Well, brave wanderers, it’s that time of year again –
The turkey’s eaten. The 6:00am Black Friday specials consumed. Now we can get to the true beauty. The annual GMR 100% Xmas Holiday Compilation Masterpiece. And this year we have two. Masterpieces. First, we bring you this year’s model, Hail The Jolly Christmas Monkey!
Per the norm, it is a combo of our “regulars” and first-timers performers, new to the GMR holiday ways. As always, on October 1, I was blindfolded, with no idea who would submit anything and now here we are, seventeen glorious songs later.
If that is not enough rippling excitement, Howie and I decided to make a best-of-the-first-ten-years, Christmas Boogie Woogie: 10 Years of Green Monkey Christmas
. Twenty-seven songs, 79 minutes, oh my sweet Santa! Howie picked ‘em all, sequenced ‘em all and we put the whole business together in time to actually press 100 pretty CDrs for parties (for song deets, click the link). Our wonderful Rosie Dyer made our delightful covers again this year and as always, any and all dough we take in on either album goes to MusiCares
, an excellent charity that helps music people in need.
What else is going on?
Jeff Kelly had a great show with his new band, The Cats of Cadiz, a week ago. TD and The True Olympians made their Seattle debut last night – that was pretty fun.
As we wrap up 2019 and head for 2020 here’s a few observations and so-called predictions. We had 17 new releases this year – that includes remastered albums with piles of new tracks. We had 7 albums that we took over and reissued for The Green Pajamas and Richard Peterson. Twenty-four, that is a record for us.
There is still a bunch of Green Pajamas albums that we are re-issuing in 2020 and some we will be upgrading to fancy extra-track versions. Next week we will release a Brain Wizard single. Good ol’ Brain Wizard! We will be releasing Joe Cason’s Notes From Sea Level
in January and I think some new Zelda Starfire tunes. Olivia Bloch is hiding around the corner. I asked Jeff if there will be new JK material in 2020 and he said yes. He also gave me the go ahead to release the finest JK obscurity I released in long ago 1985, Baroquen Hearts
, of which I remain most fond.
Dante & Eros are ready to release album 2 shortly after the new year. Al Bloch is preparing to record an all new album of mightiness with bother Kurt this February. The OF is laboring away on a work of outstanding artistry in their hidden Roslyn laboratory. The True Olympians and I have begun work on the Concept Album Olympia
, but this will undoubtedly take a while. There is talk of reissuing Frownland’s Sad-eyed Lady of the Frownlands,
possibly Prudence Dredge’s Big Ellen,
a second album from Maggie Teachout, dark horses like Insect Man. The possibilities are infinite.
I think that is everything.
td December 1, 2019
PS-Toiling Midgets and Aaiiee tonight (December 1st) at Lucky Liquors!
Hail The Jolly Christmas Monkey! GMX2019
Produced by Tom Dyer Art by Rosie Dyer
1. Ed and Jeff – Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Ed Portnow: vocal, drums, sleigh bells, hand bells
Jeff Kelly: vocal, guitars, bass, glockenspiel, hand bells
Produced by Ed and Jeff
This song is so much fun – it reminds me of the Chet Atkins/Les Paul record Chester and Lester
– some fellas just relaxing with some tunes and having fun. In this case we have perennial Xmas contributors Jeff Kelly (Green Pajamas) and Ed Portnow (Dehumanizers) teaming up for a super Christmas combo-pack. Love it! Brrrrr.
2. Olivia Bloch (featuring Kurt and Al Bloch)
- I’m Going Back Home for Christmastime (A. Bloch)
© 2019 Mr. Al Music/ASCAP
Olivia Bloch – Vocals, Autoharp; Al Bloch – Bass, Kurt Bloch – Moog Synthesizer; Will O’Brien – Drums.
From the empire that is Familia Bloch come the latest member, Olivia. Rumor has it there will be another Olivia release in the new year. Al, too. (Here’s Al’s latest to hold ya: https://albloch.bandcamp.com/releases
) We are fortunate, my friends!
3. Jim of Seattle – Silent Night
Jim of Seattle: Piano.
Cannot tell you how surprised I was to receive this beautiful and straight-forward carol from Jim. No tricks, just understated beauty. Thanks Jim.
4. Tom and Joe’s Holiday Magic Machine – The Geese
©2019 Half The World Publishing
Tom Dyer – Singing, Guitar, Bass, Hulusi; Joe Cason – Singing, Keyboards.
It is so much fun to make music with Mr. Cason – he is top shelf! We will release Joe’s album Notes From Sea Level
worldwide in January.
5. Ben London – Vinyl Christmas
Performed and recorded by Ben London.
A nicely reverberant Christmas tribute to all things twelve inches from first-timer Ben from Stag, Alcohol Funny Car and a few others. Hopefully the first of many!
