Monday, February 05, 2007
This yuleblog entry begins a two month odyssey that will have me post 69 reviews of Christmas compilations sent to me at the P.O. Box or found online.
It's fitting that the first comp to be reviewed is from the same person responsible for the first comp that I reviewed last February. That person is my very good friend Jeff Fox of Jeffco Productions.
(Click on the link above to read last year's review and some great background information about the amazing output Jeff has produced over the years.)
For more background info, I've asked Jeff a set of questions that I will be asking everyone whose comp will be reviewed here.
1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?
The earliest I remember was 1991, the official "Christmas Wishes" which lasted for 10 years started in 1992, Christmas Turkeys, the more famous (less tune-worthy) off-shoot started in 1997. It's moved through cassettes to CDs to interactive CDs to Podcasts to DVDs in the meantime...
2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.
My signature test was always listening to each song three times in a row, and if I could get through it without ever wanting to skip/fast-forward, then it made it into the list of possible contenders. Then it's listen, listen, listen, and as long as they still sound fresh or funny or appropriate, then they get to stay on the list.
Sometimes I'd start with something I wanted to accomplish, a motif or a feeling and work towards finding that with the songs I chose. Sometimes I just found a few songs and found things that 'fit' with them, building, adding and changing until I was happy with what it became.
Technically, in the early days of making them it was strictly tape to tape, then they were mastered on CD and saved to cassette, then CD to CD, nowadays everything is digital, usually start to finish, with a lot of editing and tweaking along the way.
I see the compilation as a whole new item so I don't mind editing or compromising bits of songs or even in rare cases changing tempo or speed of songs if it fits the need of the compilation. That's mostly for the turkeys though. I tend to keep the "serious" albums about the songs, not the compilation.
As for packaging and delivery, it usually a different process every time. I like to use the Christmas albums as excuse to try out new methods and processes of delivery. I could probably give a month long course on all the methods used on booklets, DVDs, podcasts, etc.
Templates for a number of the files used are available on [Jeffco's] site.
3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?
I started small with 8 close friends, mostly school friends, word grew and so did the numbers. At its peak, a combined 119 copies of Christmas Wishes and Turkeys went out, but numbers of tangible CDs have dropped to about 30, while the online version generated huge hits. At its height, it was pulling 4 Gb a day of mostly Christmas Turkeys. Whenever they go online I've had to stagger them so they don't overwhelm the server. Planning is going into future Christmases to make sure I can keep sharing!
4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?
Hard to say, I like the music, the festive and reflective nature of many of the songs. I also like the experimental idea of having to come up with many worthwhile compilations using a relatively limited number of songs. I love what people come up with to reinvent music we've heard all of our lives.
5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?
Surprisingly little actually. I think it's such a part of the social culture in my group of friends that it's expected and if I were to stop I'd hear an awful lot more then. I know there's always buzz leading up to them though. I do get an awful lot of thank you mail for the albums I have for download on my site, but very little comparatively for the compilations.
6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?
Lots and lots of projects. Graphic Designer, Artist and Trainer by profession and I get to play with all kinds of projects. Christmas is probably tied with the Jeffco Invitational Giveaway as the largest ongoing project I work on but there are many other projects always being tried and added to my list of to-dos. There are always too many projects on the to-do list...
7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?
I hope you enjoy some of what I've put together, and that you come back and see what other goodies are on the site.
1.) Nothing like making a statement to open a CD... this one clubs you on the head!
2.) IT BURNSSSSS! God, that's bad. I mean B-A-D!
3.) Sufjan's Christmas music has been making inroads for some time. Justly deserved!
4.) I gave this to Jeff. I'm so, so sorry. Shakin' my head here... in laughter!
5.) woof woof woof... woof woof woof... PURE GENIUS!
6.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS! What the hell is this?
7.) Wow... a nice follow up to Ivan... on Pancho, on Pedro, on Cuchi Cuchi!
8.) The equivalent of a ice water bucket thrown on me... sheesh!
9.) Ranks right up there with Florence Foster Jenkins, Mrs. Miller, and Sally Kellerman!
10.) Rubbing my eyes... is this a dream?
11.) It seems like every comp used this song. I'm going to end up hating this song, I know it.
12.) GOOD STUFF! I gotta pull this CD out again...
13.) From their infamous EP they disowned. Probably some of their best stuff!
14.) "Well have a very merry m-----f-----' Christmas..." WHOAAAA!
15.) A great mix of TV Christmas sound clips put together by Jeff. BRAVO!
16.) This one's not too obnoxious! Very un-RuPaul (Jeff's probably used the entire RuPaul Christmas CD by now!)
17.) Nothing like Christmas disco to make you drink more...
18.) Great "Family Guy" lead in - I just don't get when people mix Halloween-type subjects and Christmas.
19.) This is a great tune! What other song calls Santa immoral?
20.) I've seen and heard this song too much over the last several years. It needs to go away for about five years and it will be funny again!
21.) Need I say more? This is funny, funny, funny! As funny as Heather Noel was two or three years ago!
22.) This one might just find a place on my Christmas CD. Outstanding track!
23.) Playing at a theater near you? I'll wait for the book...
24.) One of the highlights(?) from "The Osbournes Family Christmas Special" (not on DVD yet... grrr).
25.) SMOOTH! I listened to their "Ding Dong Dandy Christmas" album quite a bit last year!
26.) Put the kazoos down and walk away peacably! O man, why o why!
27.) You take the good, you take the bad... and this is BADDD!
I've been listening to Jeff's Christmas Turkeys for several years. This is his best version of the Turkeys yet. Congratulations Jeff! And how does Jeff accept his victory? By totally revamping parts of his amazing website.
His Christmas music section is easier to thumb through his entire collection of Christmas albums he's collected. And the piece de resistance:
Christmas Turkeys 10 is back online for you to download and listen for yourself!
Brace yourself Jeff... the traffic is coming your way!
UP NEXT: FaLaLaLaLa's ADVENTure In Carols 2006