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SWAGGER, NOT STYLE

The worldwide headquarters and hindquarters of freelance writer Chris Klimek

Merry Christmas, Friends! Time to kick it weird-school.

Chris Klimek

santas-got-a-big-olde-bag-front.jpgHo ho ho, music lovers! Santa's Got a Big Olde Bag, my 2007 Christmas compilation, is now yours for the asking.   And you need these sounds in your yule-life.But don't take my word for it! J. Freedom du Lac, esteemed Washington Post pop music critic, had this to say in the Dec. 18 edition of his wildly popular and influential "Freedom Rock" webchat:Richmond, Va.: Hey, J. Free -- what is your favorite Christmas record? One of my friends made me a mix CD this year, and I can't get enough of Ben Folds' "Bizarre Christmas Incident." That song doesn't get played on 24/7 Xmas radio.J. Freedom du Lac: My new favorite? "Santa's Got a Big Olde Bag: Yuletide Times Eclectic and Inexplicable," compiled/curated by our very own Chris Klimek. He gave me a copy last night, at the Aimee Mann show. (You know, the one Michael Chertoff also attended. Who knew he was a Nelly McKay fan?!)The album is a wild, wild ride: It opens with audio from "Die Hard" (you know, where the limo driver is listening to "Christmas in Hollis"), then goes to the Bellrays/"Santa's Got a Big Old Bag," then Sufjan's "Ding Dong! Death! (May Be Your Santa Claus)," then Marah's "New York Is A Christmas Kind of Town" and (this is ripe) Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a workout video over "Warming Up" by Gladys and the Pips! LOL. And on and on it goes. Great stuff. You should sign up for Klimek's CD-of-the-Year club.There you have it, Friends -- a ringing endorsement from a bona-fide expert.Liner notes below! VERILY, a manifesto.We all have our favorite versions of the traditional Christmas warhorses. Actually, recent research suggests that many listeners hate, hate these fucking things. I yield to no man in my abiding affection for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's 1975 performance of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" recorded live at C. W. Post College, and I only just came across a marvelous 1978 version of Keith Richards doing Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph" - it was released as single back then, Keef's first. Then it went out of print. No matter; you'll find neither of them here. Tracks like that aren't what this compilation is about. No, gentle listener! Here we turn our rapacious gaze mainly, albeit not exclusively, to seasonal melodies, films and ephemera that have not stood the proverbial test of time. Some of them haven't been around long enough to take the test; some are too obscure even to have been summoned to the testing site; a few may have taken the test and flunked. All are glorious and honorable. Even Jingle All the Way, which puzzingly is remembered as an epic, cautionary failure, but which I submit to you is not even among the five worst films released in 1996. Freed from its distracting visuals, the film's audio, tastefully excerpted here, reveals a surprising profundity and even grace.2.5 TRACKS FOR EACH OF THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! YOU CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO LISTEN! Four Words About Sound Quality: All over the map. Much of this material I took from CD, manipulated in Apple Lossless Audio Format, and compressed only once, so it ought to sound stellar. Then there’s the stuff that was digitized from an ancient vinyl saucer and probably compressed two or three times before I got my hands on it. And plenty of stuff in between. I trust you will share my judgment that the content of the muddy-sounding tracks fairly demands their inclusion here, and forgive the pops, tics, crackle, and hiss. That’s the sound of authenticity you hear, Kids. - Mgmt. PROGRAMME01 This Is Christmas music! * ARGYLE and McCLANE (WHITE et WILLIS)02 Santa's Got a Big Old Bag * THE BELLRAYS03 Ding Dong! Death! (May Be Your Santa Claus) * SUFJAN STEVENS feat. ?04 New York Is a Christmas Kind of Town * MARAH05 Warming Up * GLADYS KNIGHT & the PIPS feat. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER06 I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You * MARGO GURYAN07 Brian Wilson Reveals All08 Melekalilimaka * THE BEACH BOYS09 Pearl Harbor Didn't Work Out . . . * JOE TAKAGI (JAMES SHIGETA)10 Daddy Won't Be Home Again for Christmas * MERLE HAGGARD11 Sleazy Con Men in Red Suits - Christmas Present Blues * JIMMY REED feat. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER12 Snowkenstein13 A Great Bid Sled * The KILLERS14 The Ultimate Stretch * JOURNEY feat. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER15 Reindeer Roll Call - Angels We Have Heard on High * SUFJAN STEVENS feat. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER16 Handsome Santa * MARAH17 I'm Your Santa * LIL' ED & the BLUES IMPERIALS18 Not Kosher - Santa's Got an Airplane - Christmas with the Snow * The BEACH BOYS & MARAH feat. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER19 The Beatles' Christmas - 1969 (excerpt)20 Children, Go Where I Send Thee - JOHNNY CASH & FRIENDS21 Can Santa Miss Those Missiles? * REESE SHIPLEY22 Snow Bunny * MAGNUS T. COOK23 Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card * MERLE HAGGARD24 No Sanity Claus * JERRY HARMS25 That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! * SUFJAN STEVENS26 Don't Shoot Me, Santa Claus * The KILLERS feat. HANS GRUBER (ALAN RICKMAN)27 Here It Is, Christmastime * OLD 97s28 Wellesian Salutations - The Christmas Waltz * FRANK SINATRA & the orchestra and chorus of GORDON JENKINS, introduced by ORSON and the MERCURY PLAYERS29 Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming * SUFJAN STEVENS30 Christmastime * AIMEE MANN31 Goodnight and Merry Christmas from the Man in Black32 The Beatles' Christmas - 1963 (excerpt)