Instead, let's talk about the sadly departed Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Clarence passed away in June of this year at the age of 69 following a stroke. He, of course, is prominently featured on Bruce Springsteen's recording of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", but no solo Big Man Christmas record has ever been issued. Until now. On November 18, The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park will hold a special Record Release Party celebrating the release of a pair of Christmas songs the Big Man recorded back in 1981 but never issued. The Big Man handles lead vocals on "There's Still Christmas" while the flip features Clarence's saxophone take on "The Christmas Song". The Wonder Bar event is being headlined by The Nick Clemons Band, a group fronted by the Big Man's son.
"There's Still Christmas" is largely unknown in the rest of the country but has become something of a Christmas anthem in New Jersey, with many local bands having had a go at recording it at one time or another and most all of them performing it as the closing number to their live Christmastime sets. Back in 1981, though, "There's Still Christmas" was a brand new song, written by the late Stevie Betts and Dennis Bourke, who still plays the Jersey Shore circuit. Bourke and Jim Nuzzo, who played on the session, recall that Clarence donned a Santa hat for the recordings and everyone was looking forward to hearing it on the radio that year. But, as fate would have it, they were too late for the seasonal market that year and, subsequent to that, Clarence was otherwise occupied working with Gary US Bonds and his own Red Back Rockers, not to mention Springsteen's E-Street Band. The Big Man's parting Christmas gift is expected to turn up on iTunes sometime next week, while hard copies will be available sometime around Thanksgiving.
I know, right? The lost Christmas recordings of the late Clarence Clemons and that's only the second biggest news of the day?
Still, its pretty damned exciting to know that this year will see the release of a third volume of the Power Popping series of holiday compilations, "Hi-Fi Christmas Party".
The project is being driven by Don Pavelich of the Bradburys (and Don's side project, The Click Beetles) as a vehicle to raise money to fund medical research being done at the Blood Center in Milwaukee. The researches are seeking a cure for a bleeding disorder known as Von Willebrands Disease, a condition from which Don's daughter suffers.
A little while ago Don ran an Indiegogo campaign to raise sufficient funds to manufacture the disc which I, unfortunately, only learned of after the campaign ended. I feel bad that I didn't get the opportunity to contribute myself and publicize the drive here at Stubbys. Fortunately, the money required was raised and you and I can still support the project by buying the CD once it's released. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Blood Center.
The first two volumes of "Hi-Fi Christmas Party" were classic and indispensable for any fan of music with rocking beats and amazing hooks. Volume 3 promises to be every bit as good, with contributions expected from The Yule Logs, Lisa Mychols, Jim Babjak's Buzzed Meg, Tinsley Ellis, The Sun Kings and Jigsaw Seen, to name but a few. And, of course, The Click Beetles. Don't have a release date just yet, but we'll slot it on the List when we hear something definitive.
One of the artists to have previously appeared on a "Hi-Fi Christmas Party" set are The Grip Weeds. On December 6, The Grip Weeds will release their first full length Christmas album, "Under The Influence of Christmas". Not a lot of details just yet, but you can pre-order the album through Amazon.
Also working on a Christmas album is Joey McIntyre, who was the youngest member of New Kids On The Block when that group arrived on the scene nearly 30 years ago. Joey Mac says his Christmas record will be out before Thanksgiving.
But enough with the suspense. What is the Christmas comp that has me drooling at its very existence? Follow me to the International page for the answer.