Dumm da dumm dummmm!
The story you are about to read is true. The names haven't been changed to protect their innocence.
This homage to Jack Webb's "Dragnet" is because Jonathan Melton (RadioJonD is you're scoring at home) and I have a small passion for anything Jack Webb Christmas related.
It was this passion that led to a swap of Christmas comps and being reviewed during my one week look at comps last year.
Last year's "Melton Mistletoe Mix 2005" was a complete and total surprise. RadioJonD and his family chose some of the best and worst Christmas songs and even snuck in some MAJOR surprises! Click on the link above to read all about it.
I've asked Jon 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?
After thinking about it for a couple of years, the first comp came out in 2003.
2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.
All through the year, I shop pawn shops, thrift stores, flea markets, and yard/tag sales looking for CDs, including Christmas music. As I get them, I'll "sample" the music to see what I might want to use on the comp. By mid Summer, I'll have tunes chosen from my old and "new" CDs and from what I have found on websites such as FaLaLaLaLa.com. My family will usually have a few tunes to add as well.
At various family get togethers during the year, I'll record family members with their Christmas greetings and/or song intros. Around Labor Day, my brother will come over to engineer my "DJ" recording session. Here's a little secret. The tunes are already chosen and in running order. I don't play them as we record. All the set breaks and comments are recorded and edited into the mix. In the weeks following, the editing will be complete to have the CDs finished by Thanksgiving (hopefully).
Also, by the time the editing is done, a CD design will have been chosen. My brother takes care of printing the CDs. Depending on work schedules and when we can get together (we live about an hour apart), the CDs are burned either before or after they are printed. The liner notes and track list insert is simply created in Microsoft Publisher.
By Thanksgiving, the CDs are ready to give out or go into the mail! Ha! I wish it worked that way some years!
3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?
The first run in 2003 was about twenty-five CDs. They were given to family, friends, and co-workers. Each year, the list of recipients grows. Now the comps go out to folks I only know online! The 2006 comp had a run of about forty-five. I have set the cap at fifty printed CDs due to the expense. I'll still run more if needed, but they will be on non-printed CDs.
4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?
To pin down a reason I like Christmas music is kinda tough! No other holiday has inspired such a plethora of musical offerings as Christmas from all genres. That's the attraction for me, I think. There is just so much of it and from every source imaginable. I've always enjoyed Christmas and I enjoy a wide range of music. To be able to combine the two is almost an obsession!
5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?
Most folks comment on the diverse Christmas offerings on the CD. I'll get comments like, "Leave it to you to come up with something I've never heard." For me, that's the whole point of the compilation!
6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?
My brother and I have a small recording service. About two or three times a year we pack up all our equipment and head out to record groups that otherwise can't afford studio time. The vast majority we record sing gospel. Consequently, our "field studio" is usually a church. My brother is the brains of the outfit. I'm the roadie and log / note keeper.
By mid Summer, I hope to have a regular web show on Coolarity Radio. The tentative name for the show is "Pawn Shop Radio". You can guess why. Listen out for it on www.thayrone.com. I will offer one new show per month for the webmaster to rotate with his show called "The Bone Conduction Music Show."
7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?
CaptainOT and most of the folks reading this are light years ahead of me in Christmas compilations. Their music collection dwarfs mine. Their expertise and knowledge makes mine pale by comparison. I am glad to learn from the masters! Thanks for letting the little fish swim in the big pond!
TRACK REVIEWS (Click on image above to enlarge):
1.) The unmistakable Alabama twang of RadioJonD informs us we'll be listening to one of his Coolarity Radio shows in addition to his usual Mistletoe Mix!
2.) An above average version of this song! Need to find out more about Mark Baldwin.
3.) RadioJonD's first radio break. I like his breaks - often finds out about the artists!
4.) What better person to describe the birth of Christ in an uptempo gospel / southern rock song than Charlie Daniels?
5.) A great tune with a beat off a Pier One comp! Love the Sinatra references "on the stereo"!
6.) These guys cover Jimmy Donley's great country song quite well. Would love to hear this song (by any artist) more at Christmas!
7.) The second radio break. Found out about the Pier One comp from this!
8.) This was on last year's mix. I still love this song; any song that starts off with a Peter Gunn intro is okay in my book!
9.) Another track from last year's mix. Seems Mr. Claus likes the OTHER pause that refreshes!
10.) Bruce Cockburn is an acquired taste. I happen to like his Christmas album and this song from whence it came!
11.) OH YEAHHH! I have a jones for old school country and this hits the spot! Good ol' Del!
12.) The third radio break with a FLLLL plug!
13.) I just melted... Julie London has that effect on me! Lovely, lovely song!
14.) If you like Ray Anthony and this song (my hand's raised), try to find his "Dream Dancing Christmas" CD.
15.) A great tune off the legendary 1984 "Midnight Christmas Mess" album.
16.) I'm not a big fan of this song but this mellow rendition is quite nice to listen to.
17.) The fourth radio break with yet another FLLLL plug!
18.) Outstanding version! Has elements of rock, Mexican, and Christmas! Arriba!
19.) Jingle jangle! It's been ages since I've heard this one - used to use it quite a bit on my annual Christmas comps in the early days!
20.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! The legendary Screamin' Jay Hawkins doing a Christmas song in his special way! Off the aforementioned "Midnight Christmas Mess" album!
21.) A twangy country version of "Silver Bells" by R.E.M.? Mercy sakes, this is funny and good all at once!
22.) The final Coolarity Radio break. I damn near died when I heard Jon say "Good Lord!"
23.) WOW! Forgot about this one! Fantastic song off an even better Christmas album!
24.) "Now if I quit talking, we could squeeze in another set... just for you!" Thanks Jon!
25.) A lilting, beautiful Celtic track from Connie Dover. Very nice find!
26.) More great stuff from Messr. Cockburn. This might be my favorite of his album!
27.) Nice spiritual from Harry Connick Jr. and his band. Off his first slightly better Christmas album!
28.) The last radio break. Thanks for the guided tour Jon.
29.) What the... A rescued Christmas record courtesy of RadioJonD! Nice way to end the disc!
Jon, you've been a busy boy this year! I congratulate you on the success of your Coolarity Radio gigs!
More importantly, you've produced yet another great Christmas comp! You keep mixing it up nicely, touch all bases with the music, and it's a LOT of fun to listen to!
Even Sgt. Joe Friday would be cracking a smile with this CD!
UP NEXT: Supersonic Santa: Christmas With Mike 2006