Takes on Christmas
(This post has been edited since it first appeared.)
Odds and ends from the inbox:
I've frequently mentioned Aimee Mann's Christmas album, One More Drifter in the Snow, this holiday season. Aimee did a live show in San Francisco a while back, featuring songs from the album--and it's streaming online, with interviews, special guests, and other stuff, here. (I am liking her Christmas tunes more the more I listen to them, but I have to say this about the album--it has the worst cover I've ever seen, bar none. It's hideous.)
One of the greatest of all Christmas records is the Drifters' "White Christmas," a classic doo-wop recording from 1954 featuring the magnificent wail of Clyde McPhatter. It's been hilariously set to animation here. (The animation has been around for a few years, apparently, and if you haven't seen it already, somebody will probably be e-mailing you the link before Christmas. That's how I got it.)
If you dig the Drifters' take on Christmas, AK at Soul Shower is your daddy. He's put up a mix of R&B Christmas classics that made my jaw drop when I first saw it. Some are well known, some are rare, but all are worth downloading.
If time permits, between now and Christmas I'll have a podcast featuring a few of my personal Christmas music essentials.
One More Thing: We must note the passing of Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder of Atlantic Records, who died Thursday at age 83. He's the second major figure in Atlantic's history to die in 2006--producer Arif Mardin died in June. Ertegun is not just important to one record label--even more so than with Mardin, his career touched upon those of nearly everybody who's anybody in popular music. Tributes here, from the Stepfather of Soul (thanks for the shoutout, Jason) and Dave Marsh and Fred Wilhelms at Holler If Ya Hear Me.