The Who? Leads To My God, How Long?

Milwaukee radio veteran Karen Dalessandro leaving WKLH for a new gig at Phoenix classic rock station KSLX:

Longtime Milwaukee radio personality Karen Dalessandro is leaving town for a new gig in Phoenix.

Dalessandro, the former country music host who has been on the afternoon drive shift at WKLH-FM (96.5) for more than two years, will be taking over the same gig at another classic rock station, Phoenix’s KSLX-FM starting April 5, AllAccess.com reported Tuesday.

According to OnMilwaukee.com, her last day at WKLH will be March 26.

Dalessandro spent 20 years as a country radio host in Milwaukee at WMIL-FM (106.1). After briefly retiring in 2017 — she was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2015 — Dalessandro joined WKTI-FM (94.5), which had switched to a country-music format. After WKTI flipped to an all-sports format in 2018, she landed at WKLH as a part-time host, going full-time as the station’s host from 3 to 7 p.m. in 2019.

I guess I am coming up on 27 years since I last left Milwaukee.

The first time, of course, was at age 11; then I returned for the University, but when my prospects were uncertain (I had an English/Philosophy degree and a ton of grocery store experience), so I returned to the St. Louis area to live in my mother’s basement until I found myself (three years later, I landed a technical writing position because I was taking programming classes at night, not just because I had a writing degree).

So I have missed this veteran broadcaster’s entire career. She was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame, for crying out loud. And even if I would have been there at the very outset of her career, I was not listening to WMIL. I was listening to the AOR stations at the time. QFM and whatnot.

I listened to WKTI when I was in high school on summer trips to my father’s house and early in my college days, but they played pop music then (and ‘hits’ like Calloway’s “I Wanna Be Rich” pretty much hourly. Like, hourly.

Although WKTI did introduce me to the Triplets, so it’s got that going for me.

But apparently WKTI has gone through two complete format changes in the interim.

I still have my Best of Dave and Carole from WKLH cassette which I have not listened to for a long time. I see that show ended five years ago. I should pull that old comedy tape out whilst I still have a motor vehicle that supports it.

Ah, well, everything passes, and in the twenty-first century, radio stations and radio personalities tend to swap around a lot and disappear.

You can bet my boys, who are exposed to a lot of radio for their age, won’t have the same nostalgia for stations and personalities that a couple generations of their forefathers did.

I Am Old Enough To Get The Allusion

The Low Spark of High-Speed Rail

Ha! An allusion to Traffic!

Alright, alright, alright, I am not old enough to remember that song contemporaneously–the album of the same title came out the year before I was born–but I do remember that album because of Dennis Cast, the assistant manager of the grocery store where I worked through college (one of many assistant managers–and even though it had a couple different names because it had a couple of different owners, but it was the same store to me). I listened to what they called Album Oriented Rock in those days–slightly older hard rock music–and he tried to broaden my horizons by loaning me a couple of cassettes, including The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. To be honest, the long-riffing lightly psychadelic sound of the middle 1970s didn’t do it for me. But I remember the song and have called it up once or twice since.

At any rate, I feel clever.

Also, I should note that I previously mentioned I remembered an episode of My Two Dads from The New Shows of 1987:

My Two Dads; I remember a single episode, where they give a party and try to engage the teens in conversation, and the daughter imagines them as really old.

In that episode, the B.J. and the Bear dad asks if the tween boys thought Steve Winwood did his best work with Traffic. That’s almost an exact quote, but not enough to put in actual quotation marks. Steve Winwood, at the time, had returned to the charts with his comeback songs like “Back in the High Life Again” and “Valerie”. However, it was not something the kids were listening to on their own–back in those days, I think adult attention figured into the charts.

At any rate, what is the article about? The usual highlighting the inefficiencies of light rail mass transit, I suppose. I already know the outlines of the argument, so plugging in this particular set of costs and overruns, which will prove less than the numbers plugged into the articles on this topic next year, doesn’t add much.

But the title took me back a bit. Not all the way back to 1971. Back to 1992, anyway.

