Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Blues Are Still Blue 2005 & 2006 Christmas Comps

Here's two Christmas comps that I found online at one blog that were available at another blog. "Christmas A Go Go" was a new holiday blog this year with an international cast.

It featured an all-star lineup of contributors from different blogs and countries: Brainwerk - Check The Cool Wax (America), Christine - Spiked Candy (Australia), Mordi - Claudine Longet (England), Roy Black - Germans Under Cover (guess), and Dansmoncafe - Dans Mon Cafe (Europe) all contributed to its fantastic success.

Another contributor was Wouter - The Blues Are Still Blue (Sweden). His 2005 Christmas comp was first posted at his blog. Late last December, he posted both the 2005 and 2006 again at his blog and links to both comps at "Christmas A Go Go" late last December.

Did everyone follow that? Understand it? Good, then explain it to me...

I quickly downloaded these comps because Wouter has a notice posted at his blog which reads "Music files will be available for a limited time (two weeks)."

And underneath that notice is an e-mail address... where I could have sent the standard set of questions I've asked everyone whose comp has been reviewed here...

I just found that e-mail while typing out this review... Duhhh! I never sent the questions and conversely never got any answers to those questions.

But how about that custom artwork I whipped up from the same picture Wouter used for both of his comps? Huh? How about that? Ain't that cool? Looking good, no?

Can you tell I'm stretching? Sure you can. I'll shut up and let the music speak for itself...

THE BLUES ARE STILL BLUE 2005 CHRISTMAS COMP - TRACK REVIEWS:

(Click on image to enlarge)


1.) Great song by Sufjan - if he added a bridge to the song, I might have liked it a little more!
2.) A Christmas song sung from the perspective of a dog. Clever lyrics, great snazzy tune, lots of fun! We'd rather have chew toys than yule logs? Thought he sung "yuleblogs"!
3.) This one by Weezer might be my favorite from them. Hoping they produce a full Christmas album one day!
4.) Extremely good cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" - didn't think it was possible! Benjamin B recorded this for the 1998 Dutch comp "Zo Dit Is Kerstmis"
5.) Strange isn't it? This great song by Ron Sexsmith will last a lot longer than the TV show from which this comp came from!
6.) Excluding Bing... is this the greatest version of "White Christmas" out there? Just might be... Hitting the skip button back for a relisten.
7.) WOW! Cash's voice is like a bucket of ice-cold water - makes you sit up and take notice! First released on 1972's "The Johnny Cash Family Christmas" LP (and sadly OOP on CD), you can find it on the "Christmas With Johnny Cash" CD.
8.) If you happened to have dozed off by now, "I Want An Alien For Christmas" by the Fountains of Wayne will wake you up! Great song.
9.) Released in 1976 and hasn't lost one iota of its punch and its message still comes across loud and clear!
10.) Sounds like any of Paul McCartney's 1920s homages ("Honey Pie", "You Gave Me The Answer"). The sometimes wacky music gets in the way of the hard-to-hear lyrics. Off the "Christmas In Stereo" comp.
11.) Great new take on "Rudolph" - very smooth! One of the better tracks from Kevin & Bean's "Fo' Shizzle St. Nizzle".
12.) My favorite James Brown Christmas song. This is the one I posted on Christmas morning upon learning of his death. The Godfather of Soul was finally buried last Saturday. Rest in peace, James.
13.) I've seen this song on countless compilations and heard it a billion times more. Result? I'm not tired of the song one bit. Rock on Chuck!
14.) Great cover first heard on the 1996 "Christmas In Heaven" comp. Easily accessible via the 1999 "Happy Christmas V2" comp.
15.) File-sharing programs gave this song to the Sex Pistols. Nope. The Ravers. The very first song from the Rhino compilation "Punk Rock Xmas". Co-written by one of the co-founders of Rhino Records - Harold Bronson!
16.) Depressing but totally listenable song about the Christmas blues! Another great song off the "Zo Dit Is Kerstmis" comp (see #4 above).
17.) Great 21st century song with a 1960s feel to it! Clearly the best song off that O.C. Mix 3 Christmukkah CD (see #5 above).
18.) The sound is instantaneous - within seconds, you know it's the Beach Boys. That's usually the moment I switch my car stereo or skip ahead on my CD player.
19.) Stevens' best Christmas song and one of the highlights off his amazing self-produced Christmas box that he released last holiday season.
20.) Good song but I prefer their other song (see #2 above). Their rare 2000 Christmas CD contains both songs and a fun cover of Weezer in Santa costumes. Real copies sell for $50 and up on eBay - watch for fakes.
21.) Their best Christmas song to date - hasn't gotten dated or overplayed yet. First released as a radio only single in 1993, Eels fans had to wait until 1998 when it was a B-side on the "Cancer For A Cure" single.
22.) The title says it all. Never knew you could do that with a candy cane... Find it strangely enough on "Punk Rock Xmas" (see #15 above).
23.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! An acoustic variation of Wham's "Last Christmas" that's better than a cover - it can stand on its own! Erland Øye, you are a genius! Find this gem off the "Seasonal Greetings" comp!


