Welcome to December!
- Christmas in Olympia Tom Dyer and the True Olympians 3:00
- Breakin' Up Christmas The REDS 3:02
- Car Parts The Randy Hicks Band 1:55
- Let's Get Together At Christmas (It's Better Than Drinking Alone) The Green Pajamas 3:11
- A Christmas Song Jim of Seattle 1:30
- Christmas Time is Here Ed Portnow 2:57
- A Child’s Christmas Wish Duane Hibbard 2:01
- Christmas is Love Tom Dyer and the True Olympians 3:47
- What Child Is This? Tom Dyer 3:38
- Wish You Well This Christmas The Elf-tones 2:20
- Fruitcake The Krampus Quartet 2:26
- Search Party Burnseer 4:20
- Santa Won't Be Here The Fresh Prince of Brain Wizard 1:57
- Have A Merry Christmas Jim of Seattle 0:16
- Hark The Herald Angels Pleasure Island 2:24
- Orphan's Christmas Elves Bells 3:31
- Christmas Fire (Blizzard Mix) Saint John and The Revelations 2:24
- @santaclaus Space Band 2:58
- Follow the Angels Kelly Kristjanson 2:50
- Toyland Earle Thunders/Mike Shuppe 2:11
It is time for our ninth 100% downloadable Xmas album in a row – eight by a variety of mostly Pacific Northwest artists (one by me). As always, it is a charity album – all the money we collect will go to MusiCares, a fine charity that helps out music people in need. This year’s edition has some of the usual suspects, some new-comers, you know – the regular deal.
For me, this year’s model has been more interesting than usual at a technical basis. A couple weeks ago I had Pro Tools (which I used to record some of the songs and master the album) completely fail and spent a week rebuilding my computer and getting everything to work. Our GMR web page only works about half way and we are working on a Plan B. We will update you on that later, but for now we will mostly be coming at you via Facebook, our newsletter and our bandcamp sales page. Who cares about that kind of boring stuff? Not Santa, that’s for sure. Perseverance has paid off and it is time to be Merry! And Bright!
So here we go – thanks to everyone who contributed this year and thanks to all of you who support our musical rambling throughout the year.
Check out the tunes and share them with everyone in the whole wide world, from North Pole to South Pole and all points in between!
See you in January,
You can buy the album right here: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-good-the-bad-and-other-christmas-favorites
1. Tom Dyer and the True Olympians – Christmas in Olympia (Dyer)
Tom Dyer – Vocal, Guitar; Joe Cason – Keyboards, Vocal; Gene Tveden – Bass, Vocal; Tom Sholbum – Drums, Percussion.
Produced by Tom Dyer. Recorded at TDS Productions Olympia, WA October 2017. Assistant Engineer – Howie Wahlen. ℗ Half the World Publishing.
This is the debut release from the True Olympians. I moved back to Olympia about a year and a half ago – once I got settled in I figured it would be fun to get some kind of combo going. I called up Gene who I played with in high school. Got intro-ed to Tom by Greener Boy Scott Vanderpool. Tom is in another band with Joe, we invited him over and off we went (Joe played in No Toy Boys with the late Tom Alvord, who I also played with in high school – geez). Besides these fine Christmas songs (we made a few neato CDR singles of this and “Christmas Is Love”), I have 12 new songs that we are recording next. I will probably get around to making us a Facebook page but for now just go to Tom Dyer’s Unpopular Music to get the fresh lowdown.
Eleven or twelve Tom Dyer albums can be found at: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com
2. The REDS – Breakin’ Up Christmas (Traditional)
River Scheuerell – Fiddle; Eros Faulk – Fiddle; Dante Faulk – Cello; Sage Scheuerell – Guitar.
Recorded by Tom Dyer at TDS Productions October 2017.
The REDS are a young – thirteen to sixteen – Olympia folk band (yes, two sets of brothers) who have been playing together for a few years and have some chops. I released an album with Dante and Eros (Breit) this fall that has got some pretty nice press and which you should own. Eros informs me this not technically a Christmas song. River also has his own album you can get here: http://www.riverscheuerell.com.
The REDS: https://www.facebook.com/theredsbandoly/
3. The Randy Hicks Band – Car Parts (Buchner)
Zelda Starfire – Dobro, Vocals; Jenny Hill – Violin; Paul Dillion – Stand-up Bass; Jerk Gabe – Drums.
Recorded by Steve Feasly Fall 2017.
Zelda Starfire is a regular – this is her third GMR Xmas album appearance. The first two were just her and a lonely uke. This year it’s a whole band but alas the band is no more. Never fear, Zelda rocks on!
