Stubbys House of Christmas       
 
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I've been working on our end of the year favorites, but that old time crunch is making it a slower process than I'd like.  So, to keep you company in the meantime, here's a video from one of them.  The New Royalty's "Spend Christmas With Me" was released back in August, so maybe you've forgotten how great they are.  We'll remind you with "I Believe It's Christmas Time".

 
 
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Here's an awesome New Year's song from The Mercy Brothers.  The Mercy Brothers are a pair of Boston artists, vocalist Barrence Whitfield and instrumentalist Michael Dinallo.  Born Barry White (but we already had one of those), Barrence is best known from his energetic Blues Shout/Rockabilly work with Barrence Whitfield & The Savages.  As one half of The Mercy Brothers, Barrence demonstrates that he's equally at home with acoustic Country Blues.

"The New Year Blues" was included on the album "Strange Adventure", originally released in 2003.  Like so much good American music, The Mercy Brothers were far more popular in Europe than the US and their album was reissued overseas in 2006 and 2008 with some bonus material.  You can still get the album from CD Baby, though individual digital tracks are not generally available from the mainstream outlets any more.

Unlike a lot of New Year's songs, there's no nostalgia for the old year in this one.  "It's been hell to know ya," Barrence sings, "So good to see ya go.  Can't get no worse, but, then, you know, it's been hell to know ya.  So good to see ya go."  I do know the feelin'.

This performance was recorded at a radio station in the Netherlands in 2006.  The acostics aren't the greatest, but the song is good enough to overcome those limitations.  Anyway, I think it is.

 
 
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As the New Year approaches, and with Christmas 2012 seeming already to be fading in the rear view mirror, it's only natural that many obsessive Christmas music lovers think it's time to kick back and take a few months off.  Well, get that thought right out of your head!  "Nothing is over until we decide it is!  Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  Hell, no!"

Now's the time to start planning for next year, to catch up on stuff that we missed (we've got a couple of new entries on the Previews page, including the annual Zunior Christmas compilation), to grab those free downloads while they're still free, and to help fund those projects that will make next Christmas the bestest Christmas ever!  "Who's with me? Let's go!"

.........

"What the eff happened to the Stubby's readership I used to know?  Where's the spirit?  Where's the guts, huh?  This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst.  'Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Stubby, we might get in trouble.'  Well, just kiss my ass from now on.  Not me!  I'm not gonna take this."

Sorry, got carried away.  I do love Animal House.

Point is, there's work to be done.  Music to find and projects to fund.

We're in the Home Stretch of the Indiegogo funding drive for Mitchell Kezin's amazing movie, "Jingle Bell Rocks!"  It's a movie about us--we crazy obsessive Christmas music hunters--and the music we love, for Christmas sake.  There's only 4 days left--tick--3!  Just THREE days left!  And Mitchell's not even at 10% of what he needs to finish this movie.  Where's the support from the Stubby's readership?  Where's the love?  I'm ashamed of you.  And you.  And...no, not you, not you...but that guy...yes, YOU!  Unlike Kickstarter, (I'm pretty sure) Mitchell doesn't have to raise the full amount for your pledges to count.  But every penny really counts, because, in the end, he needs what he needs to make this movie.  You better be good, for goodness sake.  How bout ponying up a little bit of that Christmas cash, eh?

Alright, OK, I can see this hard sell isn't working.  We'll have to resort to....bribery!  Bob Dorough, Jazz and Beat legend, the author (and vocalist) of Miles Davis' immortal "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)", has kindly donated 5 (FIVE) personally autographed copies of his exceptional (and impossible to find) book and CD package, Blue Xmas. And Mitchell will give those bribes--er, rewards--to the first five people who contribute $125 or more to the campaign.  For more info, check the updates section at Indiegogo.

So what are we waiting for?  "I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part and we're just the guys to do it!"  THREE days left, people.  

