Monday, March 12, 2007

Putting The X Back Into Xmas (Probe is turning-On the people)

This is week six of an eight week look at the exorbitant amount of Christmas comps I collected during the 2006 Christmas season.

Last week finished off the final comps sent to us by regular Christmas music enthusiasts. This week, we're looking at more comps found online.

In last week's schedule posting, I mentioned that most of these comps were already offline. I haven't had the chance to contact anyone regarding them and in some cases, there's no way to contact them other than leaving a comment at their site.

This first comp your looking at falls into this category - unable to contact. However, it's STILL available to download - the only site this week that's still active!

I was first alerted to the existence of this comp when my friend Ernie (not Bert) sent me an e-mail on January 29 - shortly before I began the comp reviews and after the schedule was set in stone:

"Did you get this collection of tunes? I don't think it got mentioned anywhere. I keep forgetting to ask. Scroll down to Christmas Day... Some different stuff." The first thing I noticed was the web address: / yadda.yadda. Phil X Milstein? Where have I heard that name before?

Phil X Milstein in short is an online animal / God. He has written for many different e-zines, had his hand in countless projects over the years, and helped found the American Song/Poem Music Archives (including helping to produce the amazing American Song/Poem Christmas CD).

Phil can also dance well, has a 248 bowling average, and enjoys the works of Salieri and Neil Sedaka in his spare time. Okay, that last line was made up - wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Probe Is Turning-on the People is Phil's place to post whatever he wants, whenever he wants it seems. You can easily spend a good 45 minutes there browsing the sessions, looking at the amazing variety of music (most of it rare, OOP stuff), and reading the supplemental information Milstein provides.

Click on the link above and indeed scroll down to Christmas Day - all fifteen tracks are indeed hot!


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) WOW! What a great song to lead off with! Black Ace played a National steel guitar in his lap with a slide!
2.) The great Hank Snow doing his "Reindeer Boogie"! His overlooked Christmas album is still available on CD!
3.) Does Eddie Fisher come with a gift receipt? Betty Johnson is still releasing music at her official website but I can't find a CD compilation this song is on. Can you? Spike Jones had a version of this song too out somewhere...
4.) Side one of a rare Christmas single - thanks Phil! Albeth, Priscilla, and Sherell Paris got their break at the dawn of the rock age but embraced rock-n-roll - this is proof! A snappy tune!
5.) Side two - soft and sedate! The Paris Sisters had quite the career...
6.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! THE COMPLETE JIM BACKUS SONG! Overpaid for this Christmas CD years ago which contained the a different take of the same song - intro was snipped. This is the REAL deal! Someone punch me in the face! Thank you Phil! THANK YOU!!!
7.) Back in the 1950s, juvenile delinquency was everywhere. In this song, it even hits the North Pole! Backus and Butler play off each other beautifully - a fun track!
8.) A twisted, sarcastic, irreverent Christmas song about the overindulgence of the holidays. Recorded in 1962, this is very much like Tom Lehrer but more honest!
9.) Side one of another rare Christmas single - Phil, you da man! Roger LaVern was the piano player of the British instrumental group The Tornados and given his own Christmas single. Dynamite piano playing throughout!
10.) Side two - more amazing piano playing! Name the first #1 hit for any British group in America. Not this one... "Telstar" by The Tornados - 1962!
11.) Not that John Paul Jones... John Davidge was a Northern England comedian who recorded this quite good song that sounds like classic 1970s album rock!
12.) OUTSTANDING! A surprisingly soulful Christmas song that gets better with repeated playings! From the same kiddie chorus who backed John & Yoko on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Wow!
13.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Has the classic Lawrence Welk sound with a hint of the Hollyridge Strings! says this was on CD at one time, so does! When was the LP originally released?
14.) Smooth stuff! I need to find this on LP, CD, ANYTHING! Man, this is lush! Anyone have this?
15.) Wild, wacky, weird ride which tells the story of Spacey - the personal space ship for Santa! The MP3 tag on this one says "Johnny Collins & The Caravans featuring Doreen Allen". Google has turned up very little.

Mr. Milstein has put together a glorious comp! Some old favorites (Hank Snow, Paddy Roberts), some new favorites (Orquesta Sanfer, Roger LaVern), even some new, rare Christmas music (The Paris Sisters, Betty Johnson, Doreen Allen).

But come on... who am I kidding? This will be forever known as the disc that contains the whole Jim Backus Christmas song. What a find! I have listened to this one about eighteen times and have laughed every time ("Back of the handball court" KILLS me every time). I even love the scratchiness of the whole thing!

Phil, if you happen to be reading this - thanks for posting such a brilliant comp at your Probe! If you happen to have any other Christmas comps, I would love to hear them! Thanks for ending my quest for Mr. Backus and keep up the exemplary work that you do all over the Internet!

UP NEXT: The Blues Are Still Blue 2005 & 2006 Christmas Comps (TWO REVIEWS)


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