And the time I spent on this post is about 12 minutes. The length of the song itself.

Thank you, that is all.

Kim du Toit: Metalhead

So, yesterday, Kim du Toit extolled the virtues of symphonic metal, recommending the works of Nightwish (both Floor and Tarja), Epica, Ayreon, Within Temptation, and Battle Beast (I happened to be listening to their eponymous album whilst reading his post).

No mention of Semblant (whose album Obscura I listened to before the Battle Beast, and who properly is classified as Brazilian death metal, but Mizuho Lin was also trained classically) or Amaranthe.

Also, no pictures, which is unlike him.

So I will remedy that.

Elize Ryd,
Amaranthe
Mizuho Lin,
Semblant
Sharon van Adel,
Within Temptation
Noora Louhimo,
Battle Beast

Also, let us not forget that Amaranthe’s “82nd All The Way” is the best Swedish band cover of another Swedish band’s (Sabaton’s) song about American Congressional Medal of Honor winner Alvin York you’ll hear all day:

Or, as I like to call it, The Plank Song, because when it comes on at the gym, I have to stop what I’m doing to try to do a plank through the whole song. I’m not there yet.

Why I Shop For Records At Antique Malls

As you know, gentle reader, I received a gift certificate from a real record shop for Christmas and went to spend it over the holidays. Was that only two weeks ago? Man, it seems like a long, long time ago.

At any rate, I had just bought a couple Chuck Mangione albums three days earlier while redeeming gift cards with the children, so I was clearly in the mood. But I didn’t find Feels So Good, the album that contains the nine-minute version of the hit song which WSIE plays from time-to-time and what I consider the epitome of light 1970s chill music.

Well, I had a little time to kill yesterday before picking my youngest up from an afterschool activity. Instead of going to Hooked on Books, I went to the nearby antique mall flea market, Ozarks Treasures, to walk off a half hour. I figured if nothing else, I might find some Christmas gifts for 2021’s survivors.

But I found Feels So Good. For $2.

Someone has written TNT over his mouth; they did not selectively blacken teeth. Which is a subtly less offensive defacing.

I might have flipped past this record several times in 2019 and 2020 and only consciously discovered it now as I am building up my Chuck Mangione collection.

The guy behind the counter recognized Chuck Mangione, but only because the cashier said Chuck Mangione played himself in the cartoon King of the Hill several times over that shows run (which ended 10 years ago, old man). Which probably explains why the fellow at the record store recognized the name Chuck Mangione but not the album Feels So Good or the song by the same name. Ay. I am an old man: recognizing the old musicians for their music and not their appearances in animated television shows.

At any rate, a word about the antique mall/flea market market: I have noticed over the late Christmas shopping season and this trip that the stores have a higher than normal number of empty booths. Perhaps the new normal temporarily until these places go out of business completely, the next new normal. The number of booths with records was smaller, too, weighted a bit more heavily to booths with $10 common records versus $2 common records. I saw piles of video media, some booths with DVDs at $1 or $2 (cheaper than buying them at a defunctuating video store, but not the same experience browsing) and some booths with VHS cassettes at $10. So less to look over overall, but still, one always has the chance of finding a steal like I did yesterday.

And You Call Yourselves A Blues Fan

Well, now I have done it.

I mentioned in December that I had heard a song on WSIE sung by Charles Glenn, the former St. Louis Blues hockey national anthem singer–although to be honest, I kind of missed the Charles Glenn era, attending the majority of my games when Edward Curtis, the previous national anthem singer, held the office.

I thought I would buy the album it was on if I could find it, and a couple of Internet searches could not identify the source. I suppose I could have reached out to WSIE, but, c’mon, man, it was a passing fancy.

But sometime between the original post in December and an allusion to the song in a January post, the name of the album appeared on the Soundcloud post. Or maybe it was always there and I just didn’t see it. Regardless, I visited Soundcloud to hear the song, and in another round of searching, I found a copy of it available.

Book coverWhich arrived today.