Now, this rant was written with a bit of tongue in cheek.  It's a--I say, I say--it's "hugh-muh", son.  But, really, "Jingle Bell Rocks!" is a movie about us, about our prides and passions.  It's about us, it's for us, it's our movie.  Don't you want to be a part of it?  You'll never have to explain to your friends and relatives ever again, as they roll their eyes (mentally mocking you) why we do what we do.  You can tell them, "Just watch the movie."  Check my previous rant here.  THREE days left people.  Go to Indiegogo, now, and give what you can.  Don't make me come back here with Sarah McLachlan and a bunch of sad-eyed cats and dogs, alright?


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Now another important matter has been brought to my attention by my friend, Ken, at Sounds of Christmas.

Lester Chambers is a rock and roll god.  He should be living it up on the royalties from all the great music he wrote and sang with The Chambers Brothers in the 60s.  But Lester never got any of that money.  If ever there was a poster child for the record industry's abuse and ripping off of an artist or artists, it's Lester Chambers.  Of course, those of us who grew up with "Time Has Come Today"--one of THE single most iconic songs of the 6os--never realized how badly Lester had been ripped off until, when the Occupy movement was just getting started, this picture was posted online and went viral.  It reads:

“I am the former lead singer of a 60′s band. I did not squander my money on drugs or a fancy home. I went from 1967-1994 before I saw my first royalty check. The music giants I recorded with only paid me for 7 of my albums. I have never seen a penny in royalties from my other 10 albums I recorded. Our hit song was licensed to over 100 films, TV & commercials without our permission. One major TV network used our song for a national commercial and my payment was $625 dollars. I am now 72, trying to live on $1200 a month. Sweet Relief, a music charity, is taking donations for me. Only the 1% of artists can afford to sue. I am the 99%.”

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Lester Chambers and his son, Michael Dylan Chambers
Think about that.  For 30 years, the music industry made millions off of Lester's music before he ever saw a dime.  That's an obscenity.

We can't set right all the past wrongs of the world, but we can do our part to have Lester's back going forward.  We can thank him for the music, for the joy, for the influence, by supporting him now.

Lester Chambers is funding a new album through a Kickstarter campaign.  And, yes, people have rallied to his side and Lester has already raised well beyond his $39,000 goal.  The new album has been fully funded and will be made.

So where can we come in?  What's the Christmas tie-in, exactly?  For a pledge of just $5, Lester will give you a pair of Christmas songs.  You'll hear his take on "Jingle Bells" as well as Lester's version of the all-too-seldom heard Chambers Brothers Christmas song "Merry Christmas Happy New Year".  More importantly, for a small contribution, you'll let Lester know that we, none of us, are as bad as the people who ripped him off.  Buying his records, it was never our intention to deprive him of the fruits of his labors.  We've got your back, Lester.  We are the 99%, too.

Now I'm sure I've offended someone, politically.  And I'll tell you right now I will not tolerate a political debate on this Christmas music web site.  But, frankly, I don't care.  If you can't see something wrong in what was done to Lester Chambers, then there's just something wrong with you as a person.  Get some help.

You can find out more about Lester's backstory and the project, and you can make a donation/pledge if you wish to, at Kickstarter.  The pledge drive ends January 9, 2013.


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Closing this post on an altogether lighter note, the one and only Richard Cheese is raising money through Kickstarter for a new Christmas album he hopes to release in 2013, "Live At The North Pole".  If you don't know Richard Cheese, you must be new here.  Richard garnered gigantic giggles from the Christmas collector crowd a few years back with the now classic "Christmas In Las Vegas"--a mixtape favorite and cheese-y lounge send-up of Christmas Vegas style.  Mistletunes called him "the Weird Al of lounge lizards".  The album that ensued, "Silent Nightclub", featured cheese-y snarky lounge versions of New Wave hits, including a 20 second version of "Last Christmas".  You see, "Cheese" isn't just his last name, it's his middle name.  And it isn't just his middle name, it's what he does.

Whereas Richard's "Silent Nightclub" featured satirical song choices for a Christmas album ("Ice Ice Baby" and "Holiday In Cambodia" for example), "Live At The North Pole" will feature Richard's satirical lounge versions of actual Christmas songs (like "Deck The Halls" and "Jingle Bells").  There will be a "Conversation With Santa Claus".  No, really.  He also promises his "hit", "Christmas In Las Vegas", and a new version, "Hanukkah In Las Vegas".  Oy vey!  It's a mixtapers dream (or nightmare) come true!