4. The Green Pajamas – Let’s Get Together At Christmas (It’s Better Than Drinking Alone)
(Music by Ross. Words by Ross, Weller and Lichter) ℗ St. Brigid Publishing
Produced by Joe Ross, Co-produced by Jeff Kelly.
Jeff Kelly – Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Piano, Sound Effects, Backing Vocals, Percussion; Eric Lichter – Vocals, Percussion; Joe Ross – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Finger Snaps; Scott Vanderpool -Snare Drum, Sheep Bahs, Backing Vocals; Laura Weller – Vocals.
This is one of the goofier things the Green Pajamas have allowed into the public. Bravo say I, bravo! As you know, they have many releases and we are going to do a new one in January – Northern Gothic III: Phantom Lake. After thirty-five years, this will be the last new Green Pajamas album. Probably about time dontcha think? We will no doubt milk the catalog for years after that, repackaging tunes into collections sold on late night TV like Songs About Nuns – can’t wait!
5. Jim of Seattle – A Christmas Song (Owens)
Jim Owen – Instruments and Singing. Recorded by Jim. ℗ Jim Owen.
Jim is a brilliant music-human and I am delighted to put his music out. I am a better person for it, honest. He has two great albums on Green Monkey and you want them both. This song reminds me of something but I just can’t figure out what. Live long and prosper. http://www.jimofseattle.com
6. Ed Portnow – Christmas Time is Here (Portnow)
All instruments and vocals by Ed. He recorded it, too.
Ed is Infra Ed of the Dehumanizers, a goat owner and the second-nicest guy in the universe. When he’s not doing anything else, he sends me recordings he’s made of Mahavishnu Orchestra song where he plays all the instruments himself. Pretty nuts. This Ed’s third or fourth holiday submission. As always, it is both beautiful and fantastic.
7. Duane Hibbard – A Child’s Christmas Wish (Hibbard)
All music played and recorded by Duane.
Duane is another GMR Xmas regular – I think this is at least his fifth entry, usually as Toxic Socket or Uncle Tiki. If you haven’t heard his Potato Song from last year, you need to correct that right away: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/track/the-potato-song. So good! Duane is a holder of the True Christmas Spirit that’s for sure.
8. Tom Dyer & the True Olympians – Christmas is Love (Dyer)
Same credits as “Christmas in Olympia.” ℗ Half the World Publishing.
Produced by Tom Dyer Recorded at TDS Productions Olympia WA October 2017.
I wrote this song and “Christmas in Olympia” in about 10 minutes and then fleshed out the lyrics. Life should always be that easy. The day I went to record this with the True Olympians was total Pro Tools disaster. Howie and the fellas were troopers and we got it done. I really like this band.
9. Tom Dyer – What Child Is This? (Traditional)
Tom Dyer – Bass clarinet, Melodica, Drum, Vocal, Fake Accordion; Kat Dyer – Tom’s Alto Sax, Tambourine.
Produced by Tom Dyer. Recorded at TDS Productions Olympia WA October 2017.
This was really fun to do. I got a bass clarinet this year and while my skills are extremely limited, I love making low noises with it. Kate was initially brought in as a tambourine specialist but kept hanging around and played sax. Words were written in 1865, the tune – Greensleeves – goes back further than that.
Tom’s other Xmas songs: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/xmas-30-years-in-the-making
10. The Elf-tones – Wish You Well This Christmas (Trettevik)
Steve Trettevik – Guitar, Vocals; Sherry Nordling – Bass, Keyboards; Tom Dyer – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals, Keyboards, Fake Drum Programming.
Recorded by Steve and then some more by Tom – Mixed by Tom. ℗ Steve Trettevik
Stevie T. is another regular, having put stuff out under a variety of names. As usual Steve wrote a song, recorded a bunch of tracks and gave me the whole pile to add to and mix. I’m not sure why he keeps letting me mess up his stuff, but it sure is fun.
11. The Krampus Quartet – Fruitcake (Dyer)
Scott Vanderpool – Lead Vocal, Percussion, Claps; Laura Weller – Organ, Lap Steel Guitar, Vocals, Claps; Tom Dyer – Guitar, Bass Clarinet, Clapping; Vicki Dyer – Hand Claps.
Recorded by Tom Dyer. ℗ Half the World Publishing.
