singled out – archive christmas missive

another archived missive rescued from hard drive obscurity – originally published December 2008 via losing today…..

‘Ghost of Christmas Past’

Singled Out
Missive 183

Singled Out – bollocks to Christmas….

Of course Christmas is a strange time of the year for the record industry, it’s a time when the banal and bland rub shoulders with the frankly bonkers and beastly, a time wherein everyone and their pet dog and z list celebrities from shows so atrociously foul in nature that the mere mention of their name should make your eyes role upwards as though seeking salvation gather in attempt to strike some seasonal immortality, and just in case you missed them this year then like some Dickensian festive nightmare they’ll sure as hell be gathered up onto some frightful festive collection next year wherein you can happily relive the horror all over again.

Amid these snow covered pages you’ll hopefully find a fond bundle of Christmas treats – we’ve got stuff from former Stray Cats head dude Brian Setzer, some killer seasonal compilations from two of the vanguards of incisive indie pop Cherryade and Filthy Little Angels, elsewhere a rather smart gathering of the clans via the musical advent calendar commissioned by Maps Magazine plus something tasty from the Wicked Cool imprint that features servings aplenty from the likes of Keith Richards, the Fab Four (though obviously not the Fab Four that you’re probably imagining), the Chesterfield Kings, the Electric Prunes and the Kinks. While squeezed about somewhere in this seasonal mix there’s the annual aural greeting card from Yellow 6 now up to its 10th instalment – blimey where have all the years gone – regular friends to these pages will be all to aware that these limited CD’s (which incidentally in recent years have been available to the public in limited quantities) where initially a form of ‘thank you’ to people who had in someway spread the word on Yellow 6 and included between their finite grooves a mix of unreleased cuts, alternate mixes and guest remixes – more about that later.

Of course this being Christmas we have our annual seasonal cold to contend with which has had the effect of – as I write this – slowing the wordy writing thing down a tad – which basically means in plain English we are still writing it up. Mind you whether you view it as good or bad (we are veering on the bad) it has meant we’ve been able to doodle about on the web and find a few stocking filling treats. Therefore expect videos and download links aplenty. Also as the blighter is too big to fit into one singled out dispatch – it will be split into three visitations – the first one here, the next tomorrow and the final part on Boxing day – for arguments sake we’ll call them ‘ghost of Christmas Past’, ghost of Christmas present’ and the ‘ghost of Christmas future’. After that there will be a Kelman Christmas come down along with another bumper missive to see out the year….

Anyhow I suspect I’m waffling as usual so without further ado the sounds…..

