Dec. 2009: Santa’s Not Dead: It’s a Green Monkey Christmas!

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Okay Music Aficionados!

  1. This Winter's Night Kat and Ben 4:42
  2. Snow In Seattle Levi Fuller 4:01
  3. (I Wanna Be) Your Christmas Tree Levi Fuller 3:59
  4. Little Drummer Boy Rich Hinklin 4:25
  5. The Jesus Song Sigourney Reverb 5:21
  6. What Child Did This? Stafford and the Bentz Brothers 2:15
  7. Hot Dog! It's Christmas! The GMR Holiday Swing Sextet 4:11
  8. It’s Snowing In Seattle The Green Monkey Christmas Chorale 4:43
  9. Because It’s Christmas Tom Dyer 4:02
  10. It’s A White Mule Christmas! White Mule Family 2:50
  11. It’s Only Christmas Glamourpuss 2:07
  12. I Wish That It Was Christmas Green Pajamas 3:15
  13. What Child Is This? Green Pajamas 3:25
  14. Wonderful Christmas Time Gumshen 2:59
  15. Away In A Manger Joe Ross & The Bird Watchers 3:12

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(Note: The album at right is a combo of the 2009/2010 songs.)

It is time for the December AotM and of course it is a Christmas Santa's Not Dead: It's a Green Monkey Christmas!album. Though not of any particular religious bent, I am partial to Christmas music, both sacred and secular. I have been working on my own Christmas album for 25 plus years and will finish it one of these days. I generally only work on Christmas songs the week of Christmas, so it makes for pretty slow progress.

In the meantime, I thought it a fine time to gather up a few obscure Northwest Christmas chestnuts for your holiday pleasure. Enjoy!

Tom Dyer, December 2009

PS. Thanks to all who participated!


Comments below by me unless noted otherwise.

1. The Green Monkey Christmas Chorale – It’s Snowing in Seattle (Dyer) © Half the World Publishing, BMI
Produced by Tom Dyer at TDS Productions, December 2009
Jim McIver, Jeff Kelly – Vocals; Ben Dyer – Guitars; Glenn Slater- Organ; Daniel Casado – Bass; Jeff Mosier – Percussion; Backing Vocals – Kate Dyer.
Wrote this Christmas 2008 as the snow fell. Ben recorded the guitar tracks a year ago and then it sat, as Christmas was over and who does Christmas songs in January? With all the GMR folks I have seen since putting out theAnthology, it seemed like fun for me to abandon the artist seat on this and just play producer. Several of the folks on this appear on the Anthology. For those needing a scorecard, Jimm was the singer for The Life, Jeff K. is Green Pajama #1, Glenn was half of Melting Fish and is a current (sorta) Walkabout, Jeff M. was the drummer for Arms Akimbo and is the drummer for the Dudley Manlove Quartet. There ye go!

2. The Green Pajamas – The Carolers’ Song (Kelly) © St. Brigid’s Publishing, BMI
Performed, sung by Jeff Kelly w/ Laura Vanderpool singing harmony and Susanne Kelly backing vocals. Produced by Jeff Kelly.
Originally released on limited edition Green Monkey CDR in 2001 and since rereleased by Hidden Agenda. Lovely!

3. Popllama AllStars – Merry Christmas Baby
Gary and Randy Minkler with The Llama Party Band:Charles Bronson – Drums; Alex Pettit – Bass; Jim Keller – Guitar; Bill Jedrzejewski – 12 String Guitar, Vibes; Ernie Sapiro – Sleigh Bells and Whip; Don Kellman – Baritone and Tenor Sax; Special Guests: Craig Flory – Tenor Sax; C. Uno – Bass; Leif “King” Cole – Tenor Sax.
Produced by Conrad Uno at Egg Studios South, 1982 – Thanks for letting me use this!
From the first Popllama Christmas tape Astray in the Manger (1982), which was recorded live at a Popllama party, featuring Gary from Red Dress and brother Randy from the New Vitations.

