Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A John Waters Christmas (2004)

I'm sitting here, freshly poured white russian in hand, enjoying Phil Spector's brilliant holiday album, A Christmas Gift For You, after putting together my nephew's new drum set and I'm thinking to myself "sometimes, Christmas is fantastic!". So, in honor of my splendid mood, i'll share something with you. I discovered this album a few years back when I went through my first John Waters binge. It's totally great! One of my favorite holiday albums, way up there with Spector's. These are songs that John Waters himself has chosen, a mix tape of sorts, to share with everyone on his favorite holiday of the year. I got to see Waters live last christmas for his annual stand-up thingy and if you ever get a chance to go I recommend taking it. He's a great man to hear speak. So anyways. Please, sit back, pour a drink, and enjoy this holiday gem! And have a good holiday season assholes!

"Just when you think you can’t stand to hear another Christmas carol, here I come with a holiday treat that will make you actually appreciate the insanity of the Yuletide season. Wrap this CD as a gift to yourself, pretend you forgot what it is and act surprised when you open it. Close your eyes and imagine you’re with me at my house Christmas morning listening to favorite carols.

What better music to open your Xmas stocking with than “Fat Daddy (is Santa Claus)” ?! Fat Daddy -- Baltimore’s one-time coolest rhythm and blues disc jockey, host of “Negro Day” on “The Buddy Deane Show”, and my inspiration for the Motor Mouth Maybelle character in “Hairspray” -- never sounded so lovely, so cheery, so ripe to be asked over for eggnog. Maybe Tiny Tim could join us. No Mrs. Miller, this eccentric but brilliant performer may have been a novelty act in his day, but when he sings, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” like a Christmas canary, he’s no joke in my house.

Of course, some of us get neurotically religious during the holiday season, so “Happy Birthday Jesus” by scary “Little Cindy” will be just perfect to play if Christian guilt ever creeps into your celebration. Listen to this child’s voice; so godawful, so devout, so beautiful, so perfect. No second take in the recording booth for this motley moppet! “Little Cindy” regrets nothing and neither should you.

A lot of my Baltimore friends might be described as “extreme white people” so I hope you don’t mind if I invite a few of them over to join us. They especially like to get drunk and sing-a-long with “Here Comes Fatty Clause” and complain about future bankruptcy because of gift giving. Of course, some of these guests get the “whirlies” and are unable to stand up without falling down so I put on the crippled Christmas carol “Little Mary Christmas” and we all shed a tear over the pathologically maudlin orphan who “hobbled back to her room” after being passed up for adoption year after year.

But who needs to feel sad at Christmas, right? Especially when Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva belt out “I Wish You a Merry Christmas” in a soulfully obscure holiday greeting that makes me wish I had their heirs’ home addresses so I could wish them a merry one, too. Of course, not all of our friends could make it over here today, so when we listen to the melancholy “Santa, Don’t Pass Me By” and think about that country singer hitching a ride with Santa to get home for Christmas, I bet you’ll feel like picking him up and buying him a present all on your own.

I can’t help it, I have the hots for “The Chipmunks.” We all have a type, what can I say? When these mischievous little friends ring those “Sleigh Bells”, I feel so happy, so aggressive that I want to get dressed as Santa, go out and scare the neighbors. Just when I think no Christmas song could be any closer to my heart I hear the nasal good cheer of “Sleighbells, Reindeer & Snow” and wish I could get a stuffy nose. I fix everybody another cocktail and we sit back, count our blessings and marvel at the almost cinematic use of the musical instrument, the theremin, in “First Snowfall.” I remind my guests that being alone can sometimes be so peaceful.

But hey, it’s time for turkey dinner so what better way to say grace than to play my old time favorite Kwanza carol, “Santa Claus Is A Black Man.” Here it is, the motherlode of crackpot Xmas carols, the 45rpm record I hunted for my whole life and recently bought on eBay at a great deal of personal expense just so you could hear it too. Yes, Akim, there is a Santa Claus and he’ll always be black in my mind because of your liberating, endearing vocal. Just thinking about this holiday song makes me feel as if I could spontaneously combust.

Have a merry, rotten, scary, sexy, biracial, ludicrous, happy little Christmas.

See you next year.
" - John Waters

  1. "Fat Daddy" - Fat Daddy
  2. "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" - Tiny Tim
  3. "Christmas Time Is Coming" (A Street Carol) - Stormy Weather
  4. "Happy Birthday Jesus" - Little Cindy
  5. "Here Comes Fatty Claus" - Rudolph & Gang
  6. "Little Mary Christmas" - Roger Christian
  7. "I Wish You A Merry Christmas" - Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva
  8. "Santa Don't Pass Me By" - Jimmy Donley
  9. "Sleigh Ride" - Alvin & The Chipmunks
  10. "Sleigh Bells, Reindeer And Snow"
  11. "First Snowfall" - The Coctails
  12. "Santa Claus Is A Black Man" - AKIM & The Teddy Vann Production Company



Anonymous said...

this is awesome

(and he still scares the shit out of me, especially in a santa hat)

merry christmas, matt!!!!!

Dead Dog said...

hahaha i love him so much. that picture was on a Christmas card he sent out one year, not sure what he was arrested for. but i guess he's pretty famous for his x-mas cards, which he sends out to "everyone who's anyone" in Hollywood. he also has an enormous x-mas party every year with Hollywood's crummiest. I hope to be able to attend one at SOME point in my life! merry christmas to you as well.