Sharon Jones, the Grammy-nominated soul and funk singer With Dap-Kings, died following her "heroic battle against pancreatic cancer" at the age of 60.
Jones recorded six albums with the Dap-Kings, but it was her exhilarating live shows, which functioned as equal parts Baptist church revival, Saturday night juke joint and raucous 1970s Las Vegas revue, that showcased the singer's unparalleled energy. In venues filled with people half her age, Jones was the most dynamic person in the room, bolting onstage and commanding the crowd like her idol James Brown. It was homage without mimicry; respecting the soul and funk elders that defined the genres while displaying seemingly boundless vitality.Sharon Jones, previously. [more inside]
John Roderick of the Long Winters sets down the criteria for a good Christmas song.
If Christmas creep has got you down, try keeping it weird with holiday music posts from WFMU's Beware of the Blog: [more inside]
Song for an old-fashioned Christmas: "'Twas the night before Christmas on Sesame Street/And the people were sleeping, ‘cause the people were beat/The snow had been falling for most of the day/And it lay over everything, sooty and grey..." -- as performed by Sesame's own David (lyrics) for the 1975 album "Merry Christmas from Sesame Street" (cover; inside artwork; back cover). Please join me (and Bert and Ernie and Oscar and Big Bird and others) in revisiting a holiday classic. [more inside]
Funky-ass Vulfpeck (previously, previously, previously) drops your new funky-ass Christmas jam: Christmas in L.A.
The Festive Funk Machine is a fun little Incredibox-esque christmas music making website. [more inside]
Bing Crosby is something of the unofficial "classic voice of the Christmas season," but his most popular piece in recent years is the unlikely duet from 1977, the same year he passed away. The Washington Post provides the odd story of holiday harmony, how David Bowie joined Crosby at the piano for their duet, "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy". If you like the classics, here's some Bing over the years: a fan-made abbreviation of Frank Sinatra's Christmas Show from 1957, Bing sings "White Christmas" in 1961, Bing & Kathryn Crosby take you on a trip to "Christmas Island" from his 1971 Crosby family special, and from his final Christmas special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, Bing and Twiggy singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." If you'd like a full period piece, here's an all-star 1958 USO Christmas show (program history and overview). If that's all a bit too sweet for you, let Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, June Carter-Cash, Jessi Colter, John Carter-Cash, and more regale you in the Christmas On The Road TV Special (1984).
Tired of the endless onslaught by mainstream Christmas music? Perhaps you might want a break. Tori Amos - Star Of Wonder, Melissa Etheridge - Glorious, The Polyphonic Spree - Winter Wonderland, Jon Anderson - Three Ships, Carbon Leaf - Christmas Child [more inside]
Long before she started Regretsy, April Winchell was seriously curating the Best of the Worst: with her background in radio, that usually meant bad music (previously, with deadlink). So, of course, she has a fine collection of Bad Holiday Music (Christmas and Hanukkah) available for streaming or download in mp3 format. [more inside]
First there was Grease. Then there was Two of a Kind. And now, at long last, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta have reunited once more, to produce... well, this. [more inside]
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne.
Pick a hedgehog and make him sing a Christmas carol. An interactive Youtube animation featuring absurdly cute hedgehogs who will supposedly sing a carol for you. via boringpostcards and metachat
Always an enigma, John Zorn, winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, founder of avant garde record label Tzadik proponent of radical Jewish culture, leader of the hard core group Naked City, creator of the Masada songbook, and hundreds of other things, has, with the likes of Mark Ribot, Cyro Baptista and Mike Pattoon, released a heart-breakingly lovely Christmas record, A Dreamer's Christmas. [more inside]
Must Be Santa was originally recorded (song on YT) in 1969 by Mitch Miller, with simple call-and-response lyrics that were a hit (song on YT) for Lorne Greene in 1966. The catchy song is amusing for small children, and cute when sung by groups of kids. With minor lyrical tweaks and a rowdy polka style (live clip), Brave Combo liven up the Christmas classic. Leave it to Bob Dylan to take it further. [more inside]
Fantastic weekly music news and interview program Sound Opinions presents the 2010 edition of their annual Holiday Christmas Spectacular, featuring weird and wonderful holiday tunes curated by record collector Andy Cirzan. [mp3 link to show, approx 1 hour] This year, they're also offering a limited time download of Andy's 2-disc compilation. (Get it quick -- download disappears Jan 1.)
Simone White can help calm your holiday rage. White is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter whose new CD, "I Am The Man" has been inching its way up the indie charts; people have been comparing her voice to Karen Dalton and Billie Holiday, but she's really her own creature, as you can tell from this dreamy new video, well-timed for the seasonal onslaught of consumerism and carols: "Christmas Makes Me Blue."
So you're in the mood for some Christmas music, but you're tired of all the old standards. Not to worry, the web has you covered courtesy of several vinyl sharing blogs. First off, there's Check the Cool Wax, with the soundtrack to Rankin/Bass's Night Before Christmas, Pee-Wee's Christmas Special, Yuletide Disco, Western Christmas Songs & Exciting Christmas Stories featuring Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman. Much, much more inside.
Christmas Wrapping is one of the most enduring (and arguably one of the hippest) Christmas songs of the past twenty years. Though a quintessential keyboard-and-sax driven New Wave tune, the endearing singleton's account of the year in dating on Christmas Eve tops the Christmas charts every year, and has survived reinterpretations by the Spice Girls and Save Ferris. This year, the eclectically-talented Chris Butler reflects on its inception.
A Cappella Holiday is a refreshing alternative to the tired, workaday holiday fare that may be piped into your office. All holiday tunes, but all a cappella, with some real gems you've never heard before. If your ears have been malled by Muzak and it's making you anything but merry, this free, streaming radio station might be the tonic. (There's a non-holiday a cappella station too, if you're just fa-la-la'ed out.)
coolest christmas songs i'm trying to put together a really great Christmas c.d. I have some Burl Ives, the Chipmonks, David Bowie with Bing Crosby. But I know I'm missing some great tunes. Do you know of anything cool?