The third annual holiday music CD has gone out to friends and family, causing all sorts of people to listen to songs by everyone from Jethro Tull to the Singing Dog. I gave the first one out as a thank-you present for those who showed up at my house in 2007 for a book signing -- besides, it was fun to have some of my favorite songs on one CD.
The idea was copied from my friend Jay Bonfatti, who had been doing it for years and years. Sadly, Jay died in August of 2008, so I picked up a small part of his tradition by making a 2008 CD and giving it to what common friends we had, plus my own group. It went over well enough for a 2009 version. (Heck, I'm about done with 2010 already -- hard to find tunes in the summer and fall for this sort of thing.)
A few comments and tips on the process:
* For a smart look at the whole holiday music scene, it's tough to beat Hip Christmas. There are all sorts of lists and updates, plus some free rare songs. If you are looking for good downloads, then Santas Working Overtime is the way to go. The Webmaster updates that site at least once a day, and sometime more.
* Since this is the third such CD for me, I'm running out of tunes that turn up on the radio with any regularity. You do hear "River" by Joni Mitchell, "2000 Miles" by the Pretenders, "Christmas Canon" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and "Jingle Bells" by the Singing Dog. I got married to Pachelbel's Canon, so it was an easy choice to use here (and thus continue family harmony). And I always giggle when I hear the Singing Dog.
* There's a group of songs from Little Steven's CD from a year ago; it's definitely worth a look if you like this sort of thing. The Darlene Love song "All Alone on Christmas" was recorded with the E Street Band, and sounds like it ... and except for the missing Mr. Springsteen on lead. "White Christmas," by Tina Sugandh, is proof that a good song is a good song even when the tempo is changed.
* I also laugh when I hear "Santa Claus Llega a la Ciudad," by Luis Miguel. It's a great swing version, and the Spanish is a definitely change of pace.
* "Santa's Gonna Come in a Stagecoach" has Buck Owens in good voice. Who can resist Buck? Hee haw.
* My thanks to the Clarence library for supplying "Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling" by the Andrews Sisters. No, I couldn't find any Snooky Lanson songs.
* When people look at the list of songs, Jethro Tull always gets a reaction. The flute works really well, though.
* The last song added was "Good King Wenceslas" by the Roches. It bumped "The Closing of the Year," in part because I couldn't find the original version from the soundtrack of the movie "Toys" anywhere, and a cover wasn't as good.