4. Tom Dyer – Christmas Time is Here (Dyer) © Half the World Publishing, BMI
Vocals and music performed by Tom Dyer. Produced by Tom Dyer with some studio assistance by Anthony Zapata at AiS Studios 1992.
Wrote this on the morning of Christmas Eve, while drinking my breakfast coffee. Recorded and mixed it that day, which is of course my preferred methodology for all Christmas songs.

5. Popllama AllStars – Wrapped Up in Christmas (Keller) Bebop & Skankin’ Music BMI
Conrad Uno – Lead Vocal/Bass; Chuck Bronson – Drums; Jim Keller – Guitars; The Llamanaires – Backing Vocals, Produced by Conrad Uno at Egg Studios 1983.
This track came from Popllama’s second Christmas cassette, Santaclaustrophobia, released in ’83 and is one of the few vocal appearances of the highly enigmatic Popllama honcho, Conrad Uno.

Uno:I used to enjoy the heathen side of xmas, especially the rock style music that it spawned. These days I enjoy remembering the fun we had and I still get a little kick out of the corny musics…..but overall, the whole Christmas thing just makes me sick and I highly recommend eradicating it from your life.
Sincerely, CU

6. Johnny Grinch – Santa’s Not Dead (Kelly)
Recorded by Johnny one long ago Christmas Eve after having a Dr. Seuss epiphany. Johnny is currently stuffed and on exhibit at the British National Museum of Peculiararities.

7. Rich Hinklin & His Guitar Orchestra – Little Drummer Boy (Traditional)
Rich put out the Contradiction cassette on GMR back when, a track of which is included on the Anthology.
Rich recorded this for you just this week and claims there are twenty guitar tracks on this, but I’ve not counted them. He is also a member of Gumshen who you can check out here.

8. GlamourpussIt’s Only Christmas (Schoenfeld)
Evan ‘Jengiz’ Presley did vocals, guitar and keyboard; Joe Ross did bass and percussion.
This was recorded at TDS by me-n-Keith in 1989 according to Evan. Well, I have absolutely no memory of this, but I’ve gotta think Evan knows what he is talking about. For those of you that are less than familiar with Evan’s work – not to worry! I am planning on talking Evan into letting me release The Complete Evan Schoenfeld TDS Sessions this year – look out world!

Joe: FYI, Glamourpuss was the band name Evan and I gave to our colaborative efforts from 1987 until 1996. The band was a duo, he was Genghis and I was Pontius.  We recorded many songs and actually released two tapes (now CDRs) A Glamourpuss Christmas and Glamourpuss Sings Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  We left behind an unfinished album’s worth of really cool songs that we were recording on the TDS gear once it came to live at my parents house.

9. Popllama AllStars – Christmas Star (Keller) Bebop & Skankin’ Music BMI
Blackie Rad – Lead Vocal/Bass; Chuck Bronson – Drums; Scott McCaughey – Bass; Jim Keller – Guitar; Ernie Sapiro – Lead Guitar; The Llamanaires – Backing Vocals.
Produced by Conrad Uno at Egg Studios 1983. Also from Santaclaustrophobia, featuring Blackie Rad from the Power Mowers. Very hip tune from Mr. Keller.

10. The Green Pajamas – O’ Holy Night
Laura Vanderpool – Vocal and Acoustic Guitar, Joe Ross – Bass, Karl Wilhelm – Drums and Jeff Kelly – Electric Guitars and Keyboards. Produced by Jeff Kelly.
From the 2001 Parasol Records Christmas comp, Stuck in the Chimney.

11. The Green Beings – He’s a Mean One Mr.Grinch
Jamie Baumgart – Guitar; Ronaldo Ambossa – Bass; Ed Portnow – Drums.
Recorded by Floyd Reitsma somewhere or the other.
Apparently the Green Beings were so frothed up by Johnny Grinch’s beautiful selection on the AotM that they wrote this song and recorded it this week. Because we are dedicated to Freshness For You here at GMR, we rush mastered it and slapped it right up here on the beautiful internet.

