They’re drilled into our minds, in most cases, beginning before the table is even cleared from the remains of Thanksgiving turkey: Christmas carols. Sometimes as early as late October (for which I think the song Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas should actually be a Halloween song). Inescapable this time of year, these seasonal songs are as much a part of the holiday time as the Christmas tree and Santa Claus. For this Fav Five, I’d love to share some sanity saving selections that are bit different than the average tinsel time tune. Having enjoyed a childhood listening to the dulcet tones of Doctor Demento, I’d like to share some personal favorites that shine because they evoke laughter and break from the normal saccharine sounds of the solstice season.
Dr. Demento – Holiday in Dementia
With classic novelty hits like Bob Rivers Comedy Corporation’s The Twelve Pains of Christmas, Father Guido Sarucci’s Santa’s Lament, and Spike Jones’ Happy New Year, this mix of merry madcap mirth is the perfect primer for an introduction to the joy that is holiday novelty music. A personal favorite, mostly because it could often be seen performed at Disney’s The Adventurers club is Mona Abboud’s The Pretty Little Dolly (as seen on the Johnny Carson show).
Rhan Wilson –The Return of an Altered Christmas
If there was a Christmas comedy album that felt like something out of SNL or Second City TV, it would be Rhan Wilson’s Altered Christmas and its far superior second outing: The Return of an Altered Christmas. From a Twilight Zone style send up about fruitcake and a hilarious jazzy cover of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (from the sobbing perspective of a family member), this album is fun filled delight to listen to each year for its diverse and well played gags and smart humor. Here is a live performance of the brilliant cover of Santa Claus is Coming to Town:
Various – Jingle Spells: Leaky’s Rocking Christmas 2007
Fans of J.K. Rowland’s wizarding world will enjoy this winter wonderland of Potter themed Christmas covers. Voldey Baby, the Twelve Days of Wizard Christmas, and O Holey Night are just a few of the magical numbers on this first of seven (so far) CDs from artist like The Moaning Myrtles, the Whomping Willows and Harry and the Potters.
HP Lovecraft Historical Society – A Very Scary Solstice
For some real Yule-tide madness lend your ear to songs like Silent Night, Blasphemous Night, Do You Fear What I Fear, and Oh Come All Ye Dead Ones. Lovecraft fans, especially, will be delighted with how the 25 carols contribute to the holiday madness this time of year is sure to bring with this album (and its follow up, An Even Scarier Solstice).
Midnight Syndicate: Christmas – A Ghostly Gathering
More naughy than novelty – this dark Christmas creeper is a must have for any Midnight Syndicat fan. With holiday classics like Carol of the Bells, Greensleeves and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen receiving Syndicate’s signature spooky treatment, Christmas – A Ghostly Gathering wonderfuly weaves its atmospheric amazement to make a majestic and macabre match to the long dark nights and bitter cold days that make up winter.
BONUS Extra:Kris Knight – A Scary Little Christmas
Haunted Mansion fans are sure to recognize a rift or two in the Carol of the Bells. Dark tones and December favorites blend beautifully in this piano solo album, lending to a nice relaxing release after a harrowing day of holiday shopping. Other tunes with that subtle spooky spin include Frosty (Gets a Tan) and Wreck the Halls. (the entire CD is a only $5; check it out here)
Christmas time is probably the only holiday to have so many varied styles, artists and selections dedicated to choose from and enjoy this wonderful time of year. Tis the season for merriment and I hope this Fav-five list, naughty or nice, brings a smile to your heart this holiday.
For those wanting to stuff the stockings with these silly songs, most are available on Amazon
Holidays in Dementia can be found here
Jingle Spells can be found here
A Very Scary Solstice can be found here
Christmas-A Ghostly Gathering can be found here