However Christmas Day is a very very special day. Its a day when we listen to music we’d rather die than hear for the other 364 days. Nevertheless I’ve hunted high and low (ie, blew some dust off the CD rack) to find a few truly great xmas tracks (and some others that at least don’t make you want to put those lovely new socks over your ears).
Thanks to anyone and everyone who’s visited this site in 2010 and to the people with the real talent who make the music.
Mr T & Nancy courtesy of the brilliant SketchySantas.
1. KELPE – “Silent Night” / PAUL WHITE – “We Three Kings”
Lets start with two reworkings of traditional Christmas staples. First up Kelpe treats “Silent Night” with total reverence as distant choirs burst through, and impossible beauty unfolds. Paul White transforms “We Three Kings” into the finest seasonal beat since Coldcut’s risked career and credibility with their Christmas Break. Say Ho…. Ho!
2. MAPS – “Stay Another Day”
I dont think Maps lead singer James Chapman quite understood the spirit of Christmas when introducing his cover of E17’s massive Xmas hit “Stay Another Day”:
“This song is my special Xmas gift to you, inspired by taking 12 Es and running myself over in my own car. Only an enormous puffer jacket prevented me from certain death“.
Their transformation of the song into a blissed out trippy shoegazing epic is nothing short of astonishing, and just goes to show how the much maligned E17 actually penned one of the pop songs of that decade.
Merry Christmas to my home town, Walthamstow.
Maps – “Stay Another Day” (MP3)
3. COCK’N’BULL KID – “Amazing Dave”
When I saw that Anita Cock’N’Bull was covering ‘Amazing Grace‘ as a Christmas treat, I almost didnt bother downloading it so unapatising was the thought. How wrong I was, its bloody brilliant and bodes well for the commercial break through she’s been threatening for years now.
Amazing Dave was co-written and produced with Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn And John fame, and is in no way a tribute to David “Call Me Dave” Cameron.
Cock’N’Bull Kid – “Amazing Dave” (MP3)
4. DE LA SOUL – “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”
I post this every year at the expense of festive cheer but its an absolute classic from the darker side of Christmas. What’s more, it still reminds me of the excitement this De La obsessive felt when a package from the US landed on my doormat almost 20 years ago.
Released in America as a double A-side with “Keepin’ The Faith”, the alternate mix of “Millie Pulled a Pistol On Santa” remains one of my all-time favourite De La Soul releases.
The best Hip Hop lyrics stand on their own as Poetry, and De La who were 21 at the time – and so far ahead of the game as to be embarrassing – deliver an astonishing tale of a girl fighting back against her abusive father.“
She had the curves that made you wanna take chances
I mean on her, man, I’d love to make advances
I guess her father must ‘a got the same feelin’
I mean, actually findin’ his own daughter Millie appealing”
De La Soul – “Millie Pulled a Pistol On Santa (Full Version)” (MP3)
5. LE SAC VS PIP – “Letter from God To Man (The PolarBear PS)”
The original version first popped up on this site on Christmas day 2007, but less well know is this remix featuring a show stealing turn by the genius that is PolarBear. Skip to 2.40 to be blown away (No disrespect to Pip’s own fine rhymes).
6. LEE SCRATCH PERRY – “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year”
I can’t listen to this without singing along. Happy New Year from the Upsetter, with a little help courtesy of a real lost talent, Sandra Robinson. I must get round to recording the Dub version off the 12″.
Lee “Scratch” Perry – “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year (feat. Sandra Robinson)” (MP3)
7. HEDLUV – Christmas Rappin’
Who else but Hedluv & Passman would think of teaming up what might just be the keyboard riff from “Tales Of The Unexpected” to sing along lines like “Ice cream, double cream, brandy cream and clotted cream… i’ll eat it all and then i’ll go and play Monopoly“.
8. WILLIAM BURROUGHS – The Junkie’s Christmas
William Burroughs – “The Junkies Christmas” (MP3)
9. CLARENCE CARTER – “Back Door Santa”
Clarence ain’t like no St. Nic, he don’t come just once a year. Have yourself a suggestive Christmas with Mr. Carter’s funk gem.
Clarence Carter – “Back Door Santa” (MP3)
10. GREG WILSON Vs ELO
A limited festive chance to download Greg Wilson’s re-edit of ELO’s “Last Train To London”. Its an absolute stonking anthem, and all you have to do to get your hands on it is follow Greg on Soundcloud. Head here immediately.
BONUS XMAS GIFTS
Sage Francis tells the story behind his Christmas freebie (above):
“During the Christmas of 1982 my parents put a tape recorder on the floor, pressed the record button and let it run as I opened gifts. The gifts ranged from an electronic noise machine to an E.T. card game (hey, it’s better than the E.T. Atari game.) Recently, as I was going through my tape collection, I found this recording and discovered that it provided me a zip-line to a time when my parents were still together, my dad was still alive, Christmas was magical and batteries were in high demand. I edited the audio and placed it over some ambient music that a guy named Ben Kordus sent me a few years ago. I feel it accentuates the melancholy of the moment so a big “thank you” definitely goes out to him.
2010 was brutal for almost everyone I know. There’s been a lot of loss, struggle and change. That’s not to say that 2010 didn’t have its beautiful moments as well. It certain did, and I’m glad to have shared those moments with people I care about. Let’s all plan on having a happy and successful 2011 by taking better care of ourselves while looking out for each other.
All the best,
I’ll sign off with some festive Fanny Craddock.
Music Like Dirt will return refreshed and two stone heavier in the New Year armed with a “Best of 2010” list – just as everyone is as sick of those as they are Turkey curry.
Happy New Year!
The Trojans – “Auld Lang Syne” (MP3)