About one month after my one week look of Christmas comps ended in February, I reviewed a Christmas comp from Mike Ung in Kansas City, Missouri.
This well done comp contained several songs I had lost in the Great Spring Hard Drive Crash of 2005 (thank goodness) and a few I had never owned before, including the 1962 classic "Merry Christmas You Suckers" by Paddy Roberts.
This was also the first place I had ever heard about Asche & Spencer's "Merry Christmas Fruitcake" which led to the discovery of their "Spirit of Fruitcake V4" online CD!
Lastly, "Christmas With Mike 2005" was the 650th Christmas CD into my personal collection. Mike came close again this year... this new disc was #798!
I sent Mike a set of questions that I will be asking everyone whose comp will be reviewed here and here are his answers:
1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?
I started in 2001 with a compilation called "Christmas with Mike and Napster". It was my first attempt at a mix CD as I had always done tapes up until then. Not only did I learn a lot about manipulating music with the computer, but I also learned that none of my friends with children would listen to a CD with songs like "Santa's A Fat Bitch" by the Insane Clown Posse on it. All subsequent CDs have been rated "G".
2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.
I save all of the cuts which didn't make it from the year before, mix in some songs off of Christmas CDs I had purchased during the last year and bake on slow for about 300 degrees. I load these onto my iPod in September and weed it down to 30-40. I also start putting little bits of fun audio in between the songs.
When I get a good batch of songs I burn them on a CD in an order which makes sense. I tweak it several times, rearrange the order, burn again, change again, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat and eventually my finished product appears sometime in mid November.
It's a complicated, unorganized and largely pathetic process. Usually I do the artwork while this is going on showcasing my meager PhotoShop skills. I work in an office with a large color plotter so I print 30x42 sheets of my CDs and cut them down to size.
3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?
Friends, family and select co-workers. I give out between 40-60.
4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?
A friend of mine and I have been sending odd compilation tapes since the late 80's. Only in the last 6 years have I concentrated on Christmas music. I like the music, not the fact that it's related to Christmas. If someone taps their toe or laughs because the song is off of the wall, then my goal is complete.
5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?
A great compliment is when I hear of people listening to my CD at the same time each year. Several people listen to it putting up their tree, others listen to it traveling on their way to relatives for Christmas day. The biggest compliment is from people who have never listened to it suddenly (for whatever reason) and then liking it so much, they want back copies.
6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?
I'm currently working on a music version of Paris Hilton's album.
(CAPT'S NOTE: Harsh? Yes. Funny? You bet!)
7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?
Hugs, not drugs.
1.) A message from outer space (?) asking for Santa's protection on Christmas Eve. Taken from an old album.
2.) Esquivel never gets old or outdated. Simply fantastic stuff.
3.) C-3PO and R2-D2 help Meco sing about "Christmas In The Stars". It's funny how George Lucas embraces everything "Star Wars"... with the exception of its Christmas related stuff!
4.) Is this the best track off the famous "A Christmas Gift To You From Phil Spector" album? I think it is.
5.) Leads off the track with a Christmas shoe promo! Too fat, too too too too fat! A fun mambo track.
6.) Hmmm... I wonder where he got this one from? =chuckle=
7.) Another shoe promo... lordy! One of my favorite tracks from the late Godfather of Soul!
8.) Guaranteed to get your toes tapping at Christmas or your money back. Great tune!
9.) An excerpt from a Christmas song I would LOVE to know more about. Tell us, tell us Mike!
10.) Ska and mambo back to back - The Bonnie Sisters are having too much fun on this track!
11.) A brilliant adaptation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" into a Christmas song. Go download this one!
12.) The famous "Star Trek" Christmas sound clip (12/24/2000). Shatner is a plus lecturing you on not drinking and driving!
13.) This is actually "We're A Couple Of Misfits" from the Rudolph TV soundtrack. Mike printed first, then burned.
14.) I turned the page... Ever hear a Christmas song on the musical saw? This is it! Been looking for this one for some time! Thanks Mike!
15.) Rock, rock, rocket ship Santa! Fantastic track that I've been meaning to use forever!
16.) What's with the shoes? Another substitution: this is "The Charlie Brown Christmas Massacre" by DJ John (scroll down) - one of the best Christmas mash-ups out there!
17.) WOW! A reworking of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" off a legendary OOP Christmas album.
18.) I really wished the Ramones had attempted a FULL Christmas album!
19.) The golden sounds of Herman Apple! Rescued from obscurity by the King of Jingaling at FaLaLaLaLa.com!
20.) A fabulous song and also the inspiration to Mike's cover as well.
21.) From the man who gave you the Bakersfield sound in country! Ernie (not Bert) offered this one!
22.) Shoes, shoes, SHOES! I must admit I was never a big fan of this song. But it's growing on me.
23.) Great spiritual from those talented Blind Boys of Alabama!
24.) A medley of celebrity Christmas greetings with the "Jingle Bells Mambo" in the background!
25.) AHA! This is the group Granddaddy with their amazing single "Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland"!
26.) Nice radio promo. I thought I was the only one who owned this single from Shonen Knife! WOW!
27.) Jimmy Dean promo? OMG! A kiddie song with a title that says it all! LAFFIN!
28.) The great Stan Kenton pastiche. Fabulous stuff!
29.) Outstanding version of "Auld Lang Syne" with yet another Christmas shoe promo! Heh!
30.) I like this song but I'm not sure why it's here.
Last year, I gave Mike some tender advice. To quote:
"One tip: keep developing the style of the CD as a whole. Don't be content to keep the format the same (song / sound bite at the end of the song) - shake it up, mix it up, and never be afraid to try something different. The more you do this, the more you'll find a format that's uniquely yours and ultimately comfortable for you."
Your format this year was definitely different than last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad you're using the classics and the obscure in tandem. It all flowed much better this year and it was fun to listen to and relisten to!
You've done well, my little padewan! Take a bow...
UP NEXT: Blandat julgodis 2004 & 2006 (TWO REVIEWS from Sweden!)