Various ‘Christmas a go go’ (Wicked Cool). And when we say a serious gathering and festooning of legends around the Christmas tree we mean a gathering and festooning of legends – just check the roll call – the Ramones, Kinks, Keith Richards, Bob Seger and er – Joe Pesci, guaranteed to kick start any vintage garage loving party. Culled together by Little Steven – as in Van Zandt – this ridiculously cool twenty song set rounds up a positive smorgasbord of treats, opening to the sound of Stones riff slinger Keith Richard’s ripping ’run Rudolph run’ sees him paying nods aplenty to Chuck Berry likewise with the Chesterfields Kings ‘hey Santa Claus‘ sounding like a distant cousin to ‘Johnny B Goode‘, apparently the first time this perennial nugget has seen the light of day on CD while the uber hard to source ’sock it to me Santa’ by Bob Seger and the Last Heard gets a rare unwrapping and frankly steals the show notwithstanding the fact that it’s a stomping James Brown sound-a-like the blighters so frenzied and wildly primal that its whole heap of bad to the bone boogie guaranteed to have your foot stomping tootsies coming out in blisters. Edged into second spot in our affection is Rufus Thomas’ slinky drill of ‘I’ll be your santa, baby’ – a prime packed slice of off kilter sassiness that tyo these ears sounds like a Grotto gathering between Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, John Lurie and James Brown. Next up ’Merry Christmas’ from the much missed Ramones, the masters of the sub three minute tri chord rumble cut a dash with this slab of throbbing 50’s retro bubblegum groove the video to which you’ll find tucked away somewhere below. Featuring some of the best steaming saxophone you’re ever likely to hear this side of Wizzard, Darlene Love stumps up some timeless tinsel adorned tastiness in the shape of the 50’s sugar glazed glam-tastic ‘all alone on Christmas’ while Clarence Carter gets down and dirty with the mooching soul groove via the smoking ‘back door Santa’. Mod heads and power pop lovers will do well to tune into the DB’s meets Teenage Fanclub throb of the Len Price 3’s audaciously addictive thrill drill ’its Christmas time Ebenezer’ while the Kinks surging ‘father Christmas’ could we suspect be solely responsible for given birth to the much loved Velvet Crush if it does go a little ‘pictures of lily’ at times but then didn’t we just mention Wizzard in passing a few seconds ago, where is Roy Wood – surely this man needs bringing in from the cold, the one time face of The Move, ELO and of course Wizzard was a one time master of the full on over the top pop production, like being transported back to my child hood ’I wish it could be Christmas every day’ never tires unlike some of its perennial peers (Elton John anyone), literally has it all – kids, sleigh bells, snow, Spector, saxophones and strings if you didn’;t know better you’d have to say it had time travelled back to a 50’s hop – just makes you tingle with expectation. Nuff said. We haven’t a clue who the Fab Four are except the fact that they are some sort of Beatles tribute act, all we know is that this cutie is culled from a double disc set that appeared a few years back via Delta and featured a host of Christmas hymns (done in faux Lennon / McCartney dialects) set to the music of Beatles classics of yore – on this occasion its ’Silent Night’ backed by the sounds of ’Norwegian Wood’ – agreed on paper it sounds positively horrifying but believe you me it works a treat. Apparently known as the ’tabla girl’ in honour of dexterity with said instrument, Tina Sugadh cuts some transcendental shapes out of ’white Christmas’ – this cut originally appearing on the woefully painful ’Christmas with the Kranky’s soundtrack (the woefully painful bit being the film not the soundtrack – mind you now I come to think of it – yes the soundtrack to – only joking) from a few years ago while the Chevelles pay nods aplenty to the Psychedelic Furs ’pretty in pink’ and the traditional ode ’o’ come all ye faithful’ and somehow rewire assembled ingredients into the tinsel twang of ’come all ye faithful surfer girls’. moving swiftly on former Stray Cat dude Brian Setzer whose killer double disc dealing ‘ultimate Christmas collection’ has been wowing us aplenty of late tears up the tarmac with his big band sound for the criminally infectious Santa drives a hot rod’, sadly the only thing ’surf’ about the Soupy Sales disappointing ’Santa Claus is surfin to town’ is in the title a little alone else while Joe Pesci’s show tuning ’if it doesn’t snow at Christmas’ it should be said is strictly for fans of novelty pop. Hailing from Oslo and sounding not unlike a spiked cross fusion between the Bangles and Blondie the strut grooved candy laced fuzz pop gem that is ’Santa is coming home’ is a no nonsense toe tapping head turner though that said we suggest you head over with further fuss to their MS page at and rip the shade shimmying ’stop’ while the anthem laced power punk pop effervescence of the Boss Martians should – if there were any justice in the world – be a permanent feature on your turntable in the coming year, here they dispatch some neatly frantic fuzz folly in the shape of ’3 ghosts’. Alas we have no information on the Electric Prunes cut ’jingle bells’ though we seriously suspect it a latter career by product featuring none of the original band – best viewed as one for the completists while rounding up the pack you’ll find Jean Boauvoir sprinkling a little lysergic magic to the seasonal proceedings with ‘Merry Christmas to all the World’ – to these ears it sumptuously spirals like some kaleidoscopic pop trip devised by the Beatles and refracted through the viewfinder of Tears for Fears and Oasis yet recalibrated by Epicycle. All said and done a tasty collection that like the traditional Christmas table features a lot of turkey laced with tasty trimmings and the odd welcomed surprise guest.