Nominally, it’s Larry Barker’s, the pianist’s, album with Charles Glenn providing the vocals on a number of tracks. It’s fourteen songs:

  1. “The Character of God”
  2. “John 4:24”
  3. “Octavius”
  4. “All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name”
  5. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
  6. “The Very Thought Of You”
  7. “Deep and Wide”
  8. “O Lord, Draw Near”
  9. “Lord, I Give My Praise To You”
  10. “Ray of Hope”
  11. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”
  12. “My Attorney Bernie”
  13. “On the Street Where You Live”
  14. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

So it’s got a couple of jazz standards, a couple of jazz piano numbers, but it’s mostly hymns, albeit jazzy hymns.

I’ve already listened to it and have passed it onto my beautiful wife because I think she’ll enjoy it.

And I’ve already taken a moment to taunt the Internet that I own this rather collectible bit which I bought from a bookstore in Michigan, apparently, that did not know what it had.

Iced Earth Sells 74 Million Albums

Pro-Trump heavy metal guitarist reportedly identified as Capitol rioter:

A pro-President Trump heavy metal guitarist has been identified as one of the US Capitol rioters, according to a report.

Multiple sources told the Indianapolis Star Wednesday that one of the suspects in the deadly Jan. 6 siege is Jon Schaffer, a founding member of a Florida-based heavy metal band called Iced Earth who is originally from central Indiana.

The article also notes no charges were filed against the artist. Maybe that means yet.

According to Iced Earth’s Web site, they have released like 30 albums and EPs since the founding in 1988. I have never heard of the band, but that’s true for most metal bands, even metal bands with recording contracts and multi-decade careers.

Don’t expect to find Iced Earth on my musical balance posts, though: I’m buying jazz lately, not heavy metal. And by “lately,” I meant this week. Last week was a long time ago. I cannot remember that far unless I look at my purchase history.

But I want you to know, gentle reader, I am keeping up the latest metal news for you.

How I Got My First Jazz Album

So I took the back-up car to drive the youngest to school yesterday, and I have my audio course lectures in the primary vehicle. So I set the audio system to pick up music from my pocket computer.

Instead of my workout playlist, which I tend to stream from my wrist computer when I’m at the YMCA, it started playing a Keiko Matsui album, a light, jazzy tune as I drove along. Suddenly, I’m having a flashback to driving a car in 1996 or so. But it’s not me driving: It’s Philip Marlowe in a video game called Private Eye.


Screenshot courtesy Good Old Days.net

I bought the game at a little PC shop that started out in High Ridge but ended up in Murphy; I had done my own time in a different PC seller before hand. I was driving a grey sedan at the time and had been wearing a fedora for several years by that point. So when I spotted this game, I hopped on it. I remember playing it in the dining room of my aunt’s house in Lemay, where my mother and I lived for a couple of years.

When Marlowe is driving, the game plays a little jazzy music. And I wanted the same for myself.

Although St. Louis had (and has) a jazz station broadcasting from across the river in Edwardsville–WSIE–reception is a bit spotty towards the southern part of the St. Louis area (such as Lemay and later Old Trees when I lived there). So I thought about picking up a jazz album–on CD, as I was not thinking in terms of records then. So I did a little research, perhaps on AOL (lol), and I decided on a saxophone jazz album:

To be honest, my cars at the time did not have a CD player–and I don’t think the grey sedan even had a cassette deck–so I was dependent mostly on the radio for my music listening. So my foray into jazz at that time didn’t go very far. I did end up with a Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald CD, though, by the time I moved to Casinoport–where I could receive WSIE on my radio when it was on the top of the bookshelves and the antenna was pointed just so.

Well, that was a long time ago and many jazz albums ago. Although, as you know, gentle reader, my jazz tastes tend to run to pretty women doing jazz these days, so I haven’t listened to the Coltrane album for a long time. I should probably rectify that. At some point, probably around the turn of the century, my beautiful wife gave me a Coltrane box set which I should listen to as well.

