Ho Ho Ho!
Man-o- man. Christmas again!
Well, this year we doing something different. No Variety Snack Pack Xmas album for charity. Nope. We’ll do that again next year. Instead, we are doing a giant charity FUNDRAISER for MusiCares, a great charity that helps Music People in need. Howzat?
1. We are going to have a Mega Xmas Holiday Charity Bash out at Darrell’s Tavern on Aurora on Saturday, December 13. Green Monkey SuperStars galore! $15 bucks. MusiCares gets all the dough from that. Seating is limited and Tickets on sale now!
2. Any cash we make off GMR Xmas album sales this year will go to MusiCares.
3. We are running a fabulous IndieGoGo project (with great perks) to raise moolah for ‘em! Our goal – RAISE $2,5000 BUCKS!
You know you want in on this action. How?
Get advance tickets for the show (and other great rewards) by going to our IndieGoGo site right here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/green-monkey-records-charity-xmas-xtravaganza Don’t wait - do it now!
As for this month’s featured album, it is Tom Dyer-Xmas 30 years In The Making (hey, that’s me). We rushed it out last year as a download three weeks before Christmas, just because we could. To our shock, we got a lot of groovy response for “No Lou This Xmas.” Ho, ho, ho! It’s a year later. Howie convinced me we should give the thing a proper Christmas release. So we did. Remastered much fancier (some from original 1983 reel-to-reels). A real CD instead of a burnt one. Proper. You can buy it in quality stores! You can buy it straight from us at Green Monkey. You can get it from IndieGoGo. You can buy it at the show Whee!
We have even made a glorious video for “No Lou” that you can watch right here.
It is time to get jolly!
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Xmas-30 Years in the Making
1. It’s Christmas (And I’m Jolly) (Dyer)
2. No Lou This Xmas (Dyer)
3. Christmas (It's Around the Corner) (Dyer)
4. Propane Santa (Wahlen, Dyer, Dyer & Dyer)
5. Jingle Bell Ska (Trad. Arranged by Dyer)
6. Christmas Time For Sailors (Dyer)
7. Peace On Earth (Dyer)
8. Hot Dog! It’s Christmas! (Dyer)
9. It's A White Mule Christmas (Dyer, McCaslin, Wilhelm)
10. It’s Snowing In Seattle (Dyer)
11. Because It's Christmas (Dyer)
12. The Christmas Rosie Came to Town (Dyer)
13. Christmas Time Is Here (Dyer)
14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Trad. Arranged by Dyer)
15. Angels We Have Heard On High (Trad. Arranged by Dyer)
All songs © Half the World Publishing.
Words from GMR VP Howie Wahlen:
Since 2009 Green Monkey Records (GMR) Mach 2 has gathered together some great Northwest musicians for the sole purpose of spreading good cheer for Christmas and lending a hand to worthy charities. The driving force behind these yearly projects has been GMR Prez Tom (He’s no Grinch) Dyer. He has had his hand out ready to receive whatever carols others will donate to the cause, making his own too, and ready to give a hand to others, usually pulling it all together at the last nano second on December 1st. (You can still download them at Bandcamp and the funds still go to charity.) This year we are doing things a little different.
After we put the 2013 Xmas project to bed we started counting up TD’s songs and realized that he had enough songs to do his own Xmas album. So we thought, “Hey, we’ve got enough time to get together a hard copy for sale.” You know, a physical CD that you can buy and take home and put in a player. It includes the surprise hit from Green Monkey Records Presents Merry Krampus “No Lou For Xmas.” He makes no claims for the greatest Xmas song for all time. He doesn’t think that Bing Crosby and David Bowie, Phil Spector, Robert L. May (Rudolph), Gene Autry or John Lennon have anything to worry about, but he does like a good Christmas song come the holidays.
Some people are slow and meticulous when they make an album (Heck, I thought the nine months between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper was ridiculous), but TD has never been accused of that to my knowledge...and yep, it took him 30 years.
Words from Xmas Artist Tom Dyer:
1. It’s Christmas (and I’m Jolly) (Dyer) October 2013
Kelle Boyd & Sheila Dunagan - Backing Vocals
An Xmas song idea from October 2013, which was a very inspired year - three Xmas songs written and recorded between October1 and December 1. I was walking in the parking garage at work and sang the basic two ideas for this into my phone this October. This kind of goes back to the madrigal and choral singing of my youth. I pretended I was a conductor when recording the girls parts. Very fun to do.
Scott Vanderpool - Drums; Joe Ross - Bass; Scott Sutherland - Lead Guitar; Kelle Boyd & Sheila Dunagan (le Cheeky Dames) – Backing Vocals, Assistant Engineer - Howie Wahlen
I was working on 2013’s Xmas album in October when Lou Reed died. I am not some obsessed freako stalker fan, but I have great respect for his work. I wasn’t upset. I was surprised he lived so long. I had the idea for this song shortly thereafter and thought wot the hell. Yes it is the exact chord progression of the Velvet’s “Rock and Roll” (also used in a million other songs) and for sure I literarily quote from another Lou song in the second verse homage. Oh yeah, I didn’t write the words to The Night Before Christmas either. Thanks Lou for being Lou. The basic track was cut live in my dining room. Thanks to everyone for coming over and making a racket.
3. Christmas (It's Around the Corner) (Dyer) October 2013
Glenn Slater – Excellent Keyboards; Kelle Boyd & Sheila Dunagan – Backing Vocals
This is probably as close to Bing Crosby as I’m ever gonna get, but of course I would get closer if I could. My old pal Glenn from the Walkabouts carried the day on this one. And the Cheeky Dames vocalized with aplomb. This was also really fun to do. Perhaps Harry Connick Jr. should give this a try.