Get your freebie download of Cocktail Slippers ’santa is coming home’ from

The Ramones……

Head over to the (unrelated) Christmas a go go blog spot at for a party ripping spree of freebie downloads . Here you’ll find two versions of the ’Zat you Santa Claus?’ – the smoked original and the ‘heavy’ remix culled (we believe) from a Verve ’remixed Christmas’ compilation, then there are two versions of ’Chilly Winds’ by Nina Simone the remix being by Fink who gives it a sumptuously sophisticated club floor persona. Scroll down a bit for a freebie EP from Dutch label Coverclub which we gather first saw the commercial light of day way back in 2006 and features four bands giving their renditions of Christmas cheer so that you get Moss, Silence is Easy, the Gasoline Brothers and Audio transparent (our favourite of the bunch) all vying for your affection. Continue to tip toe through the site and you’ll be met with treats from Sufjan Stevens, the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Mighty Bosstones and Belle and Sebastian while those wanting to hear something nearing the knuckle ought to check out both Dennis Leary and South Park doing alternate versions of the highly un-seasonal ’merry fuckin’ xmas’. Elsewhere there’s the utterly beguiling ’un moment d’espoir’ by Dutch combo Nougat – a beautifully orbiting slice of softly tendered celestial dream pop – think Broadcast and Stereolab in a snow tipped embrace – stunning while pop patrons tending to favour the mellower and heart tugging moments of a lonesome Christmas can feast yourselves on a tear stained selection that includes cuts from Prince, Red Sovine, KT Tunstall, George Jones and Adam Faith whose ‘lonely pup in a Christmas shop’ should at least keep the pre school members of your dinner table quietly subdued.
Jonny Cola and the A Grades ‘Christmas everyday’ (self release). This release arrived tied up inside a loveably dinky Christmas card not that we needed any bribing you understand given that these dudes have already had cause to blow us away with their recently released debut single ’we’re all going to die’ (see missive 175). This track is part of the musical advent calendar being hosted by those nice people at Maps Magazine whereupon a host of underground stars have been gathered up to donate free to download tracks in order to sprinkle a little festive merriment into your lives. So far there’s been a six track feast from the Fortuna Pop stable, cuts by the Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club, the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Fonda 500, MJ Hibbett and more besides. Peel away the wrapping and December 17th’s selection sees JC and the A Grades getting suited and booted up for the silly season , ’Christmas everyday’ is a honey crusted slice of chest beating anthem like warts ‘n’ all gritted realism coaxed within a timeless tune-smithery delicately dinked with a softly stirred glam tinged sucker punch that‘s festooned amid a bracing bauble of tear stained hollowed bitter sweet effervescent glow replete with cooing harmonies, a heartfelt pleading delivery and decorated with a forlorn twinkling seasonal landscape, sound wise imagine a snow chilled gathering around the soup kitchen of Pulp and Blur both led from the front by Peter Gabriel and orchestrated by Roy Wood. Tell me now what is there not to like. Need we say more – a bit of a gem. And just in case you missed the Mott for the noughties ‘we’re all going to die’ you can catch it by redirecting your mouse in the general vicinity of as to the advent frivolities then go fill your boots at – expect full reviews via our well packed seasonal Xmas bumper missive.

Holly and the Katie Winter ‘see the star’ (self released). Arrived today and being the eager souls we are it was scarcely out of its wrapping and onto the player. Billed as a ’little Christmas gift’ I’m suspecting that this delightful twin set isn’t commercially available to the public at large though a quick check on their MS page reveals that ’A Winter’s Beach’ is available to rip via their showcasing player. Of course Holly and the Katie Winter need no introductions here having recently graced these very pages with their debut release entitled ’come to me’ (see missive 179), but for those of you who haven’t been paying attention at the back, the Katie Winter emerged on our radar a few months ago, the alter ego of Les King who at one time traded as Uncle Black who are we believe taking a lengthy sabbatical, early recordings where heard by Holly Burton who admiring the tracks applied her vocals to said cuts and thus Holly and the Katie Winter where born. Rather the usual sycophantic pop tinsel that tends to invade the airwaves this time of the year, these two cuts veer closer to the true spirit of Christmas, offering a chance to pause for a moment to take stock and reflect, both ’see the star’ and ’a winter’s beach’ exude a softly aired timeless tonality, the sparse acoustics and the almost hymnal / prayer like salutations though sounding mournfully reflective bitter sweetly cast a hope fading hollowness, these creaking shy eyed seasonal swansongs are wrapped up in a dustily ageless archaic folk tapestry that’s dipped with the kind of forlorn enchantment more readily associated with Waterson : Carthy which should see it firmly up the play list street of a certain Andy Kershaw – non more so is the case than on the sweetly soured intimacy of the bruised siren-esque lilt of ‘see the star’. That said we must admit to being mildly smitten by the spectral and frail love noted ‘a winter’s beach’ wherein everything from its seasons fading pastel applied imagery and innately aching regret strangely combine to usher a bitter sweet warmth with Holly sounding remarkably more like Alison O’Donnell than last times venture out which less face it is no bad thing. Katie winter