A Mistake Only A Listener of the Local Rock Station Could Make

Sure, who here hasn’t confused Royal Blood:

with Royal Bliss?

I mean, they don’t even sound alike.

But the local rock radio station has been playing them both, and when the former came on the radio, and I mentioned I liked it, kind of, to my beautiful wife who was trapped in the car with me, a couple of teenagers, and a pre-teen. I was very careful and only ninety percent sure I got the name right.

But I did.

And I bought the single “Trouble Coming”–I would have bought the whole album, but it’s not out yet. Which is just as well.

I will leave it to speculate, gentle reader, which is actually the British Royal family and which is the guy and his American wife who left because they didn’t like the attention, only to spend all of their time trying to get attention.

But, Amazon, You Know I Bought Those Items

So I was looking at Semblant’s latest album, Obscura on Amazon and really thought about buying it since their penultimate album is available for $1000, and I even added it to my cart before signing in. I know, everyone is signed into everything all the time except the crazy conspiracy people on the Internet like me. Or, Web software testers who clear their cache and cookies several times a day.

And I got this recommendation from Amazon:

C’mon, man. Amazon, you know I already bought Manifest, Abyss, and Human. :||: Nature.

Of course, Amazon is playing coy, as though it is not using advanced and shady tracking techniques to monitor my every move, click, and time my eyes focus on something in the virtual world and maybe the real one.

Although the recommendation did lead me to Ad Infinitum, which might be worth a listen.

The lead singer, Melissa Bonny, a Swiss miss, looked kind of familiar. Which made me wonder where I’d seen her before. Oh, she’s also in Rage of Light, whom I’ve heard before:

Kind of like Nicoletta Rosellini is in both Kalidia and Walk in Darkness. Even down to the band itself wearing masks.

I have to say, I’m a bit topped up on symphonic metal presently. I’m more looking for numbers I can put on my gym playlist; as I’m going several days a week for an hour or so per, I’m rolling through my existing playlist fairly frequently.

But YouTube’s suggestions are just as amusing:

Semblant, Rage of Light, Accept, Warkings, and…. An Abbott and Costello bit?

I think the algorithms and artificial intelligence is just playing dumb so we don’t know the Internet is alive.

Good Album Hunting, January 2, 2021: An Actual Record Store

For Christmas, my beautiful wife gave me a gift card for $60 to an actual record store downtown, and after taking down the Christmas decorations and cleaning the house, I headed out in the snow to go.

I haven’t been in an actual dedicated record store in…. well, probably since the 1980s, when the music stores were predominantly record stores. This shop, Stick It In Your Ear, has mostly used records but also some new titles–which, as you might know, run $25 or more. So I was prepared to run through the gift card quickly.

Also, browsing Vintage Stock, the antique malls, or the book sales pretty much means flipping through uncategorized, jumbled collections of records and being sometimes pleased with what you find. An organized record shop means I would have to think of an artist first and then look to see if the store had the artist and what by the artist.

I got over my trepidation and went in. And found more than I expected at the worst.

I saw the Chuck Mangione section pretty clearly, but I had trouble finding the Herb Alpert section. I mean, what was he? Jazz? No. 80s/90s? No. Pop? No. He was in the 50s and 60s section along with the bubblegum pop from that era. I had all of the records except the live album Main Event that he did with Hugh Maskela. I had heard a song from this record on WSIE and went looking for it, but it was pretty expensive on Amazon at the time. But I got it for $8.

I could not figure out where Eydie Gorme might be, and so I returned to the Chuck Mangione selection. I mean, it’s only been a matter of days since I got my first Mangione albums, and I wanted more. They had plenty; I got Journey to a Rainbow, Friends & Love (the Chuck Mangione Quartet), Main Squeeze, Eyes of the Veiled Temptress, and the eponymous Chuck Mangione Quartet album.

I did the calculations, and I had a couple albums’ worth of money left, so I got two by trumpeter Maynard Ferguson: Body & Soul and Trumpet Rhapsody.