As always at Kickstarter, there are incentives for your pledge.  Just $5 will reserve a digital copy of "Live At The North Pole".  For just $8, you'll get the physical CD (SRP $11).  For just $16, you'll get TWO CDs, one autographed and one not.  And $25 will get you SIX CDs--two of them personally autographed to whomever you wish.  Get your 2013 Christmas shopping done before the New Year even starts, eh?

So head to Kickstarter between now and January 22nd and say "More Cheese, please" with your pledge.  C'mon.  Be a Cheesehead.  It's not just for Packers fans anymore.  And, anyway, all the cool kids are doing it.

 
 
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No Boxing Day feature, today, on our Free List.  Ironically, I started doing that because I didn't have time to listen to all the free stuff that comes out every year and, this year, I don't have time to do that.  Sorry.  But we will continue to post the free stuff we find that we find worthy, certainly through New Years.  There are some new ones up just now, including our write-up of the gift we received a few days ago from Lie In The Sound.  So go.  Off with you.  Go discover something new and free.

 
 
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1.  Please Come Home for Christmas
2.  Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (duet with James Archibald)
3.  Santa Baby
4.  I Wonder As I Wander
5.  Santa Blues
6.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
7.  Last Christmas
8.  I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
9.  You're All I Want for Christmas
10. Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
11. The Holly and the Ivy
12. While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night


ARTIST SITE
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I have very much wanted to do a review of Jillaine's "Jazzy Christmas To You II" and I've been trying to find the time.  So, as late as it is, I figure the only way to do this thing is strictly stream of consciousness.  I know most of my stuff reads that way, anyway.  But, for reviews, I honestly try to craft them a little better than that.  Well, THAT'S not gonna happen, so let's just do this thing.

A little background.  Jillaine is a young singer from Utah.  I've already spoken at length about her wonderful voice--unique, virtually one of a kind.  She can sing the hell out of just about anything, and she's recorded her fair share of Alt Rock and Pop, plus the patriotic set "As American As Jazz" released earlier this year, but her passions, clearly, are Jazz and Blues.  And, it seems, Christmas music.   From last year's "Jazzy Christmas To You" (review here), then checking out some of the rest of her repertoire (which is my habit when finding a Christmas album from an artist I haven't heard before), it did appear to me that Jillaine felt considerably less shackled on the Christmas music--a bit more free to be her self, free to color outside the lines, free to breathe a bit.  More than anything, she was having fun with it.  And, as I've said way too many times, the listener can always tell when you're having fun and, if you are, they will.  Anyway...

So I got the "Jazzy Christmas To You II" CD a while back and, at first chance, I popped it into the ol' CD player.  "Jazzy Christmas To You II" opens with Charles Brown's "other" Christmas hit, "Please Come Home For Christmas".  And Jillaine gives the song a fine reading, leaning toward the Jazz of the track rather than the Blues.  Her approach, here, has the sound of a New Orleans after hours club.  And, truthfully, that's not far from what Brown's intent was.  It really became more of a roadhouse Blues number later on.  My immediate thought was that Jillaine was picking up where she left off on "Jazzy Christmas To You".  This was a very solid take on an oft recorded song--Jillaine did it up proud.  And "solid" is very much the word I would use, here, which might seem unduly restrained on my part (as an admitted fan, at this point).  But "Please Come Come For Christmas" gave me no idea what was to come.

Jillaine next shares a duet with bass player James Archibald.  On the first Christmas set, the pair sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside".  On this album, they do "Let It Snow".  "Let It Snow" is another fun romp, to be sure, and Zach Wiggins tickles the ivories very effectively.  But I'm still getting the impression that this is a continuation of the first Christmas set.  Nothing wrong with that.