The Gang ‘all I want for Xmas is you’ (download). They hail from Brooklyn, number six in their ranks and boast a full length released earlier this year by Absolutely Kosher to much admiring glances entitled ‘Zero Hits’. The Gang it seems can do no wrong at the moment and with that in mind aligned to the fact that they were positively dizzy with seasonal high spirits (and by the sounds of this little treat somewhat overdoing on the type of spirits found on the inside of a bottle) they took time out to record their very own version of the old Mariah Carey festive nugget ‘All I want for Christmas is you’. Sounding more MC5 / Stooges than Motown / Spector, this lo fi festive fuzz bomb is a nifty slice of frayed around the edges stripped to the bone shade wearing drunken dragster psych garage grind that to these ears has all the tonalities and sparse sound dynamics as to suggest it was recorded in a mechanics inspection pit with the Mummies and the Mono Men gate crashing the party, loveably rough, raw 100% proof cool as f**k festive cheer. Can’t argue with that. Will scare the bejezus out of small household pets. While you’re about it check out their MS page at and hook up to the squalling and wiring friction laced battered and bent out of shape Sonic Youth meets Quickspace strut packed ’Squatters Inc.’ – well smart if you ask me. As to the freebie download try redirecting your mouse in the general direction of

For those of you who’ve been living on a Mariah Carey Christmas free zone since the time when dinosaurs walked the earth here’s the original…..

The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club ‘Dress (second hand with broken zip and oily smudges)’ (free download). Day two of the Maps Magazine festive advent calendar sees those loveably schizoid cuties the Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club deconstructing, re-assembling and re-wiring a P J Harvey classic from yesteryear and crafting said gem with their uniquely scuffed up impish charm. Removed of the primitive buckled blues edge of the original, this trio of tunesmith terrorists apply their trademark angular paint box to much frenetic folly, teetering at times on the point of collapse, this wilfully wonky re-drill prowls impatiently within a dislocated armoury of ad hoc time signatures, fractured rhythms and fragmented mindsets, at times ominously austere at others just plainly wired and with that should appeal in the main to fans of the Violent Femmes.

Those of you with fairly long memories may well recall our first sightings of seasonal reverie were mentioned in missive 175 when we had cause to cast the critical eye over the ultra limited Paw Tracks split release between Reverend Green and the Drawlings. Well here’s the video to accompany the Drawlings part of the bargain entitled ‘wolfie’s Christmas’…enjoy..

<br /><a href=”″>Drawlings – Wolfie’s Christmas</a> from <a href=”″>Joe Gallagher</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.
A short brief stop over at the Filthy Little Angels sound pad over at and it seems like these melodic munchkins have been having a ball festooning their gaff with all manner of festive felicitations and into the bargain packing their own seasonal sack full of cheer in the shape of a belt bulging 25 track free to download Christmas card of their own entitled ‘it’ll be a filthy Christmas’ – mentions of all the tracks you’ll find hung and strategically placed around these here parts starting of with……

Hyper bubble ’Christmas with the Bee Gees’. Taking a break from their ongoing plan to see every discerning indie kids record collection containing at least one of their pristinely and unfeasibly coolly sculptured retro glazed electro throbbed club floor cuties, Jess and Jeff kick back, chill out and get in the mood for some festive impishness with the frankly kooky ’Christmas with the Bee Gees’ – no prizes for guessing that there are plenty of Gibb samples shoehorned into this babe most notably culled from ‘Staying Alive’. Pop heaven for those among you who’ve laid awake at night trying to imagine what the disco demi-Gods would sound like had 70’s electro whiz kids Space cannibalised their trebly tones into a strangely brewed Studio 54 meets Sylvester meets Rick James slice of funk bug bitten folly all neatly tailored to the distinct waft of ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’ tuneage – I know we have – funnily enough after eating Stilton washed down by Port and Guinness mixers. We also heartily recommend that you get your back sides along to their MS page at and hook yourselves up to ‘non biogradable hazardous waste disposable’ – a prime time Human League well on their game and frankly the coolest thing in pop world at this very moment by our reckoning.