The records ranged between $4 and $10, which is to say about what they run at the antique malls. So maybe I’ll drop in at the record shop more often. Or maybe I just like hunting for $1 or $3 steals more than buying records on their own.

But the Chuck Mangione records led to a slightly comedic exchange through mandatory speech mufflers.

The record store guy, flipping through and calculating the total: “Ah, Chuck,” as though he was familiar with the oeuvre.
“No Feels So Good,” I said.
“So you came out and bought some records,” he said.
After a beat, I replied, “You don’t have Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione.”
“If we did, it would be in the Chuck Mangione section.”
But I wasn’t asking it as a question.

Ah, well.

I have listened to some of them, but I forget which ones.

I guess I will have to listen to them all over again.

And probably hold off on the record buying until I build another set of record shelving.

Maybe I Should Get To Know My Co-Workers Better

You know, being a remote-first employee means that most of my contact with co-workers is through the phone (not even video calls that much so far). Which means I only get to know my co-workers based on conversations on those calls, or often the snippets I glean from phone calls–my last job had massive phone calls, with lots of people on the phone but only a couple speaking.

So it’s only after I left that I learned that one of my former bosses had a degree in philosophy and wrote and self-published a book about dreams.

Another, apparently, is a musician who has written and recorded a couple of Christian songs on YouTube:

Huh.

And to think, the virtual crowd I fell into at that job was the multi-sport malcreants.

Maybe I should have talked to more people. Maybe next time.

Starting the New Year Off With A New Discovery

Well, a realization. Which should have been obvious.

Diana Krall is not Diane Schuur.

I know, it should be obvious. Really, they’ve both just got a moon goddess first name and a one syllable last name who are jazz singers and pianists. But that was enough to confuse me. Not that I gave it a lot of thought, but….

I mean, they don’t sound that much alike:

Diane Schuur:

Diana Krall:

Diana Krall gets more play on WSIE, though, and every time until I heard her yesterday, I thought she was Diane Schuur. Because the names are close.

My apologies to Mrs. Elvis Costello.

Good Album Hunting: Christmas “Shopping” and Redeeming Gift Cards

Gentle reader, although I have not actually employed the one-for-me, one-for-you Christmas gift buying protocol this year, I did pick up a couple of inexpensive records at Relics the week before Christmas whilst Christmas shopping. I also spotted some Chuck Mangione records at Vintage Stock whilst I was scoping out Pink Floyd CDs for my oldest who has come of that age. As I am still present, I am trying to steer him into more David Gilmour than Roger Waters, but I can certainly speak intelligently about something he likes.

At any rate, on Monday night, we stopped by Vintage Stock for the Chuck Mangione records with the power of a $25 Visa gift card of unknown provenance that has been in my gift card collection for a while.

At Vintage Stock, I bought:

  • Fun and Games, Encore, and Chase the Clouds Away by Chuck Mangione. No “Feels So Good”, his biggest hit I think, because that’s on Feels So Good, but Encore has “The Land of Make Believe” which also appears on WSIE from time to time. I paid $5.99 each for these, which might be a record (ahut!) (actually, no I bought Eddy Grant’s Killer on the Rampage and probably some Tommy Reynolds records for more). But I will definitely enjoy these three records.
  • The Four Freshman, Funny How Time Slips Away. I used to listen to the one Four Freshman album I owned, The Swingers, a lot. Partly because I owned fewer records then. I have bought a bunch of Four Freshmen records since and don’t play them as often. Also, I am not playing records as often.
  • Evie, Come On, Ring Those Bells. You see a lot of Evie records around. She’s a Scandinavian-influenced (second generation Norwegian) Christian music singer from the 1970s. So it might fit in with The Swedish Gospel Singers and The Teen Tones.
  • Two by Al Jolson: “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet” and The Immortal Al Jolson

Anything under four dollars was buy one get one free, so I only paid for one Al Jolson record (at $2.99) and the Four Freshman (Evie was free). The total came to only $24 roughly, so I had some left on the gift card for Barnes and Noble.