Next up "Santa Baby".  And, no offense to anyone--I realize it's practically required these days--but that song hasn't sounded any good to me, really, since Madonna ruined it in the eighties.  Honestly, I don't think there's ever been a worse rendition of a Christmas song ever than Madonna's version of "Santa Baby".  William Hung laughs at her.  It's not your fault, Jillaine, I just don't like the song anymore.  Madonna, do me a favor and stay away from Christmas music.  Notably, though, the band was very strong on this 2 minute number.  Zach Wiggins (piano) and Jesse Quebbemen-Turley (drums) absolutely turn it up to 11 on "Santa Baby"...not in a Spinal Tap (volume) fashion, but in proving that they are top notch Jazz musicians in their own right when called upon to be that.  The arrangements on Jillaine's first Christmas set were for a more sparse backing, which served to put Jillaine very much out front.  That worked well.  The arrangements here called for more...well, Jazz from the band and they delivered.  Still, Jillaine's unique and powerful voice can't help but take center stage, no matter how busy the band gets.  "Nobody puts Baby in a corner".  That was a bit of a revelation to me (just a bit), but I still didn't see what was coming.  Not even close.

Now track 4 is where things, for me, got real interesting and "Jazzy Christmas To You II" took a hard turn towards true greatness and Jillaine, from my limited perspective of her work, blossomed into the fully realized Jazz singer she's destined to be.  "I Wonder As I Wander" is not just one of my favorite Christmas songs, it's a song that separates the posers from the artists.  It's a song which is as much about what's not there as what is, about what you add to it, about the spaces between the notes as much as about the notes.  It's a song that's much more about the passion you put into it than about the notes on the page.  It's a song that, done right, can't help but be a Jazz number.  Me, I'm a coward.  I'd never attempt that song, even as a back bencher in a 100 person community choir.  Jillaine sings "I Wonder As I Wander" as though she were born to it.  I do believe, and it's a risky thing to say this sort of thing, Jillaine's version of "I Wonder As I Wander" is the single finest version I have ever heard.  I've tried to think of one better--there are several I'm quite fond of--but none measure up.   Jillaine's voice flows freely and easily through the song, unrestrained by the music, undaunted by the obstacles.  She's not playing by their rules anymore.  Jillaine becomes the song.  Oh, God, I wish there was some proper metaphor to describe the bliss her vocal performance creates.  What do you do when you work with words and the words fail you?  All I can say is that her performance of "I Wonder As I Wander" is the very definition of the very finest Jazz.  And, hey, guess what, you lucky, lucky people?  This is the song Jillaine chose to make a free download.  

Anyone who ever told this woman that she couldn't sing or wouldn't make it (and I'm sure there have been some) is an idiot!

Go get it!  And, not to shortchange anyone, Wiggins' keyboards and Quebbemen-Turley's percussion were absolutely spot-on perfect for the song.

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As if "I Wonder As I Wander" hadn't already melted me to the floor, track 5 is the original "Santa Blues", co-written by Jillaine and Justin Jensen.  Oh, you know where I live, girl.  This is classic Blues, like something straight out of the thirties and Jillaine belts it out as only she, and perhaps Bessie Smith ever could.  She has fun with it, too, bending notes at will, climbing the stairs to the top and then dropping down into the basement.  It's a ball!  A Christmas ball (somewhat obscure Bessie Smith reference)!  And, again, the band shows they know how to play along.

On "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", Jillaine demonstrates that she's as home with somber spiritual material as with bawdy Blues.  Frankly, on my first trip through, I was so...well..."high" from the previous two tracks, this one just sort of slipped by me.  But, on subsequent listenings, her performance of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is every bit as masterful.  Even on a quieter number, the power of her passion for the music is well evident, as is the artistry of her voice.  And, if you somehow missed it on that one, she demonstrates her mastery again on "Last Christmas".  Frankly, I doubt I'll ever hear a better version of "Last Christmas" than the one from Linedance Fever, but Jillaine brings true heartbreak to the song in the same way Laurie Cameron exposed the underlying sadness of "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)".  It's so beautifully done, you'll be crying before the final curtain.

