December 2007

Kelsey Briggs Story


This time of year we find a lot of bittersweet stories of strife in the world. Along the way, you get a smile and can see happiness in someone's eyes, but it is a constant battle between good and evil. The other day, someone sent this YouTube video about little Kelsey Briggs to me and it made me stop and think about how this could have been you or I, or a child we knew and loved. The children are the innocent ones who suffer in abuse situations. They have no real way of protecting themselves from the evils that betray the world. Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" fits perfectly with this video, so get our your kleenex, please. But, more importantly, there is so much need in the world that during the Holiday perhaps you can find someone who needs a helping hand, or a lift of soul, and reach's the greatest gift one could give.

Record Weirdo: Revenge of the Christmas Records

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It's that time of year again. We all have our own traditions to celebrate the birth of Santa Claus. One of my traditions is to re-run my stale old Favorite Christmas Records column. You're welcome. As a very special treat this year, I will throw a few more presents under the tree.

Like this one:
"The elves are dressed in leather
And the angels are in chains
The sugar plums are rancid
And the stockings are in flames"

Sorry, that's as good as it gets. This 7" single from 1984 doesn't quite capture the magic of the movie, but nothing does.

On a more traditional note, we have Der Bingle. This is quite a nice little artifact, even though some lunkhead wrote "AUlD LANG SYNE" on Bing Crosby's furry hatband. It doesn't bother me so much when people write on record sleeves, but what really irks me is when people write in ALL CAPS - except for the the letter "L." For example, the phrase "ALL CAPS" would look like "All CAPS" and the word "AULD" looks like "AUlD." Didn't you pay attention in First Grade when they taught all that stuff about upper and lower case letters? I see you used a capital L in "LANG" so you know what one looks like, don't you? If you're going to be wrong, at least be consistent.
Christmas with the devil indeed.
Anyway, back to Bing Crosby. This record was probably given away in the 50's to demonstrate the new GE "Trimline" stereo record players which are advertised so stylishly on the back. I like that one side is in mono and the other is in stereo.

Here a nice 45 from 1982. The Dave Edmunds version of "Run Rudolph Run" is fairly faithful to the Chuck Berry original. It's almost as good as the Keith Richards version, but I don't have that.

The Kinks "Father Christmas"
This is a nice heart-warming story of Santa's English counterpart getting mobbed by a bunch of kids demanding money and saying "we'll beat you up if you don't hand it over." If Bing Crosby wanted to really endear himself to the rock and roll generation, he should have covered this song instead of doing that "Little Drummer Boy" duet with David Bowie.

The Dickies "Silent Night"
I thought I had this one, but I can't find it. It's still comforting to know it exists somewhere.

In the Long Playing (LP) record category, we have:
"An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas" from 1986. It's a nice compilation with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lou Ann Barton, Charles Sexton, and other known notables. It's pretty good and worth looking for.

Remember CD's? They were all the rage in the 90's.
Here's an interesting relic from 1991 - "The White Christmas Album" compilation from Doctor Dream Records, the now-defunct label based in Orange, CA.
It kicks off in fine form with "Little Drummer Boy" as performed by Joyride. I think that this recording captures their live sound better than their albums did. Another highlight here is The Cadillac Tramps version of "Santa Claus is Back in Town." Other than those two songs, nothing really jumps out.

Booker T. & The MG's "In the Christmas Spirit"
This one gets almost as many spins as "The Ventures Christmas Album." Nice late-night Christmas Eve listening.

Ringo Starr "I Wanna Be Santa Claus"
He's got my vote. Stellar versions of "Winter Wonderland" and "Blue Christmas." Does he sing "Little Drummer Boy?" Yes he does.
Ringo is no Der Bingle, but then again, Bingo is no Der Ringle.

1. Make plans with a good friend who you talk to just about every week, but you haven't seen in FOREVER to see Will Hoge, who you both love, but the last time you saw him was at SXSW in Austin, Texas in 2005, and Will was wearing a black beret. That kind of freaked you out, but you still loved his show. So when you found out he was playing at The Troubadour, ON YOUR NIGHT OFF, you knew there was no way you weren't going to be there.

2. Laugh hysterically at the parking attendant who assumes that because you drive a monster truck, you should be addressed as "Sir."

3. Be prepared for Will to start his set with his INTENSE ballad, "When I Can Afford to Lose." Then be prepared for him to rock your ass off.

4. Try not to cry when you realize the reason he sings, "Dirty Little War," so powerfully is because he wrote it about his parents.

5. Don't be too disappointed when you realize they aren't joking when they say his set will only be 45 minutes long. He is the opening act, after all.

6. Cheer like crazy.

7. After the show, hang out at The Arsenal, in the dining room (not in the main room - way too freaking noisy in there). TRY THE SWEET POTATO FRIES. And also drinks. The Hot Pink Squirrel is really good.

8. Get propositioned as you leave The Arsenal. Accept a business card from "Aaron," who offers you "party favors," or to go home with you. Said business card reads that "Aaron, The Handyman With Hand Made Toys" is a "Toy Maker & Racing Mechanic," who does "Carpentry, Cabinetry, Electrical, Home Repairs & Restoration, Plumbing Painting & More." His phone number is 310-270-1190, and his pager number is 310-845-0240.

9. Make plans to see Will when he comes back to Los Angeles in January. Make a mental note that he'll be at the Vault 350 in Long Beach on Thursday, January 24th and at Spaceland on Friday, January 25th. He'll be doing full sets at those shows, so maybe you won't be quite so sad when his show is over.

Spade High School Last Graduation

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The Texas Reporter has some amazing stories that are posted out on YouTube. This story about the last graduation of Spade High School in Texas will surely touch your heart. Check out all the rest of the Texas Reporter videos too.

Seven Days and Seven Dogs ( A Dog-u-Mentary)

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Some of you know how much I love animals and that I try to help out some of my friends who have non-profit organizations such as Critter-Crossings in Northern California. And so, I fell in love with this sweet YouTube story and had to share!