Welcome to week number five of our two month look at Christmas comps we've gathered at the yuleblog.
Over the next seven days, we'll be looking at comps sent to us via the P.O. Box by seven different individuals - each with their own unique take on Christmas.
Our first comp comes to us from the creative mind and work of Mark Grant of Venice, California.
Grant's comp arrived shortly after Christmas with no note, no additional information, and an e-mail address that led me to a website that may or may not be his.
One thing is clear: Mark's cover is one of the most stunning pieces of creative work I've seen so far in this two month process.
Click on the image to enlarge it and take in the whole thing - this picture will say about 10,000 words!
The aforementioned e-mail address was used to send Mark the standard set of questions I'll be asking everyone who sent a comp but as of press time, Mark hasn't responded. So let's let the music speak for him.
1.) A sixty second orchestral instrumental with vocal accents - quite a majestic and rousing way to open a CD!
2.) Not a boy or girl band - Backstreet Girls is a Norwegian rock band with quite a good sound - this version of Chuck Berry's classic pulses like nothing else! Off their Christmas EP "Christmas Crusher"
3.) Eels - E = same thing! Their best Christmas song to date - hasn't gotten dated or overplayed yet.
4.) AWESOME! The legendary British comedy duo's signature Christmas song! Their 1977 Christmas special garnered nearly a 50 share in England - a record that still stands in the UK!
5.) Rockin' cover of Jose Feliciano's song - actually improves it! The Mexican Elvis has released several Christmas CDs: "Merry MeX-mas", "Sno-Way Jose" (available at El Vez' website), and "NoElVezSi" (UK import only).
6.) Amen, brothers and sisters... TESTIFY! Fantastic southern gospel record rescued from obscurity thanks to Dust-To-Digital's "Where Will You Be Christmas Day?" - an exceptional Christmas CD!
7.) WOW! A Christmas "redneck" song that predates Larry The Cable Guy or Jeff Foxworthy! Where did this come from? 45? CD comp? Anyone?
8.) Almost a note for note perfect parody of Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er" - thanks to the one and only Bob Rivers!
9.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Fred Wilson FBI does a phenomenal guitar instrumental (think the Ventures!) to one of Danny Elfman's "Nightmare Before Christmas" songs! This never sounded better!
10.) Taken from the most recent Broadway Cares compilation, the cast of the Broadway musical "The Wedding Singer" take Sandler's tired "Hanukkah Song" and give it new life - sounds fantastic!
11.) Beautiful new take on "Sleigh Ride" - Bonsai Tribe's great ska sound makes this song work! Ja Mon!
12.) Not a Christmas song... but Bleu & the kids rock it out to plead their case for a snow day! From the kiddie CD "For The Kids".
13.) Bootsy Collins' reinterpretation of Charles Brown's old chestnut is just funktastic! One of the best Christmas CDs from the 2006 holiday season.
14.) Fun, giddy, lounge title track from Richard Cheese's Christmas CD! Thank you! Try the fish! Good night!
15.) A Christmas country rock song from Grub Dog & The Modestos. Good sound.
16.) If you need a soul song done right, page Mr. Brook Benton and stand back. Perfect!
17.) WOW! Thought the funk quota was used up with Bootsy... this surprisingly great track by Houseman comes from the "Christmas Gumbo" CD that I didn't know existed!
18.) Okay, who did this? Was it the Gus DeWert Trio or the Hal Bradley Orchestra (with Patty Marie Jay)? I've seen it credited to both! Someone help me put an end to this confusion!
19.) Fun rockin' Christmas tune from Jimmy Charles circa 1960! From what comp did this one come from?
20.) This song still has enough charm to give me a smile... but that charm is almost used up. Next...
21.) Here's a Christmas song you'll always find on Christian radio at Christmas but never on secular. Pity. I think it's one of the best original Christmas songs of the past 20 years.
22.) I had to stop this song about 30 seconds in. Huckapoo's contemporary girl pop sound made me queasy. It's official... I am old.
23.) OH YEAH!!! Very reverent and orchestral for the first 50 seconds. Then the drum beat click in, Jimmy Smith starts warming up the Hammond B-3, and it's pure melodious magic from then on!
24.) Take a rockin' Japanese band, have Quentin Tarantino put their music into one of his films - BANG! Instant pop culture cult status! From their vinyl single "Rock And Roll Santa".
25.) Setzer takes "In The Mood", gives it the full treatment, and passes it off as a Christmas song. Not one of my faves from Brian.
26.) Another great Broadway Cares Christmas song - this one is short and to the point! Excellent track!
27.) This is the second song I've heard off Beatnik Turtle's Christmas CD... after hearing this, this one's moving up the wish list!
28.) Ten second bonus track of a little girl singing "Frosty The Snowman". She reaches the end of the first stanza and nonchalantly adds "Whatever." - HILARIOUS!
Mr. Grant, wherever you are, you have assembled a first rate Christmas comp! You kept me guessing at every turn - the mix of old, new, bizarre, and fun worked perfectly. These were songs you normally don't find on Christmas comps and it really flowed well. I commend you on your excellent ear for Christmas music!
I do hope you'll send another Christmas comp later this year - would love to hear what new goodies you'll have! But please, please... add a note, a card, anything that lets me know you're not a computer, an alien, or a pseudonym for a group of people who put together this brilliant comp!
UP NEXT: A Shock-And-Awe Christmas