Friday, December 07, 2007
Secret Santa's Secret
Happy birthday Tom Waits! Special bonus celebration song at the end of this post.
There's no scientific study confirming this, but it seems as if Jazz and Blues have the richest vein of Holiday songs. Not the traditional stuff you can find elsewhere, but the odd the little corners of the Holiday experience that we're particularly keen on. Naturally, the Blues tunes often start with things going badly, and go downhill from there. Usually somebody's baby is gone, and the singer is pleading with Santa to bring her back. The stuff of life. But most of the Jazz, and some of the Blues sides, are more hopeful, and often they're downright giddy.
For giddy, we've got swinging jazz cat Johnny Guarnieri. Over a rollicking saloon piano, Guarnieri lays some serious hepster beat jive on us, explaining the secret to Santa's jolly nature. For fans of Patsy Raye's "Beatnik's Wish" and Babs Gonzalez's "Be-Bop Santa Claus", "Santa's Secret" is a finger poppin', daddy-o, speakeasy classic. And what exactly is Santa's secret? Well, let's just say it might be herbal in nature.
Harmon Ray (couldn't find a link) sounds downright looped on "Xmas Blues", particularly on the intro. What distinguishes this nifty little piano Blues number is Ray's hilariously slurred delivery over a piano that has obviously been drinking. He's broke, down and out, and the only bells he hears are the "mission bells." Good times.
Johnny Guarnieri: Santa's Secret (mp3)
Harmon Ray: Xmas Blues (mp3)
And, as promised, a little Tom Waits to warm your cold, cold hearts. Taken from a live performance in Sydney, Australia in 1979.
Tom Waits: Silent Night/Xmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis (mp3)
The Mountain, naturally, does not endorse the partaking of illicit substances or adult beverages to help one through the Holidays. Nevertheless, we would highly encourage you to support your local, independent barkeeps and street corner entrepreneurs.