Friday Five

The Friday Five: December 23, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Santa Claus” by Throwing Muses (from, Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Xmas, 1996)

This does not bode well. Here we are at the start of the final holiday themed Friday Five, and iTunes shuffles up the angst ridden in my library.

“It Must’ve Been Ol’ Santa Claus” by Harry Connick, Jr. (from, When My Heart Finds Christmas,1993)

Okay, this is a little bit better. Before Bublé came along, ol’ Harry was the crooner’s only hope. Which, of course, mandated that he release a holiday record every other year. This one, his first, was not awful.

“Last Christmas” by Wham! (from Music From the Edge of Heaven, 1986)

Somewhere in Manhattan, Jason Hare’s ears just perked up.

“Santa’s Beard” by The Beach Boys (from The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas, 1987)

I don’t care for this song, nope. Not at all. See Also: Fuck Mike Love.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (from A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, 1963)

Ok, I cheated. I broke the cardinal rule of the Friday Five. I purposely played this track. I did it, however, for a good reason: to remind all you good boys and girls to watch Late Night With David Letterman tonight to see Darlene Love perform her holiday classic. It has become a long standing tradition in the Parr household, and it really just isn’t Christmas until we sit down at that late hour to watch Ms. Love perform my favorite Christmas tune.

And with that, we conclude 2011’s holiday Five. I’d like to take a minute to thank every one of you that continue to support the Friday Five, and wish each of you a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and a joyous new year.

What’s on your shuffle today?


  • Phil

    Booker T. & the MG’s – “Silver Bells” (In the Christmas Spirit, 1966)
    How’s about a little Hammond organ with those bells?!

    Various Artists – “All We, Like Sheep” (Sleighride: The World’s Most Beautiful Christmas Carols)
    Somewhere along the way my wife and I received this multi-disc compilation of mostly choral/orchestral arrangements of Christmas carols and hymns performed by famous orchestras and choirs like the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. There are a handful of good versions on here, but most of them are pretty yawn-worthy. Let’s just say this isn’t one of the good ones.

    Glenn Miller – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
    Now this is more like it. Here’s an orchestra I can get behind.

    Bing Crosby – “The Song of Christmas” (Christmas Album)
    I said it last week, and I’ll say it again—nobody does it like Bing.

    Various Artists – “Ave Maria” (Sleighride: The World’s Most Beautiful Christmas Carols)
    See above. A “meh” kind of way to finish up the Friday Five holiday edition for me.

  • Anonymous

    1) Lucinda Williams – “Knowing” (Little Honey, 2008).
    2) Anita Baker – “Serious” (My Everything, 2004).
    3) Bob Dylan – “Make You Feel My Love” (Time Out Of Mind, 1997).
    4) Cee Lo Green – “It’s OK” (The Lady Killer, 2010).
    5) Bonnie Raitt – “My Opening Farewell” (Road Tested, 1995).

    Best wishes to all for a joyous holiday season. Now on to the last minute Christmas shopping …

  • Mike Duquette

    1. Maroon 5, “Happy XMas (War is Over)”: first appeared on a 2004 Best Buy compilation and later “NOW That’s What I Call Christmas Volume 4.” How much you like it hinges on your taste for overwrought acoustics and Adam Levine’s voice. I’m a Maroon 5 fan and completist, but even I can’t say it’s anything other than a nice occasional alternative to the Lennon original.

    2. The Temptations, “Silent Night”: put just about anything Christmas by Motown into my ears and you’ve made me happy. This is the “stripped mix” (they were doing a bunch of those in 2009) from the “Ultimate Motown Christmas Collection.”

    3. Johnny Mathis, “Sleigh Ride”: a song I’ve learned to love over the years – it’s a perennial favorite of one of my best friends – but this isn’t my favorite version. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Mathis, but his voice just sounds…off to me.

    4. The Jackson 5, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Jermaine takes lead and does a pretty good job. It’s really the backing track that does this song right, all swooning strings and heavy-duty bass. It’s sort of a weird choice to lead off the J5 holiday album…until the track bursts into a typically J5 arrangement of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” that really gets the blood pumping.

    5. The Carpenters, “Merry Christmas Darling”: a holiday miracle, both in the way this came up to close the Five and one of the prettiest tunes of the season. Guys, from one Fiver to all of you, a merry, merry Christmas and nothing but the best for the new year!

  • EightE1

    Treelines, “Carry On.” Alt-anthem for rock kiddies. Such good stuff.

