Long-time readers (from back when I actually regularly blogged) will remember my Friday Music series, where every Friday I’d give you a set of links to mp3 files of music that I thought was nifty. Sort of a “mixtape of the internet” — it ran for years, and people seemed to dig it. For a while there, when Christmas rolled around, I’d do a special collection where I’d assemble a full album of cool/obscure/weird Christmas music, complete with a custom cover, and offer it as a zipped file for download.
Well, it’s been too long, so I decided to do it again. Without further ado, here is the 2015 “Friday Music” Christmas collection: Ultra Christmas! (Click on the graphic to download the zipped file.)
Track 1: Funky Little Drummer Boy, by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: A nice re-working of a holiday classic by my favorite Soul revival act.
Track 2: I Know What You Want For Christmas, by Kay Martin & Her Bodyguards: An early-60s titillation novelty album by singer, Playboy model and Reno, NV lodge-owner Kay Martin.
Track 3: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), by Darlene Love: The best version of this song, ever. Nobody comes close.
Track 4: The Coventry Carol, by Alison Moyet: I’ve always loved Alison Moyet’s voice, and here she is on a very 1987 version of a 16th century carol.
Track 5: Bad Boy Christmas (feat. Richie Loop), by Bad Royale: How about some Jamaican dancehall Christmas? You’re welcome.
Track 6: Wonderful Christmastime, by The Shins: One of those instances where a cover of a song is better than the original. McCartney’s version irritates me; this one doesn’t.
Track 7: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, by The Civil Wars: A very cool version by an Alternative Country duo I first discovered through FAR WEST (they were suggested to me by a backer).
Track 8: Green Grows the Holly, by Calexico: Another act that is on my FAR WEST playlist, doing a lovely rendition of a far-too-little-heard song.
Track 9: May Ev’ry Day Be Christmas, by Irma Thomas with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band: I’m always in awe of New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and this track is no exception.
Track 10: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, by The Punch Brothers: One of my favorite “dark of the year”/haunting Christmas hymns.
Track 11: Cant Wait For Christmas (feat. Idris Elba), by Loose Tapestries: Loose Tapestries are a side project of Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno and surrealist comedian Noel Fielding. Here’s their take on a Christmas single, featuring some late-in-the-song rapping from Big Driis.
Track 12: La Fille du Père Noël, by Les Deuxluxes: The Jacques Dutronc original is where Bowie lifted the guitar riff from for “Jean Genie” — this is a more recent cover by an indie group from Montreal.
Track 13: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, by Annie Lennox: What better way to close than with Ms. Lennox singing the only Christmas song to feature Satan?
Anyway, there ya go. I hope you enjoy. Merry Christmas, everybody!