The band steps up the swing on "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" as Jillaine proves she has the chops to hang with the best of them--Frank, Ella, Tony, any of them.  And it's here that the contrast between "Jazzy Christmas To You" and "Jazzy Christmas To You II" comes into very sharp focus.  On last year's set, a number like this would have been done straight forward and stripped down.  It would be fun, but a bit more Alt Pop or Pop Vocal than on the second album, where Jillaine and her posse dive fully into the Jazz of the piece, taking it to a whole other level.  The Jazz is hot and these cats are cookin'.  And they pull it all off in just 2 and a half minutes.  Steam heat, baby!

Then Jillaine dips into her bag of tricks once more, pulling out a relatively obscure number from Seger Ellis, popularized by Bing Crosby, "You're All I Want For Christmas".  And, while it's not really really obscure, it's something you never hear on the radio anymore.  Ever.  Jillaine's approach to this torch song is more Billie than Bing, and, damn, that's impressive.

"Dig That Crazy Santa Claus" surprises yet again.  Most artists covering Oscar McLollie's R&B classic focus either on the rhythm or focus on the Blues.  I was kind of expecting Jillaine to take the Blues route.  Instead, she and the band do the track straight Jazz.  And, as straight Jazz, it's great Jazz.  Jillaine's facility on this swinging take is just amazing.  The confidence and skill is fully on display.  Actually, having just said "confidence and skill", the two words I thought of listening to this track were "passion and precision".  That's a heady combo.  And speaking of heady combos, the band shines, here, once again.  In particular, I thought James Archibald's bass was especially awesome.

For the last two numbers, "The Holly And The Ivy" and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night", Jillaine slows the pace and keeps it simple.  And, if you hadn't figured it out before these two, Jillaine closes out the album proving that she is a truly great Jazz singer.  I would never say it's easy to do what Jillaine does on the previous 10 tracks.  But it takes a real artist to do even more by doing even less.  About the only way I can explain that remark is to point to Judy Garland, who also excelled at making her voice do amazing things on both the quiet and the raucous.  If you don't think of Judy as a great Jazz singer, you should.  I'm not even a fan of Judy's, but I do appreciate her artistry.

Look, I'm no Leonard Feather or Dave Marsh or anything.  I'm just a guy with a blog.  But I'll tell you this as sincerely as I can.  "Jazzy Christmas To You" was an excellent Christmas album.  "Jazzy Christmas To You II" is a great Jazz album.  I've listened to a lot of music in my day and I will tell you that there are not more than a handful of singers who can do what Jillaine can do.  There may not have ever been more than, I don't know, a couple of dozen singers in history who could do what Jillaine can do.  And I know that sounds hyperbolic, but, Bessie Smith, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Joe Williams, Frank--well, nobody is as good as Sinatra was (and that's just a fact, Jack)--Jillaine can hold her own in that company.  Power, passion, precision, confidence, vulnerability...she's got it all.  She's got a voice and she knows how to use it.  Her voice is an instrument that she plays as well as Miles played trumpet.  Yeah, feel free to be skeptical.  I would be, too.  If I hadn't heard it with my own ears.

I was about to give a nod to Erik Chaston, Jillaine's brother who (as I recall) produced "Jazzy Christmas To You" (although I could be wrong about that) and I see, here, that Jillaine gets the production credit for "Jazzy Christmas To You II".  And, now, I'm even more amazed than I already was.

Jillaine has already told my friends at Merry & Bright that there will be a "Jazzy Christmas To You III" and suddenly next Christmas is looking awfully far away.  But, if you don't already own it, I can't recommend "Jazzy Christmas To You II" highly enough.  I really can't.  On a scale of 1 to 10, this album's an easy 14 or 15.  It's that good.

Well, that was a little longer than I'd planned.  So be it.  I know Jillaine is going to be reading this review at some point and thinking, "Holy crap, I can't use this.  Nobody would believe it."  Well, I know just how you feel, Jillaine.  I heard "Jazzy Christmas To You II" and I couldn't believe it either.  Keep singing, Jillaine.  It's what you were born to do.

