Monday's Music Moves Me: Xmas Music Xtravaganza 2019, Week 1!

Yes, dear friends, it’s that time of year again! This year I’d like to start by rerunning a Christmas playlist I built back in 2017, when I shared novelty songs.

  1. Gayla Peevey, "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" I never get sick of this one, and the video is priceless, particularly where she starts marching around the stage. Gayla went on to get her degree in education and was a teacher for years, after which she started an advertising agency. She had a few records between 1953 (when this was recorded) and 1962, recording as Jamie Horton from 1959-1962.
  2. Allan Sherman, "The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas" My favorite recording artist until The Beatles arrived in 1964. He was never the same after that, but in the late fifties and early Sixties, he was the king of song parodies, like this one.
  3. "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Christmas At Ground Zero" And speaking of the king of song parodies, the current holder of that title is "Weird Al" Yankovic. Here’s a cheery tune about celebrating Christmas after a nuclear war.
  4. Spike Jones and His City Slickers, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" From Spike’s Christmas album, It’s A Spike Jones Christmas. That album has one of the most beautiful arrangements of "Silent Night" I’ve heard, showing that, for all the madness, Spike was a great musician.
  5. Ross Bagdasarian, "The Chipmunk Song" The genius behind Alvin and the Chipmunks with their signature song. Just about everyone knows the trick to Ross used to produce the voices of Simon, Theodore, and Alvin. A friend of mine recorded his version of The Beatles’ "A Day In The Life" that way.
  6. Cheech & Chong, "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" This was the first Cheech & Chong recording I heard, and right then I knew I wanted their album for Christmas. I ended up having to buy it for myself for my birthday three months later. Mom listened to it, and was not amused.
  7. Tom Lehrer, "A Christmas Carol" Math professor, musician, comedian and social commentator Tom Lehrer recorded this back in his heyday, the early Sixties, when he was a regular performer on the hit TV series That Was The Week That Was.
  8. Stan Freburg, "A Green Christmas" Stan was another great one for song parodies, as well as comedy bits like this one, which decried the commercialization of the Feast of the Nativity, all the way back in 1958.
  9. The Singing Dogs, "Jingle Bells" From Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time. Barry Hansen, a/k/a Dr. Demento, had a weekly radio show where he presented novelty records for two hours and adding his commentary. The radio show is gone, but there’s still an online version you can hear on TuneIn.
  10. Elmo & Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" The Christmas novelty song everyone loves to hate. It’s been around for close to 40 years now.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 2, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Toys!

Next week is the start of the "XMAS MUSIC XTRAVAGANZA!"

My badge from last year’s Xmas Music Xtravaganza. Guess I should make a new one for this year, huh?

So, when doing this last prompt from CK’s month as Guest Conductor for MMMM, which is to use songs about toys, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t use any songs I’ll probably use next month. I was mostly successful, too…

  1. Raymond Scott, "The Toy Trumpet" The first song I thought of for the theme. It’s one of those light orchestral pieces that pops up around this time of the year. Shirley Temple did a vocal version in the 1937 movie Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, where she shows off her tap-dancing skills with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, but I like the instrumental.
  2. Nana Mouskouri, "Little Toy Trains" This is a song that’s been done by Glen Campbell and Roger Miller, but Nana makes it sound like a lullaby.
  3. Alvin & The Chipmunks, "The Chipmunks Song (Christmas Don’t Delay)" Thought of this because Alvin puts up such a fuss about getting a hula hoop, which, considering when it came out, wasn’t that unusual of a request.
  4. James and Bobby Purify, "I’m Your Puppet" Sweet soul music that reached #6 on the Hot 100 in 1966. James and Bobby were cousins, by the way.
  5. The Cyrkle, "Red Rubber Ball" This was the first record all the kids in the neighborhood bought. The song reached #2 in the US (kept out of the top spot by The Beatles’ "Paperback Writer") and #1 in Canada. It was written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley of The Seekers, who also did a version.
  6. Sandie Shaw, "Puppet On A String" The lovely Ms. Shaw won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest with this song. It reached #1 in the UK and much of Western Europe.
  7. Charles Gounod, "Funeral March of a Marionette" Almost everyone will recognize this as the source for the theme music from Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and no one will blame you if you say "Good evening" at the end.
  8. Kitty Kallen, "My Coloring Book" Kitty’s last Top 10 record, this came out in late 1962 and reached #7 on the Adult Contemporary Chart and #18 on the Hot 100. Kind of a downer…
  9. Henson Cargill, "Skip A Rope" This 1967 song was Henson Cargill’s sole #1 single on the country chart, and it crossed over to the pop chart, reaching #25. It features The Jordanaires, who backed Elvis Presley on many of his hits, on backup vocals.
  10. The Chad Mitchell Trio, "The Marvelous Toy" Written by Tom Paxton and covered by many, including Peter, Paul and Mary.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 25, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Harmonica

Wasn’t sure what I would be doing today, then I found a bunch of harmonica players on YouTube and knew I had my theme. I’ll probably be stuck in some cases for something to say about them, but I’ll tell you whatever I can and let you do some searching.

