Sunday, January 1, 2012

Show #70 CHRISTMAS CRUSH December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas Carol!!!

- Cleaners From Venus The Stopping Train

Xmastime Again- The Pointed Sticks Xmastime Again
Waiting For Christmas- Adventures Of Jet Electric Ornaments: An Idol Records Christmas Collection
Christmas, Bring Us -The Grip Weeds HiFi Christmas Pty 2
I Want A Guitar For Christmas- Kenny Howes Xmas With Coffee Robots
All I Ever Want (Under The Christmas Tree)- The Cute Lepers A Blackheart Christmas
Christmas Morning- Jim Babjak's Buzzed Meg Christmas Songs
It's Always Christmas At My House- Huntingtons Santa Claus & The Power Pop Criminals
^Father Christmas- The Kinks Father Christmas 7"
December 25th- Desmond Reed Xmas Redux Three
Xmas Song- Rash Of Stabbings Xmas Song
She Feels Like Christmas Day- The Critics Yuletunes
Merry Xmas Everybody- Slade Merry Christmas Everybody
Underneath The Christmas Tree- Bill Lloyd Yuletunes
*Xmas Time (It Sure Doesn't Feel Like It)- The Dogmatics A Midnight Christmas Mess
*Christmastime Here (Could Never Be Like That)- Wednesday Week A Midnight Christmas Mess
*Merry Christmas- Plan 9 A Midnight Christmas Mess
*Christmas Dance- Johnny Rabb A Midnight Christmas Mess
Christmas Vacation- Descendents I Don't Wanna Grow Up
All The Right Reasons- Dressy Bessy Little Music
Holiday Spirit- The dB's Christmas Time
Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas- Eels Useless Trinkets...
Join Us For Christmas- AlternativA A Night In Starlight
Joseph, Who Understood- The New Pornographers The Spirit Of Giving
>She's Coming Home- The Wailers Merry Christmas
Christmas On The Beach- Irene Swedesplease Christmas Mix
The Elf Song- The Vacancies A Blackheart Christmas
Christmas With You- The Spring Collection Santa Claus and The Power Pop Criminals
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't- Osaka Popstar Osaka Popstar and The American Legends of Punk
Christmas In New York- Kyf Brewer It's About Christmas
Christmas Is My Favorite Time- The Malibus Keep An Eye On...
The Christmas Wish- Kermit The Frog A Christmas Together

^Power Pop Peak: 1977 (Didn't chart but I remember hearing it on rock radio)

*SacroSet: A Midnight Christmas Mess

>Power Pop Prototype: 1965

Here's a cool thing- type "rock and roll Santa" into Google images and you'll have a wide variety of pictures and clip art to choose from. It was a tough choice, but I went with the picture above because there's something about the way he's positioned his back leg that I find hilarious.

I'm lucky that Christmas has always been a happy time in my life. When I was a kid my dad would drive the family to Boston to see Santa. We'd park in the garage under Boston Common and step out of the elevator into a Christmas wonderland- it seemed like every tree was festooned with a thousand lights. From the Common it was a short walk to the Jordan Marsh department store. My mother told me that the "real" Santa was at Jordan Marsh and all the others were "helpers." The line to see Santa seemed endless but we were patient because there was so much to see in his Enchanted Village.

You'd get your first taste of the Enchanted Village in the display windows outside. Each window featured a tableau of moving figures in some winter or Christmas activity. This was nothing compared to the larger Enchanted Village on the sixth floor of the store. It was a walk through this magical old-timey town all done up for Christmas.

Like a lot of kids, I was initially freaked out by the people in the Enchanted Village, especially the children. Yet, I think this initial fear only added to their allure later on because I still remember several scenes today. The ceiling lit like a starry night sky also made a lasting impression. (Interestingly, I have no memory of the "eight set Lionel electric train display" mentioned in Wikipedia.)

The Enchanted Village closed in 1972, when I was eight years old so it's amazing that I remember anything about it. Macy's, which bought Jordan Marsh, Filene's and seemingly every other department store in America, resurrected the Enchanted Village for a few years in the 90's before the city took it over. It now resides at the Jordan's Furniture store in Avon, which I find ironic because for years Barry and Elliott of Jordan's ended their radio commercials with "not to be confused with Jordan Marsh."

This is my third Christmas radio show, the second named "The All Kindsa Girls Christmas Crush." In the past I've tried to stick mostly to positive Christmas songs but this year I decided I would open it up to darker music. This decision lead to the selection of Midnight Records' A Midnight Christmas Mess for tonight's SacroSet. I used to love going to the Midnight Records store on West 23rd Street in New York City, right across the street from the Chelsea Hotel. The store opened in 1978 and was owned by this French guy named J.D. He sold all kinds of underground rock and roll, but specialized in psychedelic and garage rock, stocking a lot of European imports you couldn't get anywhere else. The store's success lead to a record label and the 1984 album A Midnight Christmas Mess.

Maybe it's a New York thing, but a lot of the songs on the record are pretty bleak, from LA group Wednesday Week's yearning for a New York City Christmas to Plan 9's lament about homeless old people and hungry children. My favorite song on the record is Boston band The Dogmatics' "Xmas Time (It Sure Doesn't Feel Like It):"

It's the 20th of December
The rain is coming down
Kenmore Square's deserted nowThe college kids have left town
And it sure don't feel Christmas time

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas time

Down in Filene's Basement

I'm shopping for a friend
A holiday is nothing

If you have no money to spend

And it sure don't feel Christmas time

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas time

Standing in front of the Pine Street

You got nowhere to go

Your standing there on the sidewalk

Your feet are getting cold

And it sure don't feel Christmas time

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas time

The Christmas lights on The Common

They don't look so pretty to me
There's no such thing as peace on earth

Peace and harmony

And it sure don't feel Christmas time

It sure doesn't feel like Christmas time
Oh no....

Growing older you realize that Christmas is a hard time for a lot of people and this song brings the point home. The line about "standing in front of the Pine Street" really gets me. The Pine Street Inn is the oldest homeless shelter in Boston. Since 1980 it has occupied the old central fire station, an iconic piece of Boston architecture thanks to a 156 foot tower that looks like a medieval castle and is clearly visible from Rt. 93, the main road to the south. Whenever I'm in town the Inn tower reminds me that while a lot of people are suffering, there are also people who've made it their life's work to help.

Here's wishing you an Enchanted Village Christmas along with hope for a better tomorrow to those having a Pine Street Inn Christmas.

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