Thursday, December 13, 2007

I turned my face away/And dreamed about you

Walking past a flock of starlings pecking at a pile of cold vomit in Camden High Street this morning, it occurred to me that the festive season is well and truly upon us now. So I flipped the ipod to the Christmas playlist at last.

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of Christmas songs. A friend of mine won't countenance them at all, as each one reminds her of one ghastly Christmas after another. But I love them. So here they are, my favourite yuletide grooves (in order).

1. Christmas Wrapping/The Waitresses. Of course I know all the words, but it took me a good few years to work them out. I'd never heard this before I bought it way back in 81, but it was on white vinyl so I thought 'why not?'. And then it became my favourite Xmas tune. I like her voice, and I was sad to hear she died recently. The Spice Girls do quite a good version of this too. Altogether now: 'Turn the calender, frozen landscape chills this room for 24 days'.

2. Stop The Cavalry/Jona Lewie. Ah, Christmas 1980. So dark, so cold, so cosy. I get a shiver everytime I hear this song. Top of my (Christmas) tree.

3. Fairytale of New York/The Pogues & Kirsty McColl. Everyone my age cites this as their favourite (or one of their favourite) Christmas songs. What's not to like? Great lyrics, Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl. Need I say more?

4. Wonderful Christmastime/Paul McCartney. I love this video. It's my perfect Christmas. Cosy local pub in the country on Christmas Eve, all your mates, no cares. A time to be happy. A time when McCartney was happy too, I suspect.

5. Silver Bells/Jim Reeves, Pretty Paper/Roy Orbison. These two go very well together and are very similar in tempo. I like the 'Christmastime in the city' vibe of the former, 'the snowy bungalow on the outskirts of Oklahoma City' feel of the latter.

6. Ring Out Solstice Bells/Jethro Tull. Christmas is folksy, so this real ale, holly wreath on the pub door country folk rock workout is just the ticket. Ultra Christmassy. See also Gaudete by Steeleye Span, its sung in a church feel being most apt.

7. In Dulce Jubilo/Mike Oldfield. I'm a big MO fan, and I currently have this as my ringtone. It's kind of silly, but it's great to morris dance to after a few too many egg nogs. That's what we'll be doing in the F-C farmhouse kitchen this year. Again.

8. 2000 Miles/The Pretenders. I like the way this builds, over-use of Christmassy instruments and jangly guitars really do make you feel like it's cold out in the snow. I miss you!

9. I Believe In Father Christmas/Greg Lake. Shimmmers like a bauble. Lyrics about tinsel and fire and lots of clanging bells. The only thing that ruins it is the video set in the desert. I want trees, roaring log fires and snow, etc. But then I'm a tradionalist.

10. Another Rock and Roll Christmas/Gary Glitter. I'm separating the sin from the sinner and going for this in my top 10. It's danceable.

A certain regard:
The Phil Spector A Christmas Gift For You album, though I think it's overplayed. Mud's Lonely This Christmas, for the end line, Oi To The World by No Doubt, a great take on a cliched genre, When A Child Is Born/Johnny Mathis, for the intro.


office pest said...

Good playlist, but wot! no Bing or Frank? I also like the Ronettes' "Frarstee the Snowmaan", if only to do the cod New York accent. Another favourite for that is Visconti's backing vocals on 'Heroes'.
Anyway, I hope Finland was great? I'm stringing Christmas lights around my trees in the garden today and I must say, it is a good day for doing it, properly clear and cold. These are the halcyon days you know.

Five-Centres said...

Doing my tree tonight, OP, getting in the mood, with the Tull xmas album on the background.

Bing and Frank etc, should have been in the honourable mentions section, as they are the spirit of Christmas.

That and the Maddy Prior album.

Finland was great, but no snow again. Still, quite Christmassy just being there.

office pest said...

No snow, but no mosquitoes either at least. Years ago I went to a Finnish paper mill up near the Arctic circle, remarkable place. This was in late October and at midday the temperature had risen by two degrees to minus 18. It's a strange life for them up there.

Clair said...

My mother never liked Johnny Mathis after he was rude about Adam Faith on Juke Box Jury. Now there was a woman who could hold a grudge.

Helen said...

Yeah, most of those would be on my list, too. Would also have to have John and Yoko, would give Mud higher priority and couldn't forget Slade, too, just out of nostalgia.
Had to google Jonah Lewie to see what he is doing now, not very interesting. Always picture him as looking like Kevin Rowland which I suppose he does really.

Planet Mondo said...

With you on all of those - winners all the way. My "giving the tree it's trim" music is "Tijuana Christmas Sound of Brass" not Herb himself but an MFP sound a like. I'll be loading a couple of tracks from it on to Planet Mondo soon plus a Merry Mixmas 30 minutes of festive funk and frolics

Have a peep at this link for more 'tinsel toons'

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

My favourite forgotten Crimbo song is "I'm A Little Christmas Cracker" by the Bouncing Czechs.

Least favourite is probably Last Sodding Christmas, but I also harbour a grudge against that "Marshmallow World" song that I've always assumed must be from the Phil Spektor album. It's just a load of pointless jingling. I'm pulling a face just thinking about it.

TimT said...

Nothing from the Watersons album of traditional Christmas songs, then?!?

I can't agree with you on the Macca song - horribly bland, to my mind, and the video is unforgivably twee. (It probably doesn't help that I don't associate Christmas with pubs - I probably drink less over the Christmas holiday than at any other time of year!) I've never heard nos. 5 and 6, and Mike Oldfield does nothing for me, I'm afraid.

My top 10 would definitely include Slade, Wizzard and Elton (the early 70s was the golden era of the Christmas single), and of course Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I can quote every word of Bruce's spoken intro (it's a live recording), and I can't wait to see him perform it live next week.

Valentine Suicide said...


Five-Centres said...

Must agree Kitten Last Christmas is my least favourite too. Love Bruce though TT. That's definitely in the next 10, along with Kate Bush's December Will Be Magic Again and The Wombles' Wombling Merry Christmas.

Looking forward to all Planet Mondo posts.

Gwen said...

I'm not usually a big fan of Christmas Songs but I like the ones on your list FC.