Rocker Magazine’s Cool Yule Tunes for 2017 + a 3 hour holiday playlist!
It’s time for the annual he said/she said Rocker Christmas playlist from Brett and Amy who both love holiday music in all of its goofy glory. This year’s selections include some new, soon to be Christmas classics; some garage rockers; some songs from musicians we lost this year (Rest in Peace David Cassidy and Tom Petty) and some songs you might not know yet.
And there’s a Spotify link that has not only this year’s songs but also compiles all of the previous he said/she said Christmas lists starting in 2013. Not all of the songs were available and some substitutions were made but we think you’ll be pretty happy with over 3 hours of Rocker Magazine’s Cool Yule Tunes.
So I’m starting this holiday season playlist with a brand new song from Skinny Lister. It’s a sweet song that urges let us be together as Christmas Calls. If you haven’t heard of Skinny Lister check them out, especially if you’re a fan of the Pogues. They’ve been around since 2009 and are so much fun live. Fun fact about this video, it was shot in Super 8.
Skinny Lister “Christmas Calls”
Lovely song there, Amy. Since you’ve started us off on an uplifting note, I’m going to take that a little higher with some vintage Christmas funk. The Chambers Brothers wished us “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” in 1971, about a year after their classic “Time Has Come Today.” They got a mighty groove going on here, and they only need to chant the title and shake some jingle bells to turn it into a seasonal gem. By the way, this is one of the few vintage Christmas 45’ws that’s never been reissued on CD, so thank the Lord for Youtube.
Chambers Brothers “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year”
Very cool and funky, this definitely deserves a cd or a digital download. Okay, so I’m going back to 1971 too, with the best selling Christmas album of that year. This is a celebration of someone we lost this year, David Cassidy, including me. All the girls loved Keith Partridge. Here’s the opening track from A Partridge Family Christmas Card, My Christmas Card to You. This song surprisingly was never featured on the tv show.
The Partridge Family “My Christmas Card to You”
And you of course knew that I would have to follow up the Partridge Family with the Cowsills. Here’s a lovely track they recorded in the early ’90s, when they were just making their comeback as a modern power-pop band. Brother Bob Cowsill wrote this one, sister Susan sings it, and it was recorded right around the time she became one of the Continental Drifters. You’re definitely a Scrooge type if this one doesn’t warm you’re heart just a little,
The Cowsills “Christmastime (A Song for Marisa)”
Tracey Thorn released a gorgeous Christmas album in 2012 called Tinsel and Lights. Do you remember the band Everything But the Girl? yup, same singer.This is Tracey’s rendition of the Ron Sexsmith song. It’s such a beautiful and a little wistful song, just lovely.
Tracey Thorn “Maybe This Christmas”
Before we jack things up a bit, let’s visit the acoustic realm. Since I got to see Hot Tuna this month (thank you, Rocker magazine), here’s a jolly seasonal tale from the Tuna and Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. “Christmas Rule” is a little talking blues about what happens when you light a fire on Christmas Eve, then a pissed-off guy with a burned-up sleigh comes knocking at your door. In this tune Jorma and his pickup truck save Christmas, and he does some nifty fingerpicking to boot.
Jorma Kaukonen “Christmas Rule”
Garage rockers The Woggles bring a little Christmas joy with their ode to the man in red with Santa’s Comin’ Ho Ho Ho. First let’s talk about how awesome this video is. Santa rides a scooter instead of a sleigh. The Woggles wake up Christmas morning in their pjs to open gifts of booze, coal, guitars, amps and drums. Love this band. Love this song.
The Woggles “Santa’s Comin’ Ho Ho Ho”
Okay then Amy, like the guys in that movie said, it might get loud! One of the most raucous holiday tunes I know is this gem by our pals the Fleshtones, who did a full Christmas album a few years ago. The best track on its had a guest shot from Hoodoo Gurus leader Dave Faulker, and everybody gets to live out their AC/DC fantasies for Christmas. “Six White Boomers” is all about Santa finding an alternative mode of transportation. And in case you’re wondering what the title refers to, they even provide an explanation at the start of the song.
The Fleshtones “Six White Boomers”
Ahhh…The Fleshtones, one of my all time favorites. I also love their song, Super Rock Santa from the same EP, so much fun. Next up is Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.This song was first featured on 1992’s A Very Special Christmas 2 which benefited the Special Olympics. We lost Petty in October this year at the age of 66.This song makes me wish that the Traveling Wilburys had released a Christmas album.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Christmas All Over Again”
As many faithful Rockers will have heard, the great Americana label Bloodshot put out a Christmas compilation album this year, with festive tunes by the likes of Kelly Hogan and Jon Langford. One of the highlights is a track by one of our favorite Boston artists, and one of the most righteous vocalists anywhere, Barrence Whitfield. But alas, nobody’s yet seen fit to put “Papa Barrence’s Christmas” up on Youtube, so we’ll have to save that one for next year. Meanwhile, here’s Barrence with a seaonal tune operformed a few years ago at a Christmas gala in Arlington’s famous Regent Theatre (You can practically see my house from there). “Christmas Day” is basically his old favorite “Big Mamou” with slightly different lyrics, but no complaints from us.
Barrence Whitfield “Christmas Day”
Yes, the new Bloodshot Records Christmas cd is pretty darn great. I also looked for a video to post here and came up with this quirky litlle tune from Devil in a Woodpile. But this isn’t my song choice, You Trashed My Christmas by the Primitives is (you can read Rocker’s interview with Paul from the Primitives HERE). It’s a joyful song about having your heart broken at Christmastime. I love the retro feel to the song and the video. Singer Tracy Tracy’s voice still sounds awesome even after 30+ years.
Devil in a Woodpile “The Pagans Had It Right”
The Primitives “You Trashed My Christmas”
Since the world turned upside down in a few ways this year, Christmas is always a good time to reconnect with the things in life that really matter. For that we turn to the world’s greatest garage band, the Sonics, whose seasonal tune “Santa Claus” expresses some truly timeless, inspirational sentiments: “I want a brand new car…A twangy guitar…A cute little honey…And LOTS of money!” Kinda gets you right here. The poor guy in the song just winds up getting nothin’ for Christmas but every year beings new hope, doesn’t it?
The Sonics “Santa Claus”
Did you know that Cracker recorded a Christmas song? Yup, they did from back in 2002. Not the most upbeat song considering about a lost love (who’s Emily anyway?). I will say that I love the line about getting drunk at the Rusty Nail cause that was a bar near my college where I got to see Billy Bragg. Good times!
Cracker “Merry Christmas Emily”
So that’s it for this year. We could have kept going cause there were a whole bunch of Christmas songs we didn’t get to. Until we Fa La La La Laaaa again. Merry Merry and Happy Happy!
Spotify: Rocker Magazine’s Cool Yule Tunes Playlist