I’ve scattered some Christmas songs in with the usual unusual mix here, because I for one like hearing them in and around other non-seasonal offerings, rather than as part of an endless pile-up of holiday tunes somewhere in the middle of which inevitably lurk David Bowie and Bing Crosby. In our playlist era more than ever, we get the all-or-nothing Christmas song approach. Go for it if that’s your thing. Me, I’ll stay here fighting for nuance in a nuance-free culture. I’ll go further and announce my suspicion that digital reality aggravates the problem—that the necessity of reducing information to zeros and ones is decreasing our tolerance for and/or interest in gray areas. It’s just a theory at this point, mind you.

Random notes:

– Kim Weston is best known if at all for recording the original version of “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While).” She left Motown in a royalty dispute, and continued to record for many years but without a lot of widespread success. This is a great, underappreciated single, even if the explosive opening makes for a difficult segue.
– XTC make their second appearance on the Eclectic Playlist Series in one calendar year, which is against my own rules, but I allowed it for three reasons: they recorded this single as “The Three Wise Men”; I already inadvertently broke my rule earlier this year by accidentally featuring Sparks a second time (anyone notice that?); it’s a great song.
– More background on the charming “Seasons Greetings” can be found in a Fingertips entry here, from 2007.
– The Simon & Garfunkel segue into Jill Scott is an accidental beauty. Thanks to George from Between Two Islands for reacquainting me recently with this most excellent song.
– And yes, “Private Lives” really does have that car-wreck dead spot in the song. Some of my segues are stretches but I hope none sound quite that unfortunate.


Full playlist below the widget.

“Seasons Greetings” – Robbers on High Street (single, 2007)
“Something Warm” – Rick Derringer (Guitars and Women, 1979)
“I Got What You Need” – Kim Weston (single, 1967)
“Stop This Now” – The Hermit Crabs (Time Relentless EP, 2012)
“Thanks for Christmas” – The Three Wise Men [XTC] (single, 1983)
“Hindsight” – Built to Spill (There Is No Enemy, 2009)
“Still Believing” – Mary Black (Babes in the Wood, 1991)
“Doesn’t Make It Alright” – The Specials (The Specials, 1979)
“121 Bank Street” – George Russell (Stratusphunk, 1960)
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Los Straitjackets (‘Tis the Season For Los Straitjackets, 2002)
“Boyfriend” – Colleen Brown (Foot in Heart, 2010)
“The Lovecats” – The Cure (single, 1983)
“Prayer Wheel” – Eddi Reader (Angels & Electricity, 1998)
“Hard Candy Christmas” – Tracey Thorn (Tinsel and Lights, 2012)
“The Only Living Boy in New York” – Simon & Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1969)
“A Long Walk” – Jill Scott (Who Is Jill Scott? – Words and Sounds, Vol. 1, 2000)
“Private Lives” – Ultravox (Vienna, 1980)
“Unravel” – Björk (Homogenic, 1993)
“Free Christmas” – Johnny Marr (single, 2011)
“Glad Tidings” – Van Morrison (Moondance, 1970)




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