6. Richard Stuverud
- Snowing In Frisco Pt 1
Music by Richard Stuverud & Dave Flores. Lyrics by Derek McCulloch
This is a Richard’s third or so holiday contribution and a fine one it is. Beside being a fabulous drummer (Fastbacks drummer #3?, various Jeff Ament bands), he is a fine and expressive piano player and singer.
7. Steve Fisk – The Little Drummer Boy
This is our first time with a Christmas jolly from the Fantastic Mr. Fisk! Steve assembled this (with apologies to Johnny Cash) for the old Music Source studio in ’91 at the behest of Jim Wolfe. Very festive indeed!
8. The Elftones – Christmas Without You
(Trettevik – Nordling)
©2019 Trettevik – Nordling
Steve Trettevik – Lead Vocal, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Sherrie Nordling – Backing Vocals, Synthesizers.
The Elftones are Xmas regulars here at the Monkey. Steve has a pretty new Telecaster, Sherrie has a happy new Roland synth and they are putting them to good use here.
9. Wendi Dunlap – Christmas Eve
Song © 1992 Dave Scarbrough (P) All Mod Cons Music, BMI licenced under agreement. The recording is © 2015 by Wendi.
Thom Bowers - Bass; Joel Boyea - Acoustic Guitar, Mix; Grahame Davies - Electric Guitar; Wendi Dunlap - Lead and Backing Vocals; Keith Klingensmith - Backing Vocals; Bill Shaouy - Piano; Jennie Struijk - Drums; Dave Scarbrough - EQ and Mastering.
Our old friend and NW expat Wendy’s contribution to an album of holiday songs with the Theme Music Facebook group.
10. Rendition – Verbum Caro Factum Est
Mark Brunke – Vocal and Guitar; Ruth Davidson – Guitar.
Mark: Verbum Caro Factum Est is one of the world's oldest Christmas carols and chants. Here it forms the basis of a song about issues of our own time. As a traditional carol it dates from the medieval times, it’s thought to be 12th century (see https://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/Music_P000_files/P062_Verbum.htm
and from Chant, its 9th responsory of the Christmas Matins, and was and maybe still is, sung on Christmas morning. It’s been set to music by ancients unknown, and in medieval times by many, and is still recorded to this day.
While looking for examples I found three different versions being released this year alone. It comes from John 1:14, "the word was made flesh and it dwelt among us". (http://www.classical-music.com/article/five-best-ancient-christmas-carols
) I based my version on the Hassler verbum caro from 1591 (https://www.monteverdichorale.org/media/our-music/
) which incorporated stuff about glory, grace and truth from John 1 into the text. Motet offensive... but of course I departed a good bit.
Anyway, it’s based on an old Christmas tune.
TD: I totally agree.
11. Jon Davis – Psychedelic Christmas
Jon Davis: Keyboards, Programming, Percussion, Chapman Stick, and Vocals
Prog-rockster Jon of the Super Z Attack Team (who gave us “We Three Super Kings
” last year) has kindly graced us with a solo and vocal performance this year. We are trippin’, baby!
12. Duane Hibbard – It’s A Hard Time
Duane plays it all. Duane does it all. Duane is the man. Did I mention Duane is the man?
13. Levi Fuller – Enough Stuff
Performed & recorded by Levi Fuller
Levi has graced us with a couple Xmas tunes in years past and has his own Winter Holiday Spectacular compilation out this year on Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly #58
. This issue even features the True Olympians – thanks, Levi!
14. Richard Stuverud - Snowing In Frisco Pt 2
Music by Richard Stuverud. Lyrics by Derek McCulloch. Guitar solo by Dave Murray.
The message continues in a straight up rocking version!
15. Cabeza – Wonderful Christmas Time
Craig Lodis – Guitar, Lead Vocals, Keys; Saul Mann – Bass, Back-up Vocals; Ray Dyer – Drums, Back-up Vocals!
All the way from chilly Boise we have this happy take on the Macca’s holiday favorite.
16. Who’s This Mystery Band? – The Brand New Christmas
This was sent to me last December after the 2018 Xmas album had been released. I liked it and saved it all year. I pulled it out this December and realized I had no idea who it was or who I got it from. So, here it is. Hopefully someone will say “Hey! that’s my song” and the mystery will be solved! Because we don’t know who this is, this song will only be included in our Bandcamp version – it will not be part of the official version on Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
17. Utterance Tongue – Cheznuts
Ed Day – Synthesizers & Sequencing; Rich Hinklin – Stick Bass, Percussion & Sonic Trickery; Frank Junk – Ocarinas & Cymbal Machines
Recorded at Word of Mouth Productions and KGB Audio, October 2019
Engineered by Rich Hinklin & Ed Day Mixed & Mastered by Rich Hinklin
Produced by Utterance Tongue
Our chum (and former GMR superstar) Mr. Richard Hinklin has brought Utterance Tongue back into play. It is a holiday blessing indeed.