Monday, December 14, 2009

More Christmas Music

Some people like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" a lot. But others don't feel the same and, in fact, the record that opens this show expresses a decidedly different point of view! One thing's for certain. Like it or not, the one thing that record has NOT been over the past 30 years is IGNORED! Just about everybody on the planet has heard it and it is one of the relatively few Christmas records issued during the rock era that has become a true holiday classic.

Dr. Elmo Shropshire was a practicing veterinarian in 1979 when he and his wife Patsy, who performed as the Homestead Act, first recorded this novelty song as "Elmo 'N Patsy." The man who wrote it was Randy Brooks.
It took four years before their record became an overnight success. There's a bit of confusion because the record has become a charted hit on two different labels with two different versions: first on Soundwaves and then Epic. For openers the Soundwaves version was Billboard's #1 Christmas hit in 1983 and the Epic version was Billboard's #1 Christmas hit in 1984 and 1985.
Dr. Elmo tells the story of this amazing and unlikely success, filling in most of the missing pieces that you've all probably been wondering about, including Patsy's initial involvement and subsequent lack of involvement. And his own story is amazing as well.
Apart from the 15 minutes of fame that he achieves in December of every year, Dr. Elmo is proud that back in 1956 he was the exercise boy for a horse named Needles which won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and came thisclose to winning the Preakness and (what would have been) the Triple Crown.
Dr. Elmo and I had loads of fun doing this show and sharing a few other recordings as well. He was a total delight.
To access this Dr. Elmo radio interview show or any of my previous ones, please visit the "Jersey Girls Sing" website at
When that home page comes up, please click the "Ronnie Allen Theater" (the name has a yellow background) in the picture on the right-hand side. That will bring you to my index page. Please click on "Ronnie's Radio Page" and you will then be able to access the show (it's the first one listed under the blue heading "Current Radio Interview Shows") or any of my previous ones, which are listed in reverse chronological order.
Ronnie Allen
Like it or not, it's become a Christmas Classic. (I wasn't aware of Elmo's veterinarian background ... pretty amazing really!) Always good stuff, Ronnie! (kk)

Hey Kent,
It's been a while since I've written to you. Your "Christmas Presents" inspired me to write and offer a few Christmas songs you may not have heard. I scanned my ipod Christmas songs and picked out a few (of the more than 300 selections).
The ones I selected are:
Melodeers - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - a cool doo-wop version, it actually charted
Hank Ballard & Midnighters - Santa Claus Is Coming - a cool R&B Christmas tune
Booker T & MGs - Jingle Bells - a nice R&B yule instrumental
Dion - Jingle Bell Rock - a nice R&R version
Brenda Lee - Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day - one of several BL holiday tunes
Vince Vance & Valiants - All I Want For Christmas Is You - a Dallas favorite - not the same as the Mariah Carey classic
Bobby Vee - A Not So Merry Christmas
Santo & Johnny - Twistin' Bells - a great Jingle Bells R&R holiday instrumental
Canned Heat - Christmas Blues - a hippy dippy rarity
I've attached the Hank Ballard tune. "I've been good. I ain't been bad. Santa is coming, and I sure am glad" - gotta love it! If you want any of the others, just let me know and I'll send them along.
I haven't heard MOST of those on your list ... so send away if you like ... but do it quick if you want us to share any of these this holiday season!!! (kk)

Happy Holidays right back at ya!
What dedication - up at 5:21 a.m. to send the version of Forgotten Hits out.
Sue Patterson
lol ... maybe 5:21 am YOUR time ... but typically now Forgotten Hits goes out between 6 - 7 am Chicago time IF it goes out at all!!! (kk)

Great stuff as usual, Kent. Thanks for all of these. If you get an opportunity, please re-post Debe Welch's "Please Don't Give Me War Toys for Christmas." It's one of our new Christmas faves.
David Lewis
Will do ... and I think you just made Debe's holiday season too!!! (kk)

Kent ...
How ya'doin'?
Being half - Black and half - Jewish not only gives me the inalienable to use “Yo” and “Oy”in the same sentence, but it also allowed me to gather the best collection of Christmas and Hanukkah Music videos on the internet! I'm proud to present NOOKIE's CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH MUSIC VIDEOS!
Adam Sandler’s, “Hanukkah Song”, Carrie Underwood”, NEW MICHAEL JACKSON, JEWISH RAPPERS … CHUPTZAH. “HANUKKAH’S THE BOMB”, Bon Jovii and Red Bank3 SINGING “THE HANUKKAH SONG”, Christina Aguilera, WHAM,Toby Keith, PAUL EVANS, Andy Williams, The Smurfs, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS”, and much, much more!
Happy Hanukkah!
Artie (still meshugana after all these years!) Wayne

Hey Kent,
Thanks for the recent "shout out" in Forgotten Hits. We didn't win the contest, but we had a nice showing and a good number of votes. And as the attached Chicago Tribune article shows, there were some voting irregularities. It seems a few people did vote early ... and often! But a fun experience and we've gotten a lot of views on YouTube.,0,5460505.story
Thanks again for all your support of "Santa's Comin' Here!
Dick Eastman

Well, I think it's a GREAT new Christmas Song ... and well worth another viewing before the holidays are upon us. WTG, Dick! (kk)

Kent ...
I just found this song on You Tube.
I don't remember this song, do you?
Frank B.