The video goes a bit like this….

Eddie Argos and Keith TOTP ‘Mistletoe and Wine’. We suspect that Eddie Argos and face of the underground Keith TOTP have been freely imbibing of the Christmas punch if this re-reading of the Saint Cliff of Richard hit of yesteryear is anything to go by, of course ’mistletoe and wine’ was a Christmas number one back in the days of rickets, shingles and Thatcher (and you thought the pop charts were piss poor now), here its delightfully scuffed up and given a slightly worsened for wear ’n’ tipsy treatment all buckled, bent out of shape and ridiculously ramshackle in a way we here find utterly engaging. Wonder if there are plans to re-wire his entire back catalogue similarly – I can tell you it’d get our vote and respect. (filthy little angels).

Lots of wonderful stuff found adorning our welcome mat when we arrived home this morn armed with breakfast refreshments and the day’s broadsheets, our little Christmas treat for oneself arriving to the sound of much cheer and in the shape of a whopping parcel from Cargo (cheers Craig for sorting out). Inside said box of delights the eagerly awaited Edward Ka Spel ‘dream logik’ vinyl box set. Beta Lactam Ring have done themselves proud on this occasion, ultra limited in nature – we believe there are 400 worldwide – all hand numbered – ours in case you are taking notes is 226 – housed in a rather smart looking 12 x 12 box this is the version that features the entire ‘dream logik’ odyssey spread across four slabs of 12 inch wax and includes the bonus album ’dream logik 3333333333333’ along with matte oil inner sleeve artwork by Jesse Peper. An admittedly pricey artefact but a much welcome addition to any well ordered record collection. Elsewhere we where much lucky to nail the uber limited ’Blood is Red’ 5 LP set put out by Dagored. Word has it that Cargo only received a measly 30 copies of this beauty with orders far out stripping supply. This 250 only box set is sumptuously packaged in a white plastic briefcase with handles and inside contains five 180gm repressed gems featuring Dario Argento related soundtracks that include Goblin’s legendary score for ’Suspiria’, Ennio Morricone’s ’il gatto a nove code’, ’tenebre’, ’profound rosso’ and ’the four velvet flies’ – again ultra pricey but well worth tracking down just for the frankly stunning and arty packaging. Next up two 180gm represses featuring the self titled debut and follow ‘viva’ albums from the Klaus Dinger post Neu experience La Dusseldorf – a trio often criminally overlooked by Krautrock purists, these two legendary cult outings from ’75 and ’78 clearly show a mindset light years ahead of their peers – available via the 4 Men with Birds imprint who you may recall dropped off that excellent Fairport Convention ’lief and liege’ repress a while back. Last up to criminally expensive Elvis related goodies sanctioned by Elvis Unlimited Promotions which should go some way to sugaring the bitter taste of that woeful ’duets’ compilation currently doing the rounds. First up ’Inside Graceland’ – described as a pictorial journey back to the time when Elvis lived in the mansion’ – this soft backed book boasts over 100 previously unpublished photos from the interior of the legendary Presley home, most of the photos taken in ’75 in the company of Elvis’ girlfriend Linda Thompson (who additionally features in many and pens a short foreword) reveal all to well the opulent life style of the King – here you get to see the see the inside of the Piano Room, the Jungle Room, the Trophy Room, Mediation Garden and the Pool Room – strictly for fans only or else interior designers with an obsession for 70’s kitsch. Again extremely pricy but nevertheless excellently packaged is the latest instalment in the ongoing ’Inside….’ series. This particular edition limited to just 2000 copies worldwide focus’ in depth on Elvis’ first cinematic appearance – ’love me tender’. Housed in a distinctive pizza box styled packaging, this set includes a DVD (that includes rare recording / filming shots from New York, trailers, footage from the premiere and the legendary ’speaks in person’ recording which initially featured on the ’truth about me’ single). The ’truth about me’ recording is further featured on a 7 inch slab of vinyl while rounding of the set a lavish and hugely informative 152 book featuring rare photographs and an in depth commentary about the film that includes a positive cornucopia of reprinted fan memorabilia that includes images of related worldwide releases, posters and related marketing memorabilia.