  1. Filip Jers and Emil Ernebro, "Moon River" Sweden’s Filip Jers is generally known as "Sweden’s Harmonica Sensation." Here he does a duet with guitarist Emil Ernebro (who has been featured here before) on the Henry Mancini-Johnny Mercer song from Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
  2. Roly Platt, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" Canadian harmonicist Roly Platt hs two albums, Tangled Roots with Wayne Buttery and his debut solo album Inside Out. This is from the latter.
  3. Charlie McCoy, "Georgia On My Mind" From Oak Hill, West Virginia, Charlie McCoy has been a mainstay in Nashville, where he’s played with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and a host of other musicians. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
  4. Buddy Greene, "Orange Blossom Special" Buddy Greene got his professional start playing rhythm guitar and harmonica with Jerry Reed for four years. He moved to Nashville in 1984 and recorded his first solo album in 1986. Since then he’s played with Bill and Gloria Gaither, Charlie Peacock, Bela Fleck, and others. He’s also a songwriter and among other songs wrote the beautiful "Mary Did You Know," a favorite at Christmastime.
  5. Indiara Sfair, "Improvisation in C Minor" Indiara Sfair was born in Curitiba in southern Brazil and graduated from the School of Fine Arts at Paraná, and has worked on several Blues and Jazz projects since. The link takes you to her Facebook page; she also has an Instagram and a YouTube channel.
  6. Nederlands Concertkoor, "Man With A Harmonica (from Once Upon A Time In The West)" Hermine Deurloo, who plays harmonica here, is a jazz chromatic harmonicist from Amsterdam. She has four albums and tours primarily in The Netherlands.
  7. Aiden & Evelyn, "Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars cover)" Aiden & Evelyn are a married couple from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They’re a two-time world champion duo and their website tells us they’re the most popular harmonica duo in the world.
  8. Christelle Berthon, "Hey Jude" Christelle picked up the harmonica at the age of 24 as a diversion from her oboe studies. After a twelve-year hiatus, a woman she knew, knowing that she had played, gave her a harmonica in 2006, and she started a YouTube channel to share her work.
  9. Alfredo Redondo (aka Harmonicalf), "November Rain (Guns ‘n’ Roses Cover)" Not able to find much on Alf other than his YouTube channel and his Facebook page, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that he is a fine harmonicist.
  10. John Barry, "Midnight Cowboy" John Barry was a composer of film and TV scores as well as a player of keyboards, drums, trumpet and harmonica. He wrote the score for a number of James Bond movies as well as for the movie Midnight Cowboy, for which he also played harmonica.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 18, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: The National Native American Music Hall of Fame

CK from Stunning Keisha is this month’s guest conductor, and she’s decided that, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, “Let’s share songs inspired by, performed by or about Native Americans!”

Problem was, I wasn’t sure I knew that many Native American performers, so I sought help from The National Association of Native American Music, the people who conduct The Native American Music Awards. In addition to running the awards show, they’re also the people who maintain the National Native Americn Music Hall of Fame. There are a lot of musicians who have at least a small amount of Native American heritage, one of whom was Jimi Hendrix, who claims some Cherokee heritage. Here are ten musicians or groups who can trace their roots back to the Native Americans.

