Perhaps, after a solid month of Christmas music, you're now thoroughly Binged, Burled, Perryed and Thurled out (although I personally wonder if anyone could really get Thurled out...).
Well, here is a set of three Christmas records I'm guessing you haven't heard before. At least two appear to be vanity releases, and the third is on a Chicago label which may have been tiny enough for that release to also be something of a vanity production.
First up is our old friend Harold Duncan, last heard around these parts singing his patriotic tune "Be American". This record came out on the "American Sound" label, which I suspect was Duncan's label, as "Be American was on the same label".Mr. Duncan was from south Florida, and appears to have made a variety of attempts to break into the music business, judging from the number of times I've discovered his name turning up on an obscure record or piece of sheet music. Of the four records I own that have a direct Duncan connection, his Christmas concoction is by far the worst, in both composition and execution.
The song is called "Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney (Upside Down)", and it is just as stupid as that title suggests. But the problems only start there. Mr. Duncan enlisted a group called "The Rusch Sisters" to sing this song, and its flip side, and they are, simply put, unbearable. They sing in what I suppose is supposed to be a cutesy style (perhaps even supposed to sound like young girls), at times at the upper end of their ranges. Ecch.
Worse yet is that flip side, "Rudolph Stopped to Rock 'n Roll", particularly the bridge, where they very nearly squeal on the high notes. The fact that the backing has nothing in common with " Rock 'n Roll" certainly doesn't help.
My copy of this record came with a similarly self-produced book, complete with a drawing of Santa in the chimney, and the sheet music of the song inside. When I find that book, I'll add that image to this post.
Given my love of song-poems, I'm quite intrigued by this next offering. Credited to "The Ping Pongs", it contains two Christmas tunes as well, "Pinky Tail" and "The Things I'd Like for Christmas",. While I can't find anything that makes it clear to me that this is a song-poem, it sure looks and sounds like one to me. I'm sure that, at the very least it is, as I've mentioned, a vanity project.
But the label (Sunkist Records) looks like any number of small song-poem spin-off outfits, the label number (102) indicates this is one of the first discs on the label, and the performances sound like a song-poem group - specifically, it sounds like the less-than-enthused group which showed up on many of Norridge Mayhams later projects (the melody of "Things I'd Like" actually sounds quite a bit like a couple of Mayhams' songs), a group I believe came out of the Globe Records song-poem emporium.
Regardless of the back-story, these songs are an interesting listen, with a tossed off feeling and homespun instrumentation.
Finally, out of Chicago's small IRC label (most famous, if that's the word, for releasing Dick Biondi's "Pizza Song", and some of Ronnie Rice's earliest records), comes the fabulously named "Leonard at the Thomas Organ", with a misbegotten attempt to glom onto the success of the Chipmunks, although whoever is doing the sped-up vocal goes completely unacknowledged on the record label.
Unfortunately, no one told the performers or producers of this record that if you're going to record at half-speed for comical effect, you have to enunciate extremely clearly, nor did they learn that whatever you're singing while doing that enunciation needs to be funny.
I had to slow this track down to half-speed to figure out all of what was being sung, and once I did, I could make out all the words, but I still couldn't figure out what was supposed to be cute, funny or endearing about a very pedestrian description of some not very interesting events. Actually, I get a kick out of the billing of the performer (see above) and the extraneous quotes in the song title more than I do out of the song. It's listed as "Cross-Eyed 'Little' Santa Claus".
The flip is an instrumental titled "Jingle Jam".
For those who might like more obscure Christmas music, I've been featuring Christmas song-poems all month at my own site.
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