4. Propane Santa (Wahlen, Dyer, Dyer & Dyer) October 2012
Lyrics by Howie Wahlen (except the words “From an email” & “From Howie” – those 5 words written exclusively by Tom Dyer)
Music by Ben, Kat and Tom Dyer
Kat Dyer - female singing
Ben Dyer - guitars
Produced by Tom Dyer.
td: A year ago Howie sent me this email about a Santa-like near-encounter in Sumner WA, with the closing line “Is there a song in here somewhere.” I said maybe. A year later we decided we would just take the email and do it word for word. No lyrical enhancements other than the aforementioned five words. Howie thinks it says his name too many times to be any good. It says Howie eight times. I think holiday lovers will handle it ok. Ben does a pretty wack solo on this.
HAW: True story.
5. Jingle Bell Ska (Dyer) October 2012
td: Woke up a few weeks ago and thought I should get this done. Did it.
HAW: After all, he started this thing. Now he's gotta finish it. McCartney couldn't have done this better.
Gary Minkler – First Take Vocal. Bill Bagley – Bitchin’ fake Accordion.
When I put out 2011’s call for entries, I sent Gary a note and asked if he would be willing to work with me on something. Answer = yes. A couple days before, I had written this tune when I turned the corner off 85th onto Aurora on my way to work one morning. Pushed the record memo button on the phone and spit it out from start to end. As you can see, it was a perfect fit. Gary brought his Red Dress colleague Bill along, who is a million times saltier keyboard player than I am. Viola! Done.
YouTube video here.
7. Peace on Earth (Dyer) November 2011
Spaghetti western meets Greensleeves. Yum. I gots me a 1967 red Hagstrom Viking II guitar the day I recorded this, so here it is. Love the Hagstroms!
8. Hot Dog! It's Christmas! (Dyer) November 2010
Originally written two Christmases before it was recorded, it was time for its beauty to become realized. To make that happen I chose up-and-coming singer Katherine “Kat” Dyer along with a liberal dose of her hornster colleagues from Orkestar Zirkonium, Eric Padget (coronet) andDr. Ivan Molton (tenor sax), deliciously layered on top of Broadway pro Michael Harris (piano), drummer Johnny Strike and Pajama bass manJoe Ross. When I decided to put it on this disc, I added my own vocal to make it a father-daughter duet thing like Natalie and Nat King Cole (except I’m not dead). Add one part sass, one part sweet, shake don’t stir and it is ready to go – Hot Dog!
9. It’s A White Mule Christmas (White Mule Family) 1937
White Mule Family was: Homer, singin’ and Stella guitar; Gomer, bass fiddle and singin’; Goober, drummin’ and some singin’; Doober - R.I.P.
White Mule Family was a somewhat obscure hillbilly band from the backwoods of Tennessee, USA. This field recording, made in 1937 by noted musicologist Johan Lomax, is demonstrative of the true meaning of American roots music in the most authentical sense. As well as being a holiday classic, it cracked the door of time by peering deeply into the future. The words are still provided at the bottom of the 2010 Xmas page so you can all sing, sing, sing along!
10. It’s Snowing in Seattle (Dyer) December 2009
Jim McIver, Jeff Kelly – Vocals; Ben Dyer – Guitars; Glenn Slater- Organ; Daniel Casado – Bass; Jeff Mosier – Percussion; Backing Vocals – Kat 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 the Anthology, 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 forThe 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 was the drummer for the Dudley Manlove Quartet for 20 years. There ye go!
11. Because It’s Christmas (Dyer) December 2007
Written and recorded the week of Christmas as usual up in a third floor hideaway in Providence, Rhode Island. At the time we were pretty firmly enmeshed in Iraq, but we usually seem to be enmeshed somewhere, so what the heck. Recorded it in a morning and resisted the temptation to pretty it up. Simple, raw.
12.The Christmas Rosie Came to Town (Dyer) December 2001
My niece Rosie had moved in with us to finish high school and inspired this song. There are at least a few factual parts. I quite like the Hollywood-type Egyptian section in the middle. Rosie and Kat do the backup vocals!
13. Christmas Time is Here (Dyer) December 1992
Produced with some studio assistance by Anthony Zapata at AiS Studios 1992.
Wrote this on the morning of Christmas Eve, while drinking my breakfast coffee. A bit maudlin but basically true. Recorded and mixed it that day, which is of course my preferred methodology for all Christmas songs. Names were not changed to protect the innocent.
14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) December 1983
The last two songs were my first Christmas recordings, recorded with my sister’s Casio MT-65 synthy orchestra thing and the mighty Gibson SG - recorded to 4-track reel-to-reel. The middle bit was of course inspired by stuff Prince was doing back then like Controversy. I went back and dug up the original analog reel-to-reel mixes just for this release.
15. Angels We Have Heard on High (Traditional) December 1983
This was my dearly departed Grandma Faith’s favorite. She like to show it off to her card playing pals. These last two songs were released on a cassette compilation in 1984 called He Knows When You’ve Been Sleeping, with The Fastbacks and others, plus a picture of Orwell’s Big Brother on the front. I read a solicitation for it in The Rocket (Seattle music rag of the day) and sent them in. Just last year I found out the guy that put it out was none other than Scott Vanderpool, the drummer for the Green Pajamas, King County Queens and many more. He play’s on No Lou on this very record. It’s a blessed Christmas miracle, dammit!