11:53 a.m. - January 05, 2007
Here are the songs that make up the “Holiday Portion” of the disc. Now, they’re not very Holiday-esque, if I do say so myself. Well, a few are, but they’re also good tuneage.
And it’s not too late to get yerself a 2-CD set. Heck, even Warcry did it, and that means something to me. What, I dunno, but SOMETHING.
So, shall we disclose the contents of disc two? Sure. But, at times, this will be the airing of grievances portion of the program! Be prepared.
1. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid. I talked about it here. And the comments from my advance listeners showed a definite generation gap here, which I don’t get. Are the youngin’s that cynical, or am I an old misty-eyed bleeding-heart to think that this was a legit outpouring. Oh, yeah, I think “We Are The World” was definite a guilt trip, and then we went benefit crazy (remember “Hands Across America”?) but this one I think was honest and legit. And as a SONG, it’s great.
2. Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys. Certainly, it’s not their best work, but it’s a fun song and you get to hear those wonderful harmonies. The rest of their Christmas album seems a bit tossed off, but this one is a treasure.
3. 2000 Miles – The Pretenders. Now, this was unusual, since it was on Learning To Crawl and not just released as a Christmas song. It’s a quite lovely song, and Chrissie Hynde’s vocal performance is stellar.
4. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses. The panel was split on this one, and I can see why. It IS a novelty song, and Patti Donahue DOES sound at times like she’s singing / reciting the phone book. But I like the kitschy energy, and Tracy Wormworth’s bass line is top notch. And you do remember they did the theme to “Square Pegs”, right?
5. Jesus Christ – Big Star. Ok, this is where many of our advance panel jumped ship, or at least went to the loo. Yet, I put it on here for a reason. You see, Big Star is a classic case of an unheard band that was tremendous and influential. And they knew it, especially Alex Chilton. So he basically self-destructed. This is from their last recording sessions, released as Third or Sister Lovers and it shows a man and a band on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Take a long hard listen to the quavering voice, which seems like he’s bent on self-destruction. And in context, with the total ignorance and apathy that surrounded the group at the time that the song was a big joke, a big poke in the eye, and yet at the same time, it’s not. It’s a fascinating document of a band and a man on their death throes singing what they want to. Of course, in a context like this no one got it, but I didn’t expect them to. I expected some people to like the song for what it was though, a heartfelt hymn with a great arrangement. Ah, well.
6. Jesus, Let Me In – John Strohm. Oh, he’s no Bible-thumper. He was part of the Blake Babies, and Antenna, amongst other 90’s alt bands. This hearkens back to the 70’s, with its fuzzy phase-shifted guitars and anthemic, sing along chorus. This just rocks.
7. O My God – The Police. I had no idea that Sting was such a polarizing figure. Oh, yeah, I think his solo stuff bites, but this was the Police, and it had all kinds of creative tension afoot. This song has atmosphere, much like “Secret Journey” and “Darkness”, which I adore. The bass line is unusual and intriguing, Andy Summers does his normal yeoman-like job, and Stewart Copeland is actually nimble and understated in his percussion. Sting is also not trying to sound pretty or anything, either. It’s not meant to be a hit – it’s meant to make a statement. But I like “Mother” too, so what do I know?
8. Waitin’ For The Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top. Oh, yeah, you gotta love this one. Air guitarists everywhere, unite. Heck, I’ll just play air drums, as Frank Beard does his usual workmanlike job holding down the groove. Just what is in Billy’s brown paper bag? Wait, let me guess…
9. Jesus And Tequila – The Minutmen. Ah, the Minutemen. Some say they were punk rocks last home for legitimacy (well, they and the Huskers). This is from the great Double Nickels On The Dime, a staggering collection that varies in style and substance, but is unified all the same.
10. Jesus Built My Hotrod – Ministry. Gibby Haynes gives the performance of his life over the usual Ministry hot-wired industrial beats and guitars. A classic.
11. Kiss Me, Son Of God – They Might Be Giants. Oh, for the love of Pete, how can you NOT like this one, or get it? Liz was shaking her head with disappointment when the panel didn’t seem to like or get this one. Ah, sometimes satire doesn’t always hit for everyone. Do I have heathens for friends, or something? Wait, don’t answer that. Actually, my favorite part is at the end, where the last notes of the strings sound like the first false ending of “Piggies” by the Beatles.
12. Jesus Walking On The Water – Violent Femmes. Yes, Gordon Gano did find his Lord and Saviour and recorded a religious album, so this isn’t really a goof. And yeah, I do have a soft spot in my heart to some spirituals like this. Gano was a devout Baptist as a youth, so no doubt this was in his repertoire from an early age.
13. Fear Of God – Guadalcanal Diary. To answer many of the panel, YES, they’re a related band to R. E. M. They’re from Georgia as well, and came up gigging in the same circuit that R. E. M. did. But, as you can hear, they’re more thoughtful, and you can understand the words. Guadalcanal Diary was a fine band that didn’t get their due as they were overshadowed by the big boys in their neighborhood.
14. Suddenly Mary – The Posies. Oh, the harmonies. I luuurve the harmonies on this song. It’s not as rocking as a lot of Posies song, but it’s peaceful and mellow vibe are just what I need on occasion.
15. That’s The Way God Planned It – Billy Preston. I couldn’t find the studio original, because he recorded it on Apple, and they’re still fighting Apple Computers over the iTunes dealie. Remember how long it took to get Apple artists on CD, anyway? So, this is a live cut, and the sound is a bit rough, but you can hear the joy in the song and the genius of his organ. Billy, RIP.
16. Jesus Is Just Alright – The Byrds. Yeah, the Doobie Brothers stole this arrangement from them. I prefer this one in spades. The harmonies of Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons and John York blend in a heavenly fashion, while Clarence White’s guitar cuts to shreds before and between verses and York’s bass line is inventive and playful. I’d have to say that the York/Parsons/White/McGuinn version of the Byrds may be the best musically (but of course, not in songwriting or record making).
17. Jesus – The Velvet Underground. Is this a joke, a ‘screw you’ from Lou Reed, or an honest to God heartfelt plea and prayer? The voices of Reed and Doug Yule seem to be quiet convincing that it’s the latter. This is a galaxy far removed from “Heroin” and “Sister Ray”, which is why it’s so disconcerting. The ending, with the voices washed in echo, is haunting.
18. Day By Day – Godspell. Ok, you hippies, let’s all gather for the folk mass! Liz loves this song and this play, and you know, it’s compelling, really. It’s a lot more realistic than hearing people sing to Jesus accompanied by wah-wah guitar.
19. Goddess On A Hiway – Mercury Rev. I love the sound, and I really gave up on this band a little too quickly. But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. I just looked and they’re still around. Wow.
20. God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind) – Randy Newman. There’s no questioning the intent here.
21. Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trip. Everytime I hear this, I immediately think of A Charlie Brown Christmas and I shed a little tear. That’s such a great cartoon, and this is such a great song. Sniffle…
Well, there you have it. I hope everyone had a happy and safe Holiday season and there will be more talk of tunes later, but I have some other things up my sleeve as well. Heeee!