And while we are on the subject (loosely) of Elvis, I’d just like to say that ‘duets’ isn’t bad for what it is, obviously buoyed by the successes of ‘duets’ with Lisa Marie and the live shows (you know the ones – footage of Elvis as a backdrop with the accompaniment by and large of the original session singers and musicians playing in sync which lets face it given the numerous accounts of Elvis‘ last few gigs may well have been preferable viewing when faced with the choice of that or a stoned, bloated and clearly shit faced and out of it King – totally unrecognisable from the man that was). The thing that jars with ’duets’ isn’t the idea or the concept but that cheap overpowering smell of cash in, not with standing the fact that Elvis as a product probably makes more money now than he did when he was alive, this set is a massive slight on the great man’s legacy hell Sony BMG the culprits have even set up a sing with Elvis web site at which we must admit a fair few punters who try out the experience will no doubt make a better fist of things than some of the so called featured femme talent here. Only Gretchen Wilson escapes from the wreckage with any real dignity with her inclusion on ‘merry Christmas Baby’ perfectly complimenting the overall hanged dog spiritual blues tonality of the original while sad to say Olivia Newton John’s visitation to ’o come all ye faithful’ is best viewed as forgettable.

Prized between these little wonders and making much fuss on the doormat was a delightful and much welcomed hand crafted Christmas card from those loveable tykes the Lovely Eggs inside of which making up a dinky crystal ball montage is a CD containing a Christmas treat (‘Tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas’) that you’ll find featured on the latest seasonal blessing (Volume 4 of their annual ‘A very Cherry Christmas’ set) from those rascals over at Cherryade records which all things being well you should find the occasional reference to in this bumper missive. Of course the Lovely Eggs surely need no introductions within these pages, they have for us personally been one of the finds of the year dispatching tenaciously tasty treats with such impeccable cheekiness that they’ve often had cause to leave us all a swoon in their wake. Clearly cuckoo and kooky, loveable rugrats Holly and David are indeed the impishly precocious The Lovely Eggs, having already befuddled our poor hi-fi with several acutely adorable albeit affectionately child like skewed ‘n’ wired day-glo dashed kindergarten releases this year alone for the likes of the much admired Filthy Little Angels imprint and latterly (for the aforementioned) Cherryade (who I think we are write in saying they have signed for now for) they have for us been a breath of fresh air all at once untamed, delightfully disturbed and insanely infectious. Belying a strange brew that sees the winsome elements of early Altered Images blending with the cutesy fey willowy pre-school aura of 70’s children’s TV show ’A Handful of Songs’ – the mix is turned on its head by the occasional growl of sparsely honed fuzzy eruptions and buckling grind fractures to deliciously coat the goo in a decidedly wayward charm which is all topped off by Holly’s clearly barking head in the clouds delivery – overall think Modern Lovers for an Early Learning Centre generation. Tucked under their snake belts comes this little cutie, ‘tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas’ – quite possibly services ‘a very Cherry Christmas’ with arguably its best moment by far, bedded down by an inebriated and dislocated riff chug that at times sounds as though its going to seize to halt, this babe takes its cue from the Plastic Ono Band’s ‘give peace a chance’ and crookedly festoons the Lennon / Ono idealist classic with all manner of dinosaur references courtesy of Holly’s disarming array of yelps, screeches, growls and general insanity. Essential festive fun by our reckoning. Expect great things next year.

Safe to say we’ll be mentioning more of the Cherryade compilation in the next part of this Christmas missive.
Fans of Hancock’s Half Hour will do well to check out the BBC7’s listen again options at where you can savour the festive hilarity of the Xmas 1958 show ‘Bill and Father Christmas’ – it’s the episode where hapless Bill still believing in Father Christmas as an adult receives a shock and regresses back to his childhood with comic consequences for Tony Hancock, Sid James and Hattie Jacques while the 1956 show (again on the listen again option) sees Hancock and Co play host to the kids from the local children‘s home.

