Click on the album cover (or this link) to download the album as a 60-something MB zip file from Rapidshare (if you don’t have a rapidshare account, just click the “Free User” button).
The liner notes:
Track 1: “Gabriel’s Message” – Sting. Not the version that you already know, from A Very Special Christmas, but rather a more traditional version from his newest exploration of “I’m a Serious Musician” pretention, If On A Winter’s Night… A very pretty version of the song — but I, for one, am ready for the man to return to recording pop songs.
Track 2: “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake. Lake, of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Powell fame, recorded this amazing track in the early 70s. Hauntingly beautiful music, backed up with scathing lyrics like “they fed me a fairy story, ’till I believed in the Isrealite” and the final “Hallellujah Noel, be it Heaven or Hell — the Christmas we get, we deserve.”
Track 3: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Pomplamoose. Internet darlings recording a Christmas classic in their own quirky style. (And for those of you who missed my Twitter/Facebook post — they’re currently giving away an mp3 of their brand new, original XMas song if you Give A Goat via World Vision )
Track 4: “Papa Ain’t No Santa Claus (& Mama Ain’t No Christmas Tree)” by Butterbeans & Susie. Bawdy, naughty bluesy argument between lovers in this 1930s vintage underground track.
Track 5: “A Christmas Duel” by The Hives & Cyndi Lauper. The same sort of sentiment, only with a 21st century vibe. Funny, sick and more than a little bit awesome.
Track 6: “The Coventry Carol” by Mediaeval Baebes. Traditional carol, performed acapella. Shivers.
Track 7: “What Do You Get A Wookie For Christmas” by Savanteous Q. Malmsteen. A cover of a track from the lauded Star Wars Christmas album. The answer, of course, is obvious: Wookies don’t celebrate Christmas. They celebrate Life Day. Duh.
Track 8: “Santa Came Home Drunk” by Clyde Lasley & The Cadillac Baby Specials. Blues track, complete with backing soul girls. Hells, yeah.
Track 9: “Christmas Tree” by Lady Gaga. In the 80s, this sort of thing would be a 45 sent out to the fan club. Today, it’s an mp3. Largely disposable bit of cotton-candy amusement from the Haus of Gaga, with the eternal Christmas lyric, “Light me up, put me on top, let’s fa-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!”
Track 10: “Boogaloo Santa Claus” by J.D. McDonald. Early 70s classic funk, Christmas-style.
Track 11: “Holly, Ivy and Rose” by Tori Amos. Traditional (a version of the 15th century carol, “The Holly & The Ivy”) sung as a duet between Tori Amos and her daughter, Natashya Hawley, from Amos’ album Midwinter Graces.
Track 12: “Christmas in Washington” by Steve Earle. Earle laments the state of the nation, and calls out American socialist icons like Woodie Guthrie and Emma Goldman to rise up like Christ and redeem us, for the “unions have been busted, their proud red banners torn.” Haunting and beautiful.
Tracks 13 & 14: “I Like Life (Reprise), Father Christmas (Reprise) and Thank You Very Much (Reprise)” from Scrooge (1970 musical). I finally got a copy of the soundtrack of my favorite musical version of A Christmas Carol, the 1970 film Scrooge with Albert Finney. These are the tracks that accompany Scrooge’s rebirth, and seemed an appropriate close to this year’s selection.
Thanks for reading, folks. Have a wonderful holiday.