This song started out as some bad lyrics that I sent Scott and Laura just to goad them into recording an Xmas song. Scott said they were plenty good enough words. One evening Laura and Scott showed up with little notice and we pushed the record button. The lead vocal, guitar and organ were recorded live in one take. Laura was an impressive organ-soloing machine. An undefined quantity of alcohol was involved.
12. Burnseer – Search Party (Frankie G.)
Norman Scott: Drums; Frankie G: Guitar, Vocals; Eric Norberg: Bass Guests: Mikel Perkins – Guitar; Allison Maryatt: Vocals.
Recorded and Mixed by Mikel Perkins at Soundhouse.
Frankie says: That the song is about homelessness. Becoming homeless either because of addiction, mental illness, or a combination of both. This song tells the story of a person who witnesses a loved one transition from a “normal life” to a life that is slowly fading away.
They have a great album on GMR: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/burnseer.
13. The Fresh Prince of Brain Wizard – Santa Won’t Be Here (Elzner)
The Fresh Prince of Brain Wizard – Piano, Vocal
The Fresh Prince of Brain Wizard’s alter ego The Brain Wizard, will be releasing his debut early this year. He said that last year and possibly the year before, but this time he is really going to do it, because The World needs the Brain Wizard. In the meantime you can enjoy this morose little ditty.
14. Jim of Seattle – Have A Merry Christmas (Owens)
Jim Owen – Instruments and Singing. Recorded by Jim ℗ Jim Owen
This is the shortest song on The Good, The Bad and Other Christmas Favorites. When you got everything said that you need to say, no need waste people’s time. Am I right?
15. Pleasure Island – Hark The Herald Angels
Stafford Warner – Drums, Sleigh Bells; Johnny Horn: Bass; Phil Bentz: Guitar, Bass IV.
Recorded and mixed by Mark Bentz.
Pleasure Island exists for your surfing and sometimes holiday merriment and we are pleased to have them aboard yet again. Phil is also a member of the mighty Shaken Growlers (we released their rocking debut this year) and a few other bands. He is a guitar & amplifier connoisseur and I suspect he has these bands as an excuse to play his fine guitars. Pleasure Island usually plays some shows around Xmas so keep an eye out.
16. Elves Bells – Orphan’s Christmas (Morehead)
Cãin Morehead – Guitars, Vocals; Little Ray Esparza: Guitar, Bass, Percussion; Kel E. Ryan – Lead Guitar.
Recorded by Little Ray Esparza and Cãin Morehead at The Lake House.
Cãin’s “real” band is The Navins who have a fine album out on Green Monkey. He is a Rickenbacker man. Cãin is a man who likes to turn out the occasional Xmas tune. For that we thank him!
17. Saint John and The Revelations – Christmas Fire (Blizzard Mix) (John)
Oliver Dye – Drums; Phil Hirschi – Cello; Abby London – Electric Piano; Cory Cavazos – Bass Guitar; Mary Ann Miller – Backing Vocals; Saint John – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
18. Space Band – @santaclaus (Space Band)
Space Man- Vocals; Plague Doctor- Guitar; Other Plague Doctor- Bass; Ganglord- Drum Programming
Space Man had been exploring Earth, and in a lot of places he had been hearing what Earth calls music. He liked the sounds and thought, “Why can’t I do this?” So he made a band out of a ganglord, who attacked and tried to kill him, and two plague doctors, who also attacked and tried to kill him. After battling they composed a holiday song, titled “@santaclaus”. Space Man really loves Earth music now, even if being in a band can be hard. See their exciting video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxxKTynKMUc&feature=youtu.be
19. Kelly Kristjanson – Follow the Angels (Kristjanson)
Kelly Kristjanson – Instruments and Vocal; Matt Moody – Drums; Kerri Pinkston – Back-up Vocals.
℗ Kelly Kristjanson, BMI
Kelly : “Follow the Angels” is one of those songs I wrote in hopes that Pat Boone might sing it one day. Traditionally Christmas…
20. Earle Thunders/Mike Shuppe – Toyland (Victor Herbert/ Glen MacDonough)
Earl Thunders – Vocals; Mike Shuppe – Guitar; Engineered and Mixed by Kenan Kelly.
Did you know this song was written in 1903 for a musical written to follow up the hit Wizard of Oz Broadway musical. I did not know that. This is definitely scarier than the version done by Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands for the Disney Babes In Toyland movie. In a nearly amusing side note, when I saw Babes In Toyland at the Capitol Theater in Olympia as a kid, my little brother puked on some guys coat in the row in front of us. Awfully festive. When Earle is not doing Christmas songs he is The Man in the band Guns of Nevada. https://www.facebook.com/GunsofNevada/.