At Relics, the week before Christmas, I got:

  • Frank Sinatra, “My Way”. For $2.00. Friends, are we reaching a stage in history where even the young hipsters driving up the price on records everywhere are not driving the price of Frank Sinatra records up? I mean, $2? More for me, then.
  • Henry Mancini, Big Screen, Little Screen movie and television themes. From the Mancini Orchestra and Chorus. I have a tape or two of theirs from when tapes were a thing. I was old before I was old.
  • Frankie Carle, Play One For Me.
  • Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Together: The Genius of The Oscar Winners. Given that Gene Pitney sings, it sounds an awful lot like a country album.
  • Donna Fargo, Shame On Me bought because it has a Pretty Woman on the Cover (PWOC, in the MfBJN nomenclature). Turns out this is mid-70s folk country. As are so many PWOC records in Brian J.’s collection.
  • Perry Como, Close To You and Perry Como Sings Just For You. Now that the Christmas records are put away, these will help ease the transition into the normal record life.

Those were less than $10 after discounts and whatnot.

I have a gift certificate for an actual record store from Christmas, gentle reader, and to be honest, I am not sure how to shop for records. Basically, I tend to acquire LPs browsing through unsorted bins or bundles at thrift stores, book sales, antique malls, and used game and music shops. So to browse records in good condition and that cost real money? I will be lost. I’ll probably find a single Herb Alpert record from the 1980s that I don’t have and that will be that.

At any rate, I think the Chuck Mangione will be the real score of the trip. I need to take another $1 flyer on a band I have not bought before to see if I can find something else to acquire cheaply. Because one day, I will organize my records, and I will be able to pick out something to fit my mood instead of what’s closest to the front of the records that matches my mood. Won’t that be nice?

Now That The Christmas Records Are Put Away

It’s true: At Nogglestead, the lights will be up probably for another week, but the Christmas records get re-sorted to the bottom and back shelves until next year. By which time, I expect I will have gotten more. But that’s neither here nor there.

I didn’t get a chance to comment on this YouTube video, entitled “Cheddar Explains Why Almost All Christmas Music Is From the 1940s and 1950s”, which I saw on Neatorama:

Ah, well, Cheddar explains. Apparently, this is a YouTube channel that explores, explains, and in a brief ten minute clip condenses things for you.

It starts by comparing a Justin Bieber song to Nat King Cole singing “The Christmas Song” and says the only difference is time. Even though you can hear, quite clearly, that the orchestrations are completely different. The video goes on to interview a single expert on camera and circle a paragraph in a New York Times article and to say that, basically:

  • The changing of the music industry from selling sheet music to selling records;
  • Television;
  • World War II;
  • The commercialization of Christmas

All of which can sort of explain why the music of the 40s and 50s remains the stuff of our shared Christmas canon and more recent stuff does not.

Although the YouTube video says that sometimes a song breaks into the canon, like:

I guess Cheddar never heard of Spike Jones, does not own the Reader’s Digest Christmas Through The Years box set, or has not listened to DirecTV’s Christmas station, which plays the 1952 Spike Jones version of this song every night or so:

So, yeah, that comes from the 1950s, too, not a late-breaking 1970s addition to the canon. So, yeah, it looks like the 20-something on YouTube has an obvious gap in the knowledge she’s presenting. Say it ain’t so!

Off the top of my head, what other factors influence this affection for the old songs?

  • World War II and troops away are pat, easy answers to the changes taking place in the 1940s and 1950s. Other changes across the country include electrification of rural areas and the actual transition from many rural people from carts and sleighs to cars. Not to mention urban population movements and migrations. So many of the most urban of people remembered sleighs, carts, and some of the trappings of simpler Christmases with family in the country–unlike our second-hand memories of the songs talking about them. These people in the 1940s and 1950s hearkened back to that time when they were young, and that’s how Christmas was.
     
  • After the 1940s and the 1950s, the sound of popular music changed. They went from big band orchestrations and crooners to smaller arrangements with a guitar or two, drums, and a singer–rock and roll. The transition wasn’t immediate and simple, but if you flip through the music charts, you’ll see what I mean. So even when people released Christmas albums, the new kids didn’t generally sound like the things people had heard on their radios back in the day.
     
