Memphis to Manchester (Music)
With John Wendland
Thu Dec 23rd 2010 7.00am–10.00am
Time zone: central
Johnny Lee “Santa's Ride” from Phroomf / Santa's Ride 45 single (Diva) —Androgynous lead vocal, the b-side to a single that has an ode to an elf called "Phroomf" on the a-side, penned by the immortal Frank Frank Serritella and featuring Mike Simpson & His Orchestra -- if only all Christmas songs could be like this.Buy it!
Jimmy Charles “Christmasville USA” (Maple Tone 2007) —Originally released in 1961 as a single (the b-side was called "A Little Mouse Called Steve) on the Promo label. A perennial M2M Yuletide favorite.Buy it!
Ray Charles & Betty Carter “Baby It's Cold Outside” from The Spirit of Christmas (Rhino 1997) —There are lots of great versions of this song but this really is the definitive one. Written by Frank Loesser & recorded in 1962 for ABC-Paramount.Buy it!
Ella Fitzgerald “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Verve 2002) —Reissue of the 1960 Verve release and, in my estimation, one of the top ten Christmas albums ever recorded. Written by J. Fred Coots&Haven Gillespie.Buy it!
The Ramsey Lewis Trio “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Sound of Christmas (Verve 2004) —Music bed. Instrumental from this 1961 reissue & the most soulful version of this song you're likely to hear.Buy it!
Lisa Mychols “Lost Winter's Dream” (Rev-Ola 1991) —Highly recommended and completely overlooked recording from 2002. Produced by the Wondermints and one of my favorite Christmas recordings from the last ten years.Buy it!
Carla Thomas “Winter Snow” from All I Want for Christmas Is You/Winter Snow 45 single (stax 1966) —Amazing 1966 b-side written by Isaac Hayes (who also recorded a version of this song).Buy it!
Detroit Junior “Christmas Day” from Christmas Party with Eddie G. (Columbia 1990) —Written by Detroit Junior and released in 1960 on the Foxy label. This compilation is out of print but if you ever have a chance to pick it up, do it!Buy it!
Jimmy Smith “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” from Christmas Cookin' (Verve 1992) —Music bed. 1964 intrumental. And can this song possibly sound any hipper than this organ-driven recording? OK, maybe the Lou Rawls version but that's about it.Buy it!
James Brown “Sweet Little Baby Boy (Parts 1 & 2)” from The Complete James Brown Christmas (Universal Records 2010) N —Traditional gospel song with additional lyrics & music by James Brown & Nat Jones. Recorded in 1966 for the King label.Buy it!
Danny Kaye “Eat! Eat! Eat!” from Eat! Eat! Eat! / Santa Claus Looks Like My Daddy 78 single (Decca 1951) —A not-often heard track from 1951.Buy it!
The Three Suns “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” from A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas (RCA 1959) —OK, there are arrangements and then there are arrangements. From their wildly-entertaining 1959 album of all instrumentals.Buy it!
One Fell Swoop “Christmas Island” from Noelathon 2000 cassette (Noeltahon 2000) —Taken from a cassette sold only at the 2000 Noelathon which took place at BBs Jazz Blues & Soups. You're not likely to find this one.Buy it!
Billy May & His Orchestra “Do You Believe In Santa Claus?” from Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails Part Three (CAPITOL 2004) —1958 song written by Billy May & Alan Livingston. Santa's voice pushes sub-woofers to the limit on this one.Buy it!
Hello Saferide “iPod X-Mas (radio edit)” from Oh No...It's Christmas (Razzia 2006) —Written & sung by Annika Norlin and found on this 2006 compilation made up of Christmas & holiday songs recorded by Scandinavian bands.Buy it!
The Raveonettes “The Christmas Song” from The Christmas Song - Single (Beat Dies Records 2011) —Not to be confused with the Mel Torme song. Recorded in 2003 by the band based out of Copenhagan, Denmark.Buy it!
Anne Tkach & Andy Ploof “Scrooge Converted” (Unreleased 2009) —An excerpt from a Christmas Carol narrated by Anne Tkach with musical accompaniment by Andy Ploof. Produced by Roy Kasten. It pays to have talented friends.Buy it!
Loretta Lynn “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus” from 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: The Best of Loretta Lynn (MCA NASHVILLE 2005) —Written by Loretta Lynn & recorded in 1966.Buy it!
Roy Smeck “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (Bear Family www.bear-family.de 2004) —Recorded in 1954 & found on this disc with 30 versions of Rudolph. That's a lot of bang for your red-nosed buck.Buy it!
Johnnie Allan “It's Christmas Time In Louisiana” from Merry Cajun Christmas (SWALLOW RECORDS www.swallowrecords.com 1990) —1987 recording made by the New Orleans artist who has been making records since 1958. He still is performing and singing really well.Buy it!
Bobby Darin “Christmas Auld Lang Syne” from Under The Mistletoe (Shout! Factory 2003) —"When mistletoe and tinsel glow / Paint a yuletide valentine / Back home I go to those I know / For a Christmas auld lang syne" Recorded in 1960.Buy it!
The Coolbreezers “Hello Mr. New Year” from Hipsters' Holiday (Rhino 1989) —Hey, did you think I was really going to end this with anything else? Recorded in 1957. Happy Holidays and here's to a wonderful 2011, everybody!Buy it!