12. Popllama All Stars – Star (James R Irwin) City Of Trees Music
Jim Irwin – Lead Vocal; John Irwin – Guitar (Jim thinks); Tom Morrison – Violin; Bill Jedrzejewski – Concertina (Jim thinks); Mike Dumas – Hand Drums (Jim thinks)
Produced by Conrad Uno at Egg Studios South, 1982
Another one from Astray in the Manger. Jim is/was the singer for Moving Parts, who are rehearsing to do a show at present and will probably be AotM one of these days soon.

Jim: I wrote the song for this project.  I was intrigued with the idea of writing a Christmas song. I’m not religious, but I always loved the image of the  Star Of Bethlehem and that gave me a start. I’ve always been proud of this song though not particularly proud of the vocal (flat), but it was one of those “live we’re all playing – no overdubs” kind of events. The spirit and feel is great and I think there may have been something in the eggnog at that session. Tom Morrison wrote and played the wonderful violin break in the middle.
I remember it being in a building in Pioneer Square. I think Jed was doing his woodworking out of there and they called it Pop Llama South. These Christmas tapes always went hand in hand with a show at the Rainbow. Those shows were so great and fun. Uno, Emily, Jed et al created a big extended family of musicians back then. I was so grateful to be a part of it for a while. Great people, great talents and great times.

Jed: My memory has Tom playing the drone on a keyboard using that pitch wheel thingy on a Prophet 5 I think. I remember suggesting such in my abbreviated “production role” I played the chromatic harmonica bit.

13. Luxury Audio – Christmas Time (L.Conley, A.Conley & E. Portnow)
Lee Conley – Lead Vocal, Guitar and Bass Guitar; Amber Conley – Saxophone and Backing Vocals;  Ed Portnow – Drums, Bells, some Bass and Backing Vocals; Portnow Taberknuckle Choir: Victoria Portnow, Alexandria Portnow, Cassandra Portnow & Lil’ Dave Portnow.
This fine (and brand spanking new) recording come to you courtesy of “Infra Ed” Portnow of the Dehumanizers, who recorded many fine punk rock/speed core/slow core/something records in my basement back when we were doing that.

Ed: Having always admired Green Monkey, I immediately wanted to participate when I heard about a holiday release. I called up Lee and briefly discussed subject matter/spirit for the tune. We then met and shared ideas. Lee and his 11 year-old daughter Amber came up with the verses and choruses. I supplied the intro, middle and outro. We brought in my brother’s kids and had a blast. Happy Holidays & Peace for everyone.

14. Tom Dyer – Because It’s Christmas (Dyer) © Half the World Publishing, BMI
Produced by Tom Dyer at TDS Production December 2007.
All stuff performed by yrs. truly. Written and recorded the week of Christmas as usual. At the time we were pretty firmly enmeshed in Iraq, but we usually seem to be enmeshed somewhere, so what the heck.

15. The Green Pajamas – This Winter’s Night
Jeff Kelly – Lead Vocal and 12 String Acoustic; Joe Ross – Vocal and Bass; Karl Wilhelm – Drums; Dan Ross – Chord Organ; Todd Whorley – Electric Guitar. The Chorus: Julie Lawrence, Stephanie Barber (both Joe and Jeff think), Karmen Hinds, Colleen Whorley, Kirsten Wilhelm and Melody Miller. Definitely Ellen Merrit.  Produced by Jeff Kelly.
Summer of Lust era Christmas song from the PJs. Recorded on 4-track at Joe’s house on December 19th, 1984. Love this song! Should always be the closing song on every Christmas album!

Project Mastered for your listening enjoyment by Tom Dyer at TDS Productions 2009.

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