  • Let’s talk about the content of the modern Christmas songs. All the way back to “Blue Christmas”, “This Christmas I Spend With You” (shudder), “Hey, Santa”, and the new canon “All I Want For Christmas Is You” are songs about the singer and the significant other. Not the singer and family. I cannot emphasize enough that the most resonant Christmases, er, resonate because they’re shared with family, not just the significant other (see also the film The Family Man, which is actually a Christmas movie but forgotten for some reason). The ones I remember most are from my youth that I spent with my parents and the ones that I have spent with my own children. So of course songs that play up the family will hit me and the Christmas music consumer more than ones about being young and in love (although, I hasten to say, I am still both). It’s kind of like how pop music (and country music to a lesser extent) has narrowed even in the most recent decades to targeting a very young demographic. So, yeah, these songs are not going to be favorites throughout the years.
     
  • Also, the music industry has diversified greatly in the last decades; the popular songs on the radio (the music expert in the Cheddar video says radio drives popular music–really? In 2020? I am unconvinced) and the popular songs on the charts sell far fewer copies than popular music of the previous decades. So even if you write a “popular” song, a lot of people aren’t going to hear it, and it won’t reach a critical mass of “canon.” Not to mention that songwriters looking for a payday are no longer writing songs for the movies–many examples from the Cheddar video, such as “White Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” were written for movies. Instead, they’re writing for the clubs and for the WAP fans. That’s where the money is. Not music a family can share, even though Christmas songs and Christmas records represent a good backlist item to have.

This blog post, too, is not really enough to explore in great detail all the forces that made those songs from that transitional time so resonant (that word again!) with the generation that experienced the transitions in the early part of the twentieth century and how their appreciation of those songs carried through the generations–their children (the Baby Boomers) and their children’s children (us) and onto our children (the people making YouTube videos as ways to share “knowledge”). But it recognizes the complexities the Cheddar video misses.

Now that I’ve finished this post, I can put the last of the Christmas music on the back shelf in my head, too.

Managing the Christmas Playlists at Nogglestead

As you know, gentle reader, I have numerous Christmas albums acquired over decades (well, I inherited some eleven years ago and have added to the stash since) and I have a working record player this year. So am I listening to Christmas records 24/7? Unfortunately, no–as I am not spending much time in the kitchen/parlor/living room area where you can hear the records on the record player.

Instead, I have been listening to other, more limited, playlists of Christmas songs in other venues.

I started with the local Christmas radio station. This year, 106.7 The River (don’t ask me the call letters–radio stations rarely mention them any more, and you can’t spell “River” from any combination thereof) started very early–the beginning of November–to get a jump on 105.9 KGBX (all right, make a rule and suddenly there’s an exception). As a radio station, it focuses more on the secular songs of Christmas and the more recent poppy versions of them. It mixes in a little Perry Como and Bing Crosby, but not a lot. Since it was the first source of Christmas music at my disposal, I let the radio play a lot, and after a couple of nights of a couple of hours at dinner and thereafter, we got very familiar with the radio-sized playlist–which is to say, it’s not very big.

At night, in the recliner, I used my phone to play some of the albums I have in CD form streaming to a Bluetooth speaker. Unfortunately, my set of Christmas CDs is pretty limited: Erin Bode’s A Cold December Night; Alberti’s Merry Christmas; Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Christmas Album; Jessy J’s California Christmas; Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas, Christmas Extraordinaire, and Christmas in the Aire (as I mentioned); and Natalie Cole’s Holly and Ivy. I was starting to think of this as the “The Holly and the Ivy” Christmas as the song was over-represented in the CD streaming rotation (that is, Erin Bode and Natalie Cole sang it repeatedly).

At the end of November, I remixed our audio equipment here, which allowed me to spin records and stream the DirecTV more traditional Christmas station through the speakers downstairs.

