Archive for September, 2009

Lutefisk Lament

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Today, I ended a decade-long search for a specific recording. If you’ve ever tried to search for something very specific and obscure on the web before, you might know my frustration. The recording in question was a Christmas-themed song, “Lutefisk Lament.” It’s basically a satire of “The Night Before Christmas,” about how horrible Lutefisk is.

The song has great sentimental value in my family, as we are mostly Norwegian. I’ve never had Lutefisk and probably never will, a testament to the impact the song has had on me. Our family came across it by way of a cassette tape, recorded from many novelty Christmas records my grandfather came by. He sold RCA stereos back in the time when my dad was a kid, and would occasionally be sent various promo albums. Someone along the lines compiled lots of the strange or novel Christmas songs from those records onto a tape.

This is the tape I remember, although I don’t remember it well. Every Christmas season my mom would pull it out of storage, and I would listen to it on a tiny portable cassette recorder while laying on the couch and waiting for Christmas Eve. I can only remember bits and pieces about the songs that were on it. I’ve searched rather fruitlessly on the web for years, and unfortunately have come across very little. I remember some songs (“We Need a Little Christmas” from the musical Mame), but since it was a homemade tape there’s no way to positvely identify any of the performers or even some of the song titles.

Every year, I google around for a bit, and usually come up short. Today, I started working on the annual Christmas album I record for my mom (if you haven’t gathered by now, she’s the parent who’s really into the holiday, and she definitely passed that fervor on to me). Going through lists of Christmas songs, I recalled my annual search and decided to tread through the same old Google search results, the same old blogs, and the same old dead links, desperate for the song. It’s not on Amazon and it’s not on iTunes, which is unfortunate because I would have bought it straight away if I’d found it.

This year was different. The first page of results had a link to a new page I hadn’t seen before. It mentioned a webpage which included downloads from WCCO-AM (in Minneapolis, MN). I went to the page and — lo and behold! — the track was there. I had the usual moment of fear as I worried that the link to the track would be a dead link, but it downloaded straight away, and I saved it, and now the track is mine, and it’s just as wonderful as I remember it being all those years ago, when Santa was an actual person who came down our chimney.

The song can be found on this page. Scroll down to 1980 under the first section, WCCO Air Checks. This version is done by Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson (this was one of the frustrating things I’d found out in years prior, frustrating because having the song name and performers wasn’t enough to find it). Please listen and enjoy, and spread the word if you can, because the world really needs to know about the terrors of Lutefisk.