Two days ago, we flew to Sweden to check out Ultra Swank's "Retro Christmas" comp. From there, we flew yesterday to Minneapolis - our point of entry back into the U.S. to visit Brainwerk's "Check The Cool Wax V2" comp.
Where did we land at today? Start spreading the news... we're reading today... about a Christmas comp based out of the Big Apple - New York City!
Ladies and gents, I give you Katya Oddio from one of the finest free music web sites on this or any other planet - Oddio Overplay.
It's hard to imagine now but in the early years of this decade, there were just a handful of web sites offering vinyl shares on a semi regular basis.
Basic Hip, Otis Fodder (whose Christmas comp we reviewed earlier this week), and Oddio Overplay opened the gates on the sharity revolution (which shows no signs of slowing down) by offering out of print recordings and rare or weird vinyl goodies.
Katya went one step further though - she began compiling free and legal music, linking great artists with new audiences. It has proven to be a fantastic Internet success at her site. Actually sites!
Several years ago, she began her Blogio Oddio offshoot of Oddio Overplay blog where she continues to post music, compilations, news items, and links, links, links! Katya has also joined the MySpace community where she does more of the same... She does live in the city that never sleeps, folks!
Last December, Ms. Oddio posted several different Christmas comps at her Blogio Oddio site. In addition to the comp you're about to learn more about, there were two comps from Katya's friend and partner in crime Ton Rückert (look for those reviews tomorrow - convenient, no?).
All three are STILL available to download so go git 'em!
For more background info, I've asked Katya 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 first one was probably about age eight when I got my first tape recorder. My little sisters and I howled our favorites into the mics. We gave it to our parents, who stashed it with all the noodle necklaces, clay ashtrays and other useless homemade gifts we had given them over the years.
2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.
The key is to have a gentle flow from one tune to the next. There is very little invested in holiday comps, in contrast to my regular comps like Tunes in Overplay or Sound Circuit submissions. Those are more like the ones we all slaved over as teenagers and include background info and usually a booklet. The holiday comps are just collections of amusing or endearing secular songs.
3.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?
Of course, there is the sentimental value of this music that instantly makes listeners kids again. Another appeal is in the genre's limited appeal. The Western world expects this music to be packed away with the holiday ornaments in the attic for most of the year.
4.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?
This was made for background play at the office, so there was a lot of instant feedback. People were dancing and smiling and singing along. Considering that it was a stuffy investment firm all other days, this happy behavior was doubly rewarding.
5.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?
OddioOverplay.com has been my project for the last 12 years or so. It is a friendly directory of free and legal music on the web. Oddio Overplay includes several comps of music freely available online, as well as original music created by friends of the site, such as a comp for Halloween.
The site has a sister blog called Blogio Oddio. I've also kept busy the Comfort Stand net label, MP34U.com, and spent a lot of time at Webjay.org in its early days.
6.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?
Thanks for giving the comp a listen. I hope it brings you some smiles! Keep reading A Christmas Yuleblog! (CAPT'S NOTE: Extra bonus points for the plug!)
1.) Refreshing! Take a great instrumental you know and love to open your CD! Beaut!
2.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! I've never heard this before! And the yodeling??? Here's a track that I might pinch for my annual Christmas comp!
3.) You have to wonder what Ferrante & Teicher were drinking, smoking, or ingesting. Their "Adventure In Carols" album is simply remarkable!
4.) WOW! Nothing like steel drums for Christmas! Where's my suntan lotion and my pina colada?
5.) Aha! A Latin flavored version of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem - taken from the great "Blame It On Christmas V1" CD!
6.) Lyman packs in more punch in his 1:19 version of "Rudolph" than most artists do on full length CDs.
7.) I prefer this version over the Andrews Sisters overheard version. Petty Booka has a pretty fun version too!
8.) The King of Swing's swingin' version of "Jingle Bells" - don't give up on this one until you've heard that amazing clarinet from Benny!
9.) Ooooo! Jan Garber's "Christmas Dance Party" was offered in STEREO this year at FLLLL.com. Expect a gooey, sickening yuleblog review of this one soon!
10.) WOW! I don't have this one in my collection! Nice early 1960s pop with that unmistakable Bobby Vee sound!
11.) I seriously think that Frankie Valli's head is going to explode on this one... what a range! My neighbor's dog is going nuts over here... moving on...
12.) If you like Ray Anthony and this song (my hand's raised), try to find his "Dream Dancing Christmas" CD.
13.) SEE? Why can't radio stations play this Brenda Lee song at Christmas instead of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" ad nauseum? Sweet track!
14.) I'd comment on this one but Claudine's got that gun in her hand again... serpentine, serpentine!
15.) Solo piano version by a bonafide child prodigy! Yuko has her own website, even a Christmas page!
16.) Great version by the only group that I know of named after an authentic cocktail! Are these guys even playing together anymore?
17.) Pardon me while I get up and sway to the rhythm... it's Otis Redding, y'all?
18.) I'm not sure what I like best about this one - the smokin' piano, the harmonies, the doo-wop flavor. Oo papa mow mow!
19.) A reworking of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" off a legendary OOP Christmas album.
20.) YESSS!!! Any comp that incorporates the Ventures and their fantastic Christmas cuts is okay in my book!
21.) Meanwhile back in the States... wait, wrong song! I love this one because it fuses Martin Denny with 1950s doo-wop!
22.) Had to check - this IS Herb Alpert! Name another band that spawned off so much ripoff soundalike bands!
23.) Case in point. My friend Ernie (not Bert) had several of the Mexicali Brass Christmas albums lying around at his blog late last year.
24.) Slide-guitar send-up of "Silent Night" - what alliteration! Another track off the "Blame It On Christmas" CD.
25.) Incredulous as it sounds, this 1953 classic was only one of three Christmas songs Eartha Kitt ever recorded! The other two? "This Year's Santa Baby" (1954) and "Nothing For Christmas" (1955).
26.) Very nice! Instead of grabbing Vince Guaraldi's version of this, Katya found an actual children's choir recording of this. It sounds glorious!
Katya, you've got a great ear for Christmas music! It was a nice mix of old, new, strange, and overall, FUN! The nuggets were there to be found (Trio Shmeed, Esso Trinidad Steel Band, Yuko Ohigashi), and several surprising surprises. There wasn't a song I disliked on this whole comp!
Thanks for sharing this with us. I hope you'll find some room this upcoming Christmas for a brand new Christmas comp among the hundreds of comps you've already offered us. May you continue the awe inspiring work that you do at Oddio Overplay and its sister sites!
UP NEXT: Ton Rückert's 2003 & 2004 Christmas Comps