Well, a couple nights of addressing Christmas cards made me very familiar with the satellite provider’s Christmas list which is almost as small but different than the radio’s.

For example, perhaps the person who programmed the playlist is a bigger fan of Robert Goulet than Fillyjonk, but you get multiple tracks every night, including “This Christmas I Spend With You”:

I mean, topically, it’s not that different from Natalie Cole’s “No More Blue Christmases”:

However, the Goulet song sure does have an “I’m God’s gift to you” vibe, ainna? As you might remember, gentle reader, I actually have that album, and we play it once every year just because we have it (kind of like the Mario Lanza Christmas album we have). I don’t actually think we made it through the whole album yet this year, but with the satellite television music playlist, we’ve probably listened to more Goulet Christmas music overall than ever before.

Another song in heavy rotation is “Up on the Housetop”. The satellite music playlist includes several versions, including the one by the Jackson 5:

So it’s not uncommon to hear the song several times a night. Which is more striking because I was not familiar with the song before this year, but I am now. My boys know it–the youngest sings along with it–but it’s not heavily represented on the records I own, and if you hear the Jackson 5 on a Christmas radio station, it’s probably “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. I know it because I’ve heard it a bunch.

The satellite radio station also plays selections from Ella Fitzgerald, but Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney” is in such heavy rotation that we’re sick of it. And Allan Sherman’s “12 Days Of Christmas”, another song I was not familiar with. And the Spike Jones Orchestra renditions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”. So novelty Christmas songs go way back, but you can have way too much of them.

Additionally, WSIE has worked some Christmas music into its playlist, which is kind of nice as the playlist has seemed to shrink quite a bit towards the end of the year–but it’s not that broad, either. Maybe when I drop them my annual contribution, they’ll be able to afford additional music.

So what have I done?

I have worked to switch between the Christmas music sources frequently enough to keep them fresh. As we’re only a couple days away from Christmas itself, I think I’ll make it without being driven crazy. Because although we will probably have the trees lit until New Years weekend, the Christmas music comes pretty much to a full stop on December 26 here at Nogglestead.

Kind Of Not A Christmas Song At All

Morten Harket, “A Kind of a Christmas Card”:

Does that sound like the lead singer of a-ha to you? And to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of the poet-narrator, as he sings:

All you folks back home
I’ll never tell you this
You’re not supposed to know
Where your daughter is

And later:

Just think of the girl I used to be
You were my age once, mama

Is he singing about the daughter? Was he the daughter? In this timeline, the song from the 1995 album Wild Seed is smack dab between “Lola” and “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” and 2020, man.

The rest of the album sounds more like the voice of a-ha, though, and it occurs to me that although I have his first English solo effort (the aforementioned Wild Seed, he has released six solo albums, all the way up to 2014. Perhaps I will think to get them when I am feeling profligate.

Apparently, I Do Not Own All Of Her Albums

So I have been thinking about writing some more Christmas album reviews, since they’re popular parts of the deep content here around Christmas time, and I have been thinking of including CDs I own instead of just record albums. Of course, I was thinking about that because I was without a means of playing records until I recombined the electronics here in late November. So, clearly, the idea of resurrecting the Christmas album reviews is another plan I’ve meant to put into action but have not yet.

Not being able to listen to the records meant I piped things from my phone a bunch, which is why I had been listening to Christmas CDs (ripped and streamed). One of them is Erin Bode’s A Cold December Night which opens with a song called “Skating”.

Continue reading “Apparently, I Do Not Own All Of Her Albums”

Metal Makes Everything Better

As you know, gentle reader, I have often postulated that metal makes all music better and have pointed out how much better Leo Moracchioli’s covers sound than the originals (see Transgenre Music from 2018 and many, many postings in the Legion of Metal Friends Facebook group or build a time machine to travel back to the Redeemer Trunk or Treat in 2018 where we did a heavy metal concert theme and played Frogleap Studios on a loop).

Well, B.P. has a more thoughtful post called Making Metal Out Of Rock which makes the same point, albeit with significantly less Noregianness.