Holiday Greetings from LOUIE Report

Xmas Card from Louie Report

I’d like to send out an extended holiday greeting to all my friends out in cyberspace. This is a photo I shot with my Nokia cell phone, and then added some text with good ol’ Photoshop.

To brighten up the holidays, I’d like to recommend some music that I like.

Truth be told, I’m not really big on a lot of the Christmas music standards. In fact, I actually get uncomfortable when I hear an excess of Christmas music too early, especially at certain retail stores that seem to want to force-feed the holiday spirit. I feel like lab dog being part of some of Pavlov experiment, trained to spend money whenever I hear the same old songs. I resent this type of manipulation, and I think it shows a poor choice of music programming by whoever’s in charge of creating retail environments.

Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion. Many folks love this music, and I certainly don’t want to take away anyone’s pleasure from this stuff with my own cranky biases. If you enjoy this, don’t listen me or anyone else that shares this opinion. Enjoy what you enjoy.

It’s times like this that make me miss my old pal Bob Sidebottom. Bob had one of the oldest comic book stores in Northern California, located in the heart of San Jose. Bob’s Comic Collector Shop was the number one place I’d go to pick up my favorite funny books, and it was certainly not your normal comic book store. Bob had jazz records plastered all over the place, including an entire wall dedicated to Charlie Parker. On Friday nights he’d invite friends over to come by the store, pick up the latest comic books, drink beer and listen to records all night. It wouldn’t just be jazz – it’d be Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Clash, the Cheap Suit Serenaders, or anything else that fit the mood. If Bob Sidebottom would play Christmas music in his store, he’d usually find some incredible song by Johnny Mathis, Eartha Kitt, Julie London or someone else I wouldn’t expect. Then, he’d find another obscure Christmas track or a song that had nothing to do with Christmas, but along an equally cool groove. Bob had a great ear for music, and I learned a lot from him.

One time Richard Berry was visiting the area, so I brought him by to meet Bob. These guys hit it off like old pals. It turned out that both of them were at the infamous Fats Domino riot of 1956 that took place at the Palomar Ballroom in San Jose, which was one of the first rock and roll riots in America. Richard also had a lot of great stories about Bobby Bland, Charlie Parker, Johnny Otis, and it was wonderful to hear these guys yack about the old days. In five years, both men would leave us, taken away from this mortal world by weak hearts.

So, in the spirit of my friend Bob Sidebottom, I’d like to endorse some obscure tracks that I think he’d appreciate this time of the year:

1) “White Christmas” by Corporal Blossom is one of the most inspired mash-ups I’ve ever heard. Combining a lot of different versions of the song by folks like Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Darlene Love, Frank Sinatra, and a lot of other musicians, this recording is an unauthorized, but beautiful rendition of the Christmas classic. Download it for FREE at Stay Free’ Illegal Art Compilation CD webpage.

2) “Merry Christmas Baby” by Charles Brown. This cat had one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard. You can track down the original Aladdin recording, but I’m partial to the 1990 recoding on “All My Life.” Go pester your independent local record store for this one, or support the Louie Report by picking this song up on Amazon.

3) “Christmas Is Pain” by the Foreman. If you can imagine Bob Dylan signing a protest song about Christmas commercialism, this is a pretty good approximation. I’m not sure where you can actually buy this song, but I got mine as a bonus track on the “Do the Clinton” CD single. Check out the lyrics at songwriter Roy Zimmerman’s official lyrics page. This is funny stuff.

4) “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry or Keith Richards. I love this old Chuck Berry song, but Keith Richards takes it another level, putting everybody’s favorite reindeer right in the middle of the freeway. I’ve got the 45, but have no idea which CD if any, it was released on.

5) “Christmas With the Devil” by Spinal Tap. What can I say? I love Spinal Tap. This one goes to 11. You can download it at SpinalTapFan.com for the time being until someone tells them to take it down…

6) “Christmas Time for the Jews” by Darlene Love. This was a funny little song with a charming animation skit on Saturday Night Live. Thanks to YouTube, you can see this now.

7) “Hey Ya Charlie Brown” – the OutKast remix. Speaking of inspired spoofs from YouTube, here’s an inspired remix of Charlie Brown’s Christmas using some Outkast music. A tip of the hat to Andy of AndyLand for this probably-unauthorized video clip.

8) The Etiquette Merry Christmas LP. A fine collection of songs from the Wailers, the Sonics and the Galaxies, with the song “Don’t Believe in Christmas.” It’s out of print, so search used records stores, eBay, or pester The Wailers to reissue this classic.

9) “Father Christmas” by the Kinks. Another silly satire song for the holidays. Another rock and roll ditty preserved for the masses on YouTube.

10) “The World Needs Peace” by Richard and Dorothy Berry. A timeless message of hope that sounds good any day of the year. If you haven’t already downloaded this wonderful song written by Dorothy Berry, ex-wife of LOUIE LOUIE songwriter Richard Berry, what are you waiting for? This is what dreams are made of!

Want to discover some more timely music for the holidays? Check out Misletunes.com for more cool ideas.

Of course, if you want the mind-blowing stuff that’ll make you go “WHOAAA,” I highly recommend my friend Phil Milstein’s Probe for the finest in eclectic musical downloads. Who else would dare to share multiple versions of “They’re Coming to Take You Away, Ha-Hah?”

My best wishes to all my friends in cyberspace,
ERIC PREDOEHL

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