Get your arses along to the finest garage / punk / trash pod cast collective on the face of the planet which you can find by redirecting your mouse to in order to sample some Christmas mistreats courtesy of the latest Haunted Shack Theater pod cast – show 5 is the Xmas special a britches filling instalment in the creepy company of Uncle Yah Yah accompanied by a wealth of gruesomely seasonal sounds and macabre movie mentions – this particular episode being headed up by classic film gore ‘black Christmas’ and ‘deranged’ from that golden year 1974 (‘black Christmas’ we believe is being shown on terrestrial TV over the Christmas period via Channel 4).

Staying with the garage punk dudes the last State of Mynd show for the year is packed to the rafters with prime sliced morsels of hip wiggling psych and garage groove – the treats on offer being the Ugly Ducklings whose ‘she ain’t no use to me’ has to be heard, the Lyrics, the Leaves, Harbinger Complex, Wild Uncertainty, the Kinks plus a heap load of mind melting lysergic lovelies from the likes of the Yardbirds, Electric Prunes, Wild Weeds and the Poets.

Those among you loving your sounds a little more smoked and r’n’b in appreciation ought to download the latest edition of Hot Slop – show 36 features oodles of timeless and tasty tuneage ranging from Shorty Long, King Richard and the Poor Boys, Jackie Wilson and Linda Hopkins, Lorraine Chandler, the Supremes, the Pets and more besides. Go fill your boots.

Those of you out there missing your annual fix of Peel Festive 50 should hook up to Dandelion Radio who begin their FF on Christmas day – go to while the great man’s top 10 selection as revealed to Andy Peebles way back in ‘84 is repeated at midnight on Christmas Eve via BBC 6 Music – other radio highlights worth book marking – Phil Spector’s legendary Christmas Album ‘a Christmas gift to you’ is the focus of an hour long feature being broadcast on Christmas Eve on BBC Radio 2 at 20.00GMT – – this album still represents the be all and end all of the Christmas album, many have tried to replicate and surpass and all have failed miserably (for your starter for ten see Brian Wilson). The album itself is a must have addition to any well ordered record collection and as essential as the obligatory tree, decorations and stuffed turkey, squeezed into this seasonal offering are thirteen crystalline snow trimmed pop trinkets all fondly sprinkled with a radiant timeless magic replete with the full on Spector wall of sound handiwork and dimpled with sleigh bells aplenty. Here you’ll find festive follies from the likes of the Ronettes, the Crystals, Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans and of course Darlene Love whose ‘Christmas (baby please come home)’ steals the show.

A clip for Darlene Love doing ‘Christmas (baby please come home)’ goes a lot like this….

Released a year or two ago via Acrobat and well worth tracking down is Mark Lamar’s ‘rhythm and blues Christmas’ best served for those feeling a little blue, these heart heavy mellowing babes should have you weeping your way to the bottom of that stashed away purely medicinal bottle of bourbon, some real tasty slices of bruised tidings of sorrow here from the smoking ‘bring that Cadillac back’ by Harry Grafton to the chilled ‘n’ mooching scat cat groove of the Moonglows’ ‘hey Santa Claus’, tucked between all this some wound licking blues from Lightning Hopkins ‘happy new year’, Floyd Dixon’s ’empty stocking blues’ and the must hear ‘Sonny Boys Christmas Blues’ by Sonny Boy Williamson. Mind you that said its not all down and depressing (well not overbearingly so) – the hymnal ‘its Christmas Time’ from the Five Keys and Louis Armstrong’s ‘cool Yule’ should unhappily see you reliving Christmas’ past.

Sony’s ‘Austin Rhythm and Blues’ has been kicking around for nearly thirty years in various shape and form, a gathering of treats culled from the Austin, Texas scene – this set is a treat serving gathering of talents from yesteryear that includes appearances by the Fabulous Thunderbirds (whose duck walking strut riddled harmonica laced ‘winter wonderland’ is alone worth the entrance fee), Lou Ann Barton chips in with ’please come home for Christmas’ and ’rockin around the Christmas Tree’ – the former will literally crush you, Willie Nelson covering ’blue Christmas’ is an admittedly unexpected treat while not forgetting to mention Sarah Brown and the swing-tastic Charlie Sexton.

Till tomorrow……


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