 
 
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It's just after Midnight here in the eastern USA.  No snow here in Carolina, but it is officially Christmas.  So I thought I'd share one of my all-time favorite versions of one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs.  For a while, I even thought about tossing it into
A Stubby's House Christmas.  This was from the Christmas episode of the brilliant, but short-lived TV show "Studio 60".  I watch that Christmas episode every year...just to hear this song as much as anything.  NBC made the song available as a free download that year, God bless em, and its still widely available on-line.  This is Trombone Shorty Andrews, accompanied by other New Orleans musicians following Katrina.  "O Holy Night".  Merry Christmas, y'all.

 
 
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Well, Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas Eve!  I honestly wasn't going to do a sampler this year, but I saw that my friend Reggaexx at Distinctly Jamaican Sounds (who had also said he wouldn't be doing his awesome Christmas mixes anymore) had gone and done one anyway and I thought, "well, hell."  I had hoped to get this posted yesterday but, on the other hand, in years past, we never got it up before Christmas Day.  So consider it a Christmas miracle that it's here the day before.

As always, the mix is composed of some of the free downloads we've written about this year.  And, as always, it sort of compiled itself.  The ending of one track would suggest the beginning of another track and so on.  I seem to have very little control over where these things go.  There's a bit less diversity and fewer female vocals than I'd like.  A single disc this year, I do love every track, but so many more that I love aren't here.  The one that stopped me in my tracks every time through was Beta Radio's "Winter Eclipse".  Lovely thing, that.  Just so you know.  Top of the Pops with you.  One reason I like doing this is that there's always a song or two that'll you'll see and think, "No kidding.  I guess he was serious that he loved that one."  Last track eliminated, with much sadness, was Jumbled's "She Wants It All", which had both the virtue and curse (from the perspective of this collection coming together) of being really short.  Bumping it got us just 6 seconds under the 80 minute disc length limit (to press it to disc, you'll have to make sure there's no time between the tracks).  And the biggest challenge is always getting the track volumes to roughly the same level; I did the best I could on that, considering the whole time thing.

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In years past, we've always had one Stubby's House exclusive.  Those just sort of happened organically.  For good or bad, I'm usually very bad at asking people for favors.  Even at my advanced age, I still have that 7 year old "I can do it myself, Ma" attitude.  But, being as we didn't have a Stubby's House exclusive, this year, I contacted the good people of the Fayetteville Ska Alliance and asked if I might include a song from them this year.  They graciously agreed.  And, so, this year's collection includes "Jingle Bells" from the new Christmas album "Merry, Happy, Jolly, Good Time", an exceptional Ska set and a charity effort benefitting Spay Arkansas (Mrs. Katz--not her real name--insisted they be the artists I ask).  And this is the ONLY place you can get the FSA's "Jingle Bells" free.  Still, I highly recommend you buy the full album (AmazonAmazon MP3, iTunes and CD Baby).  It's not just great music, it's a great cause and they're great people.  Visit the FSA web site and Facebook page for more information.  And you can find the video for "Jingle Bells" here.

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As always, the zip file contains all the things you need to burn your own Stubby's House Christmas CD-R, including the artwork.  Assuming you have a program on your computer to print CD labels and such, you can just plug in the jpegs and it should work OK.  We also gave you an alternate insert this year.  If you're using a slim case, you'll want the track list as your insert, I'm guessing.  But, if you're using a full-sized jewel case, the track list is on the tray jpeg; so you can still use the track list insert OR you can use this authentic picture of the real-life Mrs. Katz (not her real name).  Yes, that's my beautiful baby girl.  And, let me tell you, it took hours of arguing to get her to agree to give up her internet anonymity.  People always ask about Mrs. Katz, so now you can see who you're asking about.  If you determine not to use the picture as an insert, maybe you'll decide to make a nice little wallet photo for yourself and, when friends say "Who is that?" you can say, "Why, that's Mrs. Katz."  (Hey, I don't know.  It could happen.)

