Some Cool Yule -By: Johnny Mystery

Written by on December 8, 2022

It’s that time again. We max out our credit cards and spend time with people we look to avoid most of the year. Somehow, we feel even more freakish during these days. There are radio stations playing nothing but Christmas music when you get in the car and when you head to the mall, that’s all you hear blasting over the speakers. It’s music you probably don’t like either. How could you? When a popular artist makes tunes for the holiday season, their boss wants them to raid the Erving Berlin catalog. Even worse, they’ll write something that’s either sweet and sentimental or some garden variety novelty song. I’m not gonna mention those records here. You’ll immediately flip to the next page. 

The problem is, major labels wanna play it safe. Everybody is worried about not getting airplay, my my my….but have you ever heard anything from William Shatner’s Christmas album or Bob Dylan’s? YIKES!! There are a few decent records that get played though. The E Street Band’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” comes to mind. The good old Brenda Lee standard, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” still rocks. Other than that, the pickings are plenty slim. 

So, let’s take a look at some yule tunes that you might have missed, completely forgotten or just never knew existed. You may be surprised that some of these artists even considered committing to wax for the Ho Ho Holidays!

The Sonics- “I Don’t Believe In Christmas”right outta the gate, here is a bonafide garage tune from the punkiest band to come out of Tacoma, Washington or anywhere for that matter. It’s a blues rave up with screaming vocals and a filthy sax solo with a title that pretty much explains where these cats are coming from. If you know anything about these guys, you’ll know they don’t fool around. They never disappoint and they do it here in less than two minutes. You’ll want to hear it again so lather, rinse and repeat baby.

Slade-“Merry Christmas Everybody”: From December 1973 comes the ugliest band spawned from the glitter era. I have a real problem with people who don’t like Slade. They had a ton of hits in England but nothing here until the 80’s with “Far Far Away” and nobody would have heard of Quiet Riot if they never covered one of their hits back in 84, “Come on Feel the Noise.” This song does the impossible. It celebrates all the positive things about Christmas and manages to not be annoying and sweet. Highly recommended!

Canned Heat-“Christmas Boogie”: Just discovered this myself and I’m glad I did. Sounds like it was recorded later in their career. I don’t think Bob “The Bear” Hite is singing but it sounds great! Can you resist a holiday blues song? I can’t. Besides, it’s Canned Heat. ‘Nuff said.

The Charms- “Frosty the Snowman”: It’s a traditional rendition from a Boston band that spent a lot of time playing in Troy about ten years ago. Lead singer Elle Vee should have been a superstar! They recorded this song for the soundtrack album from the film “Christmas with The Kranks.” 

The Waitresses-“Christmas Wrapping”: Okay, I bet you know this one but it’s way up there as far as Christmas records go. They were MTV darlings for about 15 minutes when they released “I Know What Boys Like” and this song is just as cool in my opinion.

And if you wanna be cool at your party this year, get these records in your holiday mix. Have a happy holiday and thanks for being here. Give the gift of music and hit the bins.

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