Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Fifth Christmas Album

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I’ve started ‘pre-production’ on my fifth Christmas album, which is as of yet untitled. Every year since 2006, I’ve recorded a Christmas album as a gift for my mom. She’s really into Christmas, and I suppose I am, too. My parents’ house is ridiculously decorated the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it looks wonderful every year. Carrie gets a little sad because she says I disappear for the last few months of the year to work on the album. Actually, I’ve been getting better at getting these records recorded — two years ago I finished it on Christmas Eve, and last year I was done in time to FedEx it to my parents before Christmas. These albums are fun to make but slightly detrimental to my discography because they’re almost entirely covers, and usually more than half are encumbered by copyrights that prevent me from sharing them without worrying about paying royalties.

Right now I’ve got two tracks arranged, a cover of “Chiron Beta Prime” by Jonathan Coulton and a cover of “Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More” by Relient K. I’ve chosen most of the songs that will be on this record. I’m in no dangers of running out of tracks. Even after four albums, I’ve got a pool of about 100 songs that should last me for at least the next seven albums (at fourteen tracks a pop). And I never said I wouldn’t record new versions of songs.

Christmas always starts way early for me because of these albums. I even start listening to Christmas music (for inspiration) before Christmas merchandise appears on store shelves, if you can believe it. I’ll probably post one or two tracks as Christmas approaches. Obviously I’ll select them from the carols or other public-domain works I cover. There’s also one original song on each album, so I’m sure I’ll post that one, too.

In the meantime, enjoy the lull in Christmas ads, which would have started appearing on TV, if not for the fact that it’s an election year. On second thought, I guess the political ads might not be an improvement.

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.