This free gift from Stubbys will only be available through January 7.  That's two weeks to get your download on.  After that, it disappears forever, so don't dawdle.  This year, we have two download sites available.  You may know that internet hosts are freaking out these days, so, hopefully, at least one of these will still work by the time you go to download.  The artwork in this post is all linked to the one or the other dl sites (except the Santa insert above from last year's set--he's not included--and the FSA pic, which links to a purchase site).  So go here or here to get your Stubby Little Christmas on. [Links killed, as promised]

In the track list below, clicking on the artist names should open a new window at their official sites (where available).  Clicking on the song titles will not open a new window (hopefully), but will take you to our write up.  I said the songs were all free downloads we'd featured this year (aside from the FSA track).  I did cheat a little in that I used The Timburtons' "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Claus" which wasn't featured here, but was featured at Lie In The Sound.  That link up will take you to their write up.  Lie In The Sound gave me a remarkable gift yesterday that, hopefully, we'll be talking about a little bit on the Free page sometime soon, but feel free to check it out now.

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1.  Christmas Mourning

2.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!
3.  After The Holidays
4.  The Salvation Army Bell
5.  The Christmas Steps

NAME YOUR PRICE ON BANDCAMP

The Parenthetical Girls, the Oregon based experimental Alt Rock/Pop band, have now wrapped up their "5 Days of Parenthetical Girls Christmas", which meand they've now unveiled all 5 songs from their all-new Christmas set, "Good Christian Men Rejoice".  So you can download the entire set, now, as a Name-Your-Price Bandcamp offering.

The band unveiled one new song per day and we followed along through Day Three, but, at some point, it became clear that the best option, blog wise, was waiting for the entire record to be available.

The fourth track revealed, "After The Holidays", is an obscure Judy Garland tearjerker.  The 5th and final track is the 12 minute ambient mood piece "The Christmas Steps", showing off, once again, Parenthetical Girls more experimental side.  The latter sounds like it was something rejected from The Flaming Lips "Christmas On Mars" film and soundtrack for being too good and too cohesive.

In any case, you are definitely going to want to add this one to your mp3 arsenal (at least until there's hard copy?  Well, one can dream, can't one?), so head to Bandcamp now and download away.
 
 
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Like the track from Lucy Rose earlier, there's no place to purchase or download this one (yet).  So it's gotta be real good for me to put it here.  And this one's real good.  Bell X1 recorded this one in the dressing room of The Spirit Store in Dundalk (or so they say).  Vocals on "Little Drummer Boy" are provided by Dominic Phillips.

 
 
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1. Darlin' (Christmas Is Coming) - OVER THE RHINE
2. In Dulci Jubilo - ST. AGNES FOUNTAIN
3. Northern Lights - GRETCHEN PETERS
4. Jon's Silent Night - JON BYRD
5. Jesus And Mohammed - JACK TEMPCHIN
6. Breaking The Ice - SAMANTHA CRAIN
7. Christmas In St. Paul - LAST TRAIN HOME
8. Duke's Christmas - DUKE ROBILLARD
9. Mama, I Know You Ain't Santa - TRACY NEWMAN
10. Mad World - ALBION CHRISTMAS BAND
11. Christmas In Dixie - NU BLU
12. Silent Night At The Bar - THE WILD RUMPUS

13. You Put The X In Xmas - DEAD MEN'S HOLLOW
14. Let's Get Blazed For The Holidays - BRIAN ASHLEY JONES
15. Santa Is A Swinger Now - CANDYE KANE
16. Yes, Virginia - SCOTT MILLER
17. Xmas In The Jailhouse - OX
18. Winter Song - JAIME MICHAELS                                              DOWNLOAD FREE AT ALTERNATE ROOT

19. Go Children - LITTLE FAITH
20. Not On Christmas Eve - BOCA CHICA

It's been a wild couple of days.  Yesterday, we got both the 2012 Cigar Box Nation Christmas set, which I expected, AND the 2012 Alternate Root Holiday Sampler, which I didn't.  There was no voting on the tracks for the 3rd annual Alternate Root Christmas album, but they did put together a 20 song collection featuring lots of Americana, Alt Rock, and Folk Christmas favorites.  Even a little Blues from the legendary Duke Robillard.  'Tis the season, so pig out.  A Christmas feast awaits.  Start with this one from Alternate Root, or save it for dessert.  Either way...  Here.  We'll even get you started.