Chris at Ultra Swank, I've never had a CD comp reviewed before. I feel legitimized!

I'd also like to say that there is no apology needed about Santa's Own Christmas. The way I see it, it's better for the sharity community to have these awesome albums available at different locations. You may have a better copy of that (or a different album) than I have. I look at our blogs as places to post music we love. These are our collections and we like to share them. I think some overlaps are just going to happen. I was fortunate to have the birth of my daughter just before the Christmas season so I had no time to cruise other blogs to see what they had posted. I really hope I didn't step on any toes either...

Keep up the good work. Your hours and hours dedication, and vast musical knowledge are greatly appreciated. If I need a Christmas fix anytime during the year, I can just swing by here.

- Brainwerk