For this year’s holiday mixtape, we asked our resident experts (i.e., local musicians) to pick their favorite, obscure Christmas tune. You know, the non-Bing Crosby/Nat King Cole/Wham songs that most people probably haven’t heard of, but everyone should add to their playlist for any good holiday party.
Listen to Part two of their choices below. And be on the lookout for Part Three tomorrow.
Galen Kipar (Galen Kipar Project):
“White Christmas” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, from the album, Destiny: Rare Ska Sides from Studio One. I like this choice, because one, Bob Marley reminds me of those warm summer days on a sailboat and it is damn cold right now. The other reason is, this is the last song I would ever expect them cover. He probably sold part of his soul agreeing to that one, but who knows, maybe he ironically had a special place in his heart for Christmas songs.
Molly Kummerle (Paper Tiger):
I don’t even know if this counts, but I love this because it’s totally ridiculous and it makes me happy — Guster’s “Carol of Meows.” Hilarious take on a classic. Because who can remember the real words anyway?
Juan Holladay (of the Secret B-Sides):
“Christmas Laughing Waltz” by Imagene Peise (secretly the Flaming Lips), from the rare album Atlas Eets Christmas. This song is beautiful and eerie, yet retains the warm, toasty, frosted wonderland feel of 1950s Christmas jazz.
Jonathan Scales (Jonathan Scales Fourchestra):
“Sleigh Ride” arranged by Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Not a surprising choice, if you know me. For a Christmas arrangement, it’s pretty badass and balls to the wall. I listen to that recording periodically throughout the year because it’s awesomeness transcends the season.
Charles R. Humphrey III (Steep Canyon Rangers):
Hayes Carll’s “Grateful For Christmas,” off of his album KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories). It is awesome!
Jason Mencer (Now You See Them):
For me, it’s gotta be D-Boy Rodriguez’s hit jam “Winter Wonderland.” This is an amazing Christian rap tune from the late ‘80s. It’s amazing for three reasons: A) It’s a Christian rap tune. B) It’s from the late ‘80s. C) None of the background singers know the real words. It’s hilarious.
Harry Harrison (The Critters):
I wrote a number called “Put On Your Christmas Socks” a couple of years ago. The recording is still floating around somewhere. I was knocking back a lot of eggnog at the time, trying to think of great gifts to get me loved ones, and in my drunken defeat I came to the conclusion that when you aren’t intimate enough with those you love to know what they want for Christmas, get socks. They’re cheap and handy, no pun intended. Who doesn’t need socks in the winter? It’s the perfect Christmas gift.
Also, me father wrote a lovely blues number that always stuck with me in a nice way called “Oh How I Hate Christmas”. Secretly, I think we all hate Christmas. That’s why everyone’s sauced for it.
Jay Franck (Sanctum Sully):
“Christmas Must Be Tonight” by The Band. I could listen to Rick Danko sing “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall” in its entirety and still love it, so “Christmas Must Be Tonight” is no exception. It’s my favorite track on their last full-band studio album, Islands, which was thrown together to complete their contract with Capitol Records.
A classic to us, unknown to most: “Nuttin’ For Christmas.”
We like “Oi! To the World!” by The Vandals, “Christmas in Prison” by John Prine and Amy Winehouse’s “I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Clause.”
Matt Evans (Just Die!/Old Flings/Megahurtz):
I’m going to say this new rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots fame. It’s absolutely horrendous and he’s supposed to be off drugs. Clearly he is still using drugs and it rules. He made a Christmas album to cash in. This is my current favorite Christmas song.
Sean Robbins (Warm the Bell):
My favorite obscure Christmas song is “There’s Always Tomorrow” by Red Red Meat, which is a cover of a song from the old Rudolph special. It is on their album Bunny Gets Paid. [Ed. note: Check out Warm the Bell’s own Christmas jingle, “There’s a Light (At Christmas),” here.]