YuleTube, various artists (Mistletunes)
Mistletunes.com celebrates another Christmas season with its traditional compilation curated by yours truly, Rudolph. I must admit I was tempted to go political this year, but such potential titles as "O Tannenbama" and "I Can See the North Pole From My House" were shot down in favor of the simple and sharp title illustrated at left. As Jackie Gleason used to say, "And away-y-y we go."
"Holly Jolly Christmas," Hillbilly Casino — The Burl Ives classic gets a nice uptempo 50s rock 'n roll treatment from this Nashville band.
"Baby, It's Christmas," The Singles — These guys are from Detroit, a power-pop trio with a modernized mid-60s sound who said what the heck and put out a Christmas single this year.
"It's Christmas Time Ebenezer," The Len Price 3 — British rockers reinterpret the Charles Dickens classic story from inside their Medway Towns garage.
"Feliz Navidad ," Los Lonely Boys — Willie Nelson's favorite band put out a whole Christmas CD this year, and we chose their take on the Jose Feliciano hit for this mix.
"Not So Merry Christmas," Raul Malo — The former singer for the Mavericks (see, bypassed another political tie-in) goes all Roy Orbison on this original cry-in-your-eggnog number.
"Love Came Down at Christmas," Jars of Clay — Things get a little more serious with this original number from the popular Christian rockers.
"Come On Santa," The Raveonettes — This male-female duo's sound mashes up Phil Spector, spaghetti Western and horror movie soundtracks — a perfect sound for the holidays, right?
"The 12 Days of Christmas," Straight No Chaser — We don't normally do glee clubs on the Mistletunes mix, but this performance has notched nearly 9 million views on YouTube. You'll understand why once you hear this.
"All My Bells Are Ringing," Lenka — The music world has been overrun with alterna-divas lately, possibly due to the influence of the music directors at "Grey's Anatomy." This sprightly little number comes from Hotel Cafe, a whole disc's worth of the better-known ones doing Christmas songs.
"Christmas Don't Be Late," Poor Bailey — Better known as "The Chipmunk Song," in honor of the original artists. Maybe if folks keep playing this song, hula-hoops will come back. (For entertainment use only, managment disavows all knowledge of bar bets or stock trades based on this observation.)
"Someday at Christmas," Jack Johnson — The surfer-singer-songwriter-record company mogul reaches back to the Motown days for this Stevie Wonder song, rendered in a stripped-down acoustic arrangement.
"This Christmas," Bray — Donny Hathaway's best-remembered tune appears on nearly every soul singer's Christmas album, so I thought it was time that a rock band took a shot at it, and these guys agreed.
"Christmas At My House," Rahsaan Patterson — The former member of the "Kids Incorporated" cast knocks out this holiday special with a strong flavor of Prince.
"Please Be Patient," Feist — The "1 2 3 4" girl performed this comic tune on the Stephen Colbert Christmas special, a meditation on angels handling prayers the way tech support handles your computer questions to the tune of "Angels We Have Heard On High."
"Look To the Light," Erran Baron Cohen — We're always good for at least one tune for the Festival of Lights, and this is from the album Songs In the Key of Hanukkah. Cohen is not well-known, but his brother Sasha, the star of "Borat," is.
"Santa's Lost His Mojo," Jeremy Lister — Another non-country music performer who lives in Nashville, this song addresses the effects job burnout has had on the jolly elf over, oh, 2,000 years or so. Sorta makes a midlife crisis look like a walk in the park, doesn't it?
"Why Can't It Be Christmastime All Year," Rosie Thomas — She's an independent alt-folk-pop performer with a yen for 365 Christmases a year. And who can blame her.
"A Message For You Santa Claus," Faroff — DJ skillz make their debut on the Mistletunes mix this year with this cool mash-up of The Specials' "A Message To You Rudy" and Augie Rios' "Donde Esta Santa Claus."
"Santa Baby," Jacqui Naylor — Back before the invention of Pro Tools, this is how us old folks did mash-ups. Jacqui plays the riff from Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Maker" behind the Eartha Kitt classic.
"We Three Kings," Boxmasters — Billy Bob Thornton's new band takes this popular carol uptempo with a rockabilly beat.
"I Ate Too Much Over the Holidays," Lee Shot Williams — A 70s-style soul ballad about the oldest holiday complaint in the book — even older than Bill O'Reilly's.
"Santa Claus Is Freaking Me Out," Lord Weatherby— Don't know anything about this slightly paranoid guy, but if you listen to this long enough, you might start thinking that, like Alan Keyes, this guy is actually making sense.
"Shop Till You Drop," Randy Bachman — America's leading winter sport is the subject of the former Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Guess Who guitarist's latest Christmas original.
"Blitzkrieg Santa," Divide & Kreate — Another mash-up, this puts Michael Jackson's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" over top of the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop."
"Hooray For Santa Claus," Fleshtones — From this 30-year-old punk-garage band's first Christmas album, this is the "hit" song from the classic bad sci-fi movie "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians." And this is where I'll leave you until next Christmas.
Eras: The Beginning, The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties, The 21st Century
Genres: Reggae, Soul/R&B, Rap, Blues, Punk, Surfin' Xmas, Tropical
Novelties: Fifties and Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties, The 21st Century
Compilations: Regular Comps, Charity Comps, Soundtracks
Special Reports: Recent Releases, Hanukkah, Miscellaneous