The year was 2006 and the album was "Homeless For The Holidays...A Twisted Tale". I went well out of my way, that year, to ensure that I got a copy. I believe I've mentioned my love of local artist Christmas compilations. And this was a very nice one, musically, with a number of tracks that have become annual favorites. Some of the songs dealt with social issues not often addressed in Christmas music--homelessness, runaway teens, etc. One song, "By The Tree", had the jolly fat man smoking up a doobie. And my favorite from the set, Matt Whipkey's "Here With Me (Home Come December)" dealt with a soldier returning from war...but not alive. OK, so it's not lighthearted and frivolous like a Justin Bieber record. It wasn't supposed to be. Point is, Christmas message songs aren't as common as you'd like to think and "Homeless For The Holidays" was not only enjoyable to listen to, it was handy to have around (from a mixtape standpoint).
A digital version of the record was released to the Internet download merchants like Amazon and iTunes in 2009, though with different artwork and without Matt Whipkey's solo effort (Matt retained the rights and his song is available, digitally, here).
The thing of it is, this 2006 gem is being retired after this year. That means you will no longer be able to get the downloads or hard copy CDs. Waitthewhatnow? Yes, you can still get hard copy CDs--still containing the entire original track list including Matt Whipkey and with the original artwork. But you can't get them from Amazon or CD Baby. You'll have to talk to Jeff Shepherd who still has a few of the CDs remaining just waiting for a good home. I'm not comfortable putting Jeff's email on-line for all the robots and zipbots and bottybots to pick over. So, if you're interested in hard copies, contact me at the email address to your right (email@example.com) and I'll put you in contact with Jeff. CDs of the 2006 collection sell for $7.50 (I'm fairly certain I paid more than that and, heck, that's less than the download will cost you). Even if you prefer the digital versions from Amazon or iTunes, you only have this year to get them. BTW, the 2010 CD, "Homeless For The Holidays...Blankets, Not Blizzards" sells for $12.50.
Wait, you didn't say anything about a 2010 CD. Yes, there was a 2010 CD--14 tracks in all, though only 5 of the tunes directly mention Christmas. In any case, the 2010 CD is also being retired after this year. And that one you won't even find on Amazon or iTunes. BTW, if you prefer the digital downloads, I believe Jeff can set you up with that as well.
Point is, time is running out. This holiday train is leaving the station forever. It's the last call for alkie hall, so to speak. Get it now or forever hold your peace. This isn't one you're going to find at your local good will store and it's not likely to show up on ebay. Don't say you weren't warned. Once you've added "Homeless For The Holidays" (1 and/or 2) to your collection, you and your wizard buddies will finally be able to vanquish the evil Voldemort once and for all. Well, perhaps not, but you will have acquired a rare treasure that you won't be able to acquire for very much longer.