Editor’s note: the below was designed to be an Albums Revisited piece on ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Only, having realised that I’ve already written something similar – here, in fact – I instead got drunk and squeezed out the below. Festive apologies, etc.
Yuletide. Legion are the songs and albums… and yet it still hits as a surprise, the extent to which so much festive-themed ephemera has voided bowels in the recording studio. It’s as frightening as it is unfathomable, music’s footnotes and the critically revered alike, queuing up to break wind directly in the ears of prospective listeners.
Pop’s relationship with this time of year has long been industry – not to mention an endeavour of nefarious proportions. For example, when Wizzard’s Roy Wood lost his life in that lawnmower incident back in ‘83, the shady cabal behind Christmas grew so horrified at the prospect of losing a key festive trooper that the ghost of Bing Crosby himself dispatched key minions – a crack troupe of nuns, Bob Cratchit and Martin Bormann – to rescue the severed head. And once saved, they nail-gunned it onto a sack full of wasps and engaged the Jim Henson Creature Workshop to conjure animatronic juju whenever the occasion (i.e. some dribbling televisual extravaganza) required a “live” rendition of ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Dance, Roy; dance. Goof it up a little. Your “leg” has fallen off.
And how the audience love it. The only Xmas song anyone needs: ‘Christmas 1979’ by Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire, which spends a good half of its vocation wishing a “Merry fucking Christmas to you all” – a sentiment I couldn’t agree with more. In fact, I’m going to listen to the track below the words thirty-seven timers in succession whilst killing off another of my livers with whatever hard booze is left in the house. Then disappear off to a remote Scottish island lacking both internet and go-go dancers for the duration. Lazer Guided Melody will return in early January (save for a pre-written “highlights” package scheduled to post in my absence). Be good, be bad, be whatever…