THE BLUES ARE STILL BLUE 2006 CHRISTMAS COMP - TRACK REVIEWS:

(Click on image to enlarge)


1.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! The Pipettes take an old Christmas carol and give it a snappy pop resuscitation! A limited pressing of 200 copies was made of this as "The Pipettes Christmas Single" and handed out to fans at their live shows in 2004. What a find!
2.) I'm not a fan of Tom Waits but this song somehow works. Off his 1978 "Blue Valentine" album.
3.) Another great Sufjan Stevens song. A little repetitive but it works excellently.
4.) I've heard an urban legend - maybe someone can put the end to this rumor. When this was released on CD in 1990, a friend told me that Spector edited the string intro to this song to creepily kiss his ex-wife (and lead singer) Ronnie Spector. Anyone?
5.) Swingin' version by the First Lady of Jazz. Off her appropriately titled "Wishes You A Swinging Christmas" CD.
6.) Shut this one off in record time. Next...
7.) I prefer this version over the Andrews Sisters overheard version. Petty Booka has a pretty fun version too!
8.) Wonderful understated Christmas song by Mary Gauthier. This can be found on her 2002 "Filth And Fire" CD.
9.) The first Christmas rock/rap anthems of the 1980s. From the 1981 "A Christmas Record" - an album ten years ahead of its time!
10.) I think it's Christmas time... Wonderful song from a hard-to-find Christmas EP.
11.) A very 1960s cover with that classic timeless Peggy Lee touch. I reviewed her 2006 "Christmas With" release earlier this year.
12.) I was dreading this one when I typed out the cover. This is horrible... but not as excruciatingly bad as Madonna's lame cover.
13.) Excellent song by The Long Blondes. Google pointed me to this blog where you can hear this and other Christmas songs on someone's mix comp.
14.) I've always wondered what Otis Redding would have done on a FULL Christmas album. Probably more of the same like this one.
15.) Sir Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews both try to out sing each other (bad move) and the whole result is quite screechy - think fingers on the chalkboard.
16.) A cool song about those unfortunate souls who play Santa at Christmas. I prefer this song by the Fountains Of Wayne to their "I Want An Alien For Christmas".
17.) You hear this every now and then and you're reminded how pure and fantastic the Jackson Five were. Listen closely and you can hear Michael breathing through his real nose.
18.) Little Augie Rios singing his heart out on his trademark Christmas hit. Alright, his ONLY hit.
19.) Recorded in 1948 and still fresh as the day it was recorded. Mabel Scott's version of this song has appeared the most times on my annual Christmas comps - six times in 22 years.
20.) Why do radio stations only play "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" and not this one by Brenda Lee?
21.) Breathy, funky, and swinging! This is a tune definitely ahead of its time! Claudine's best Christmas song.
22.) Can you believe it? One of a handful of groups who appeared at Woodstock that are still playing! They recorded a Christmas album! This typical Sha-Na-Na rock-n-roll track tells about Santa's weight loss program!
23.) Great catchy song by Hello Saferide. From the 2006 comp "Oh No, It's Christmas" - for more info on this song, click on this blog link.
24.) Might be James Brown most popular Christmas song. Dated and stodgy lyrics, maybe. But the sound of Soul Brother #1 more than makes up for it.
25.) "Heartbreak Noel" indeed! I just listened to the Debbie Dabney version of this song (off "Christmas Party With Eddie G") and this one from Marlene Paul - THEY'RE THE SAME! What gives?
26.) Nice follow up to the Elvis novelty song. Elvis' sounds like he's eating something... not a stretch, but that's what I always envision with this song.


I am impressed. Here we have two distinctly different Christmas comps. The first comp (2005) leaned toward the modern alternative sounds of Christmas (Erland Oye, Benjamin B, Caesar) with some moldy oldies thrown in here and there, and a few klunkers that weren't all that bad.

The second comp (2006) was dominated by the older, traditional Christmas songs (Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, James Brown) but with some surprisingly new songs (The Pipettes, The Long Blondes, Hello Saferide) as accents, and the occasional song that makes you wince.

Wouter, you did a remarkable job on both of these comps. I applaud your Christmas ear and your courage in presenting Kylie Minogue's version of "Santa Baby". These comps are wonderfully executed and I commend you for putting them together.

I hope you'll leave a comment for us here at the yuleblog and possibly repost the comps come Christmas!


UP NEXT: A Christmas Blog Gift For You From The Power Pop Lover's Blog


Capt

3 comments:

stubbysfears said...

Christmas A Go Go did an awesome job spicing up the holiday season in 2006 and I surely hope they'll be back this year.

Want to note, though, that Spiked Candy has moved. They're now here:
http://spikedcandy.blog-city.com/

I thought the "Spiked Candy Canes" 2005 Christmas comp (reposted at Christmas A Go Go in 2006) was pretty sweet, too!

CaptainOT said...

Stubbyfears - Thanks for the update on the Spiked Candy link. Fixed it in the review as well.

And how did I miss that comp? Grrr...


Capt

Wouter said...

Hi CaptainOT,

Thanks for the review, always good to hear people enjoy what I do. This year I'll be sure to make a new comp.

Ciao,

Wouter

P.S. I'm from the Netherlands, not Sweden.