  1. Redbone, “Come And Get Your Love” Pat (bass and vocals) and the late Lolly (guitar and vocals) Vasquez-Vegas are of Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican heritage, while drummer Peter DePoe is Southern Cheyenne, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Rogue River/Siletz, German and French background and the late guitarist Tony Bellamy (born Robert Anthony Avila) was Yaqui and Mexican. They had several hits, including “Witch Queen of New Orleans,” which reached #21, and this song, which went to #5 and was certified gold in 1973. It’s had a resurgence in popularity since being included in the 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy.
  2. Buffy Sainte-Marie, “Darling Don’t Cry” Buffy was born in the Piapot Reserve of the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan, but was abandoned as a baby and adopted by the Sainte-Maries of Wakefield, Massachusetts, who were of Mi’kmaq descent. Wikipedia calls her “musician, singer-songwriter, composer, record producer, visual artist, educator, social activist, actress, [and] humanitarian.” With Jack Nitzche and Wil Jennings she wrote the song “Up Where We Belong,” which won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA award.
  3. Jesse Ed Davis, “Bacon Fat” I first heard Jesse Ed Davis when he was backing Taj Mahal in the late ’60’s. He is of Comanche and Kiowa descent. He was well known as a session guitarist who backed Eric Clapton, John Lennon, and George Harrison on tour. I thought this was the song of the same name that he played with Taj, but evidently it isn’t.
  4. Josh Halverson, “Thunderbird Sky” Josh is Shakopee Sioux on his mother’s side. He performed on The Voice but was eliminated. He won NAMA awards for Artist of the Year and Best Folk Recording in 2017.
  5. Mickie James, “I Don’t Give A” A fixture on the WWE circuit, Mickie started her music career in 2010. Most of her singles have been independently released. This is her latest single.
  6. Kitty Wells, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” Kitty has some Cherokee heritage. This song broke down the barrier for women in country music and she was the first woman to top the country charts with this song.
  7. Crystal Gayle, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” Crystal can also claim Cherokee heritage. She’s the sister of Loretta Lynn. This song topped the country chart and crossed over to the Hot 100 at #5, and became a major international hit. And, despite the name of the song, Crystal has blue eyes.
  8. Link Wray & His Raymen, “Rumble” Link Wray is of Shawnee heritage and was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 2007. This song reached #16 in 1958.
  9. The Ventures, “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” Guitarist Nokie Edwards claims some Cherokee heritage. This only reached #35 in 1964, but several of you mentioned this is a favorite.
  10. Hank Williams, “I Saw The Light” Hank has some Muscogee Creek and Tsalagi (Cherokee) heritage. I remember this song from an episode of Columbo that featured Johnny Cash.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 11, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: November!

This being a freebie day, and also the first Monday in November, I thought I’d do a music acrostic to spell out “November” in song titles.

N

The Association, “Never My Love” The only thing that kept this song out of the #1 spot on the Hot 100 was The Box Tops’ “The Letter”; it did reach #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 singles and RPM (Canada)’s Top Singles charts in 1967. This was their follow-up to “Windy.”

O

The Chiffons, “One Fine Day” A song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King that was originally intended for their babysitter, Little Eva (of “Loco-Motion” fame), but they couldn’t come up with a suitable arrangement, so they passed it on to The Tokens (of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” fame), who had earlier produced “He’s So Fine” for The Chiffons. They thought another record with “fine” in the title was a good idea, so they had The Chiffons do this as well. They kept Carole King’s piano intro from the original demo and worked their arrangement around it. It became a Top 5 hit for The Chiffons in 1963.

V

Frankie Avalon, “Venus” This was Frankie’s first #1 hit, spending five weeks there in 1959. He re-recorded it in 1976 as a disco tune and it reached #46 that year. He stated later that he preferred the original. As do all of us, I’m sure.

E

Mocedades, “Eres Tú” Mocedades was a group from Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain, formed by sisters Amaya, Izaskun, and Estibaliz Uranga. They represented Spain in the 1973 Eurovision song contest with this song, which was runner-up to the entry from Luxembourg (Anne-Marie David’s “Tu te reconnaîtras”). It became an international hit the following year, reaching #9 in the US and ending the year at #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

M

Gene Pitney, “Mecca” Pitney released this as a single in March 1963 and it rose to #12 on the Hot 100, while rising to #2 in Canada.

B

Miss Toni Fisher, “(The) Big Hurt” Notable for the phase-shifting effect (that “swooshing” sound) added during production, Miss Toni Fisher took this to #3 on the Hot 100 in 1959. DJ Dick Biondi of WKBW in Buffalo, New York (later a disc jockey at WLS and WCFL in Chicago) introduced this as “Toni Fisher’s weird one.”

E

Classics IV, “Everyday With You, Girl” Southern soft-rock pioneers Dennis Yost and Classics IV had a number of classic hits in the ’60’s, including “Spooky,” “Stormy,” and “Traces,” for which this was a follow-up, in 1969. It reached #19 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the AC chart.

R

Blues Image, “Ride Captain Ride” Blues Image was a one-hit wonder, having a #4 hit in the US and Canada in late 1970 and never able to duplicate that success. Co-author Mike Pinera said he came up with the first line of the song, “Seventy-three men sailed up, from the San Francisco Bay,” by noting there were 73 key on his Fender-Rhodes piano, and the rest came easily after that.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 4, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.