YouTube - I Wanna Spend Xmas With Elvis - RARE Bobby Darin Song
No, I sure don't. Bobby Darin recorded a Christmas album back in 1960 ... in fact, he even had a minor two-sided hit with the single "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" / "Child Of God" ... but it sounds like this one really pre-dates his own Christmas offering. Not a very good song ... but a novel Noel novelty to be sure.
I didn't remember addressing this song at all during our lengthy month-long Bobby Darin Series several years ago so I did some quick fact-checking ... "I Want To Spend Christmas With Elvis" was, in fact, written by Bobby Darin and Don Kirshner and released as a single by Little Lambsie Penn in 1956. (The YouTube clip states that the poster recorded it right off his old 78!!!) Kirshner and Darin were tight in the early '50's before Bobby's career took off ... they often wrote songs and jingles together but very few of these ever made it to vinyl (and NONE of them could be considered "hits".) Jeff Bleiel's EXCELLENT book "That's All: Bobby Darin On Record, Stage And Screen" cites three examples from 1957: "An impressive list of singers would record Darin-Kirshner songs in 1957. Rockabilly great Gene Vincent took 'Wear My Ring', R&B legend LaVern Baker recorded 'Love Me Right' and jazz singer Bobby Short cut 'Delia'. In May of 1957 Darin recorded two songs he and Kirshner had written: 'Wear My Ring' and 'Talk To Me Something' ... influenced and inspired by Elvis Presley's success, Darin produced these in the rock'n'roll idiom." (kk)

Hi, and happy holidays!
Hope you can let your readers know about Jimy Roger's Christmas CD with Blue Road - it is a CD single with 2 songs, and you can download it from CD Baby - it just went live today. You can also buy the actual CD from us at shows or locally at Gand Music and Sound in Northfield. It will fill the void for some soulful, bluesy, but rockin' Christmas tunes! Our last show for the year is Dec. 19th at Gabe's Backstage Lounge - it will be Jimy Rogers and Blue Road, and we'll be doing the holiday songs plus a couple more new holiday songs.
Joan Gand / Blue Road
Congrats on a great year, guys! Fans interested in hearing a really nice, bluesy rendition of the Christmas Classic "White Christmas" would do themselves well to check out Jimy Rogers' recording at The Mauds' website:
Click here: The Mauds® - Music

And I was very happy to receive this note from another one of Chicago's legendary bands, The Buckinghams:
Hi Kent,
From "The Joy Of Of Christmas," I would like to feature the Buckinghams Christmas song "Have A Little Faith." It is a song of faith and hope and the promise that things will get better. I would like to dedicate it to all our fine men and women that are making the ultimate sacrifice by putting their lives on the line serving us in Iraq and Afghanistan with the hope and faith that they will soon be rejoined with there families ... our prayers are with them.
Kent, your readers can also download the track by going to
Have a blessed Christmas.
Carl Giammarese

Thanks, Carl. In fact, The Buckinghams have their entire Christmas Album, "The Joy Of Christmas", available for downloading FOR FREE on their website from now until New Year's Day!!! It's a GREAT collection of Christmas classics along with some brand new Christmas music written by the band. And we are VERY happy to feature "Have A Little Faith" on the website today ... a BEAUTIFUL song that we got to see Carl perform live at this year's Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Party. Thanks again. (kk)

... and, speaking of The Buckinghams ....

The Buckinghams had an INCREDIBLE run during 1967, the same year that The Monkees hit #1 with their first FOUR LPs. The Bucks started the year off with a #1 Single, "Kind Of A Drag" and then followed that up with four more National Top Ten Singles: "Don't You Care" (#6), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5), "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song" (#5) and "Susan" (#7). It's amazing to think that ANYBODY was ever releasing as many as five singles a year ... yet THESE guys were taking all five of theirs into The National Top Ten!!! (In between, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" peaked at #39 ... and, here in Chicago, they also placed "I'll Go Crazy", "I Call Your Name" and "I've Been Wrong" in our Local Top 20 before their 1967 assault on the charts. AMAZING!!!) kk