Christmas time is usually marked by a frenzy of crazed consumers out trying to placate their gods of money, desire, and spiritual materialism. And this crazed frenzy is fueled by the incessantly jovial, nostalgic, and sentimental music that have come to be known as 'holiday standards'. Spurred on by this deceitfully toxic sound, people go nuts buying things they hope will appease some need, gratify some desire, and make themselves feel more generous. How's that for a 'Bah Humbug'? Well, they don't call me Irate for nuthin'...
Seriously though, so much Christmas music is like candy canes -- reminds us of snowballs, winter, and childhood, but it's so sweet it'll make us sick. And most of those familiar tunes have been played so many times that we no longer actually hear them, we just associate them with that familiar need to buy things. You can usually tell when an artist has run out of musical vision and/or income, because they release a Christmas album, the ultimate act of selling-out.
Well, this year I compiled a few tunes that will not be used to market products, by artists who didn't sell-out. Some of them are ironic, cynical, or otherwise hillariously blasphemous, others are driven by a desire to connect with the real musical beauty of those traditional tunes and present it in a pure, fresh context.
The music in this collection ranges from hipster jazz to guitar soli to progressive bluegrass to Tuuvan throat-singing to jug band music, so if you're a reader of this blog, chances are you'll enjoy it. And I don't think any of these tracks have been posted elsewhere in the blogosphere. Names like John Fahey, Dan Hicks, David Grisman, Béla Fleck, and Louis Armstrong are all represented. Some unknowns & surprises too, such as one of my favorite xmas-related songs ever, "Beatnik's Wish" by the otherwise unknown Patsy Raye.
From "Aye" to "Ewe", Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Cool Yule, Chappy Channukah, Krazy Kwanza, Rad Ramadan, & Cheerful Children's Day!
The Irate Pirate presents: It Came Upon a Midnight Queer...
A different sort of Christmas
better than coal in your stocking
not as good as a fat man in your chimney
2 parts - 65 & 61mb | w/ cover | assorted bit rates
If you like the music, support the artists - most of the guys here are alive and working, and they certainly deserve the money for not selling out come yule-time.
And check out The Christmas Jug Band myspace page, for more on that ingenious Dan Hicks yearly raucus.
Click this picture to enlarge and dig that crazy santa claus.