    John Mellencamp, “Key West Intermezzo.” Short story set to music.  At this point (in, what, ’96?) he was hitting on all cylinders. 

    Eagles, “Seven Bridges Road.” Love the intro and outtro harmonies.  The rest is sorta meh for me.

    Mastodon, “Dry Bone Valley.” Off The Hunter, one of my very favorite records of 2011.

    Norvells, “Without You.” Obscure midwest soul from a Numero Group compilation of Nickel and Penny labels.  Not quite essential listening, but high-quality stuff nonetheless.

    Peace on earth, good will to all. Yada-yada.

  • Dennis Corrigan

    Wrapping up the last presents with another holiday version of my Friday Five:

    1. “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Bob. B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans from A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The most perfect holiday pop album ever.
    2. “Merry Christmas Baby” by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band from A Very Special Christmas.  It’s been a little tough listening to Springsteen’s Christmas songs this year.  They did a great version of this and Kitty’s Back on Conan some odd years ago. 
    3. “Come On Santa” by the Raveonettes from Wishing You A Rave Christmas.  This whole EP will make you want to slit your wrists for the holiday.
    4. “Christmas” by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown from the Alligator Records Christmas Collection – a nice jazzy blues from a solid holiday collection.  Charlie Musselwhite’s harmonica instrumental version of “Silent Night” alone makes it worth owning.
    5. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by John Mellencamp from A Very Special Christmas – love this version

    Best wishes to all at the Five for a wonderful holiday weekend, and I hope Santa slips something great to listen to under all your trees

  • Anonymous

    Sly & The Family Stone – “Shine It On” (Back On The Right Track, 1979)
    This is some standard Sly funk, basically what we had come to expect from the man. However, given that this song came out in 1979 and sounded like it could have been recorded in 1973, it’s no wonder Back On The Right Track wasn’t a hit. Much of the record sounds unfinished, really. Still some killer grooves though.

    Sonic Youth – “Anti-Orgasm” (The Eternal, 2009)
    I love hearing Kim and Thurston play tag team on the vocals for this tune, which was one of the standouts on The Eternal. I hate that Kim and Thurston separated this year. Love hurts indeed.

    The Beach Boys – “Vega-Tables” (The SMiLE Sessions, 1967/2011)
    I’m still a little in shock that The SMiLE Sessions actually came out. I’m even happier to have another version of “Vega-Tables” to enjoy. This one, which is now the definitive version, pulls together most of the key fragments Brian and the Boys recorded for it, and flows a little differently (and longer) than the version assembled for the 1993 boxed set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys.

    The Tubes – “Talk To Ya Later” (The Completion Backwards Principle, 1981)
    This is a classic kiss-off, and a rare example of producer David Foster not de-nutting a rock band, before he became the go-to soft rock/AC mega millionaire that he is today. The Tubes were too crazy to ever allow their music to be castrated, after all, so what they ended up producing with Foster was something close to new wave, but still entirely within The Tubes’ unique little universe.

    Boz Scaggs – “Simone” (Middle Man, 1980)
    Every record Boz Scaggs has released post-Slow Dancer is just so damned smooth and classy. Even when he was singing about middle men and jilted lovers, he couldn’t shake the class from his ass. This one has no qualifiers, other than its rhythm and production being entirely dated. The version he released a decade and a half later on Fade Into Light remedied that, and sacrificed none of the song’s melodic and harmonic beauty.

  • Terje Fjelde

    1. I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Tony Bennett feat. The Count Basie Big Band — ah, yes. Good, swinging start. 
    2. Winter Wonderland – Air Supply — er, sub-par Air Supply, I’m afraid. (1987)
    3. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S –  Rosemary Clooney with Norman Leyden — arcane, anemic and altogether pretty awful ’50s pop from “White Christmas.” (1950)
    4. Silent Night – The Carpenters — fond memories from the 1970s for me. One of those records my American aunt brought over from America for Christmas in the late 1970s, when Norway was poor, brown and grey and America a utopic dream. (1978)
    5. This Christmas – Yutaka — horrid GRP pop with vocals, DX7 bells and a Japanese twist — there is lots of koto! (1988)

  • Blerdy Claus

    OK, I give. Here’s a holiday-themed Friday Five

    1) “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John & Yoko: While I’m aware of the Maroon 5 version that El Duque references in his five, I feel as though actually hearing it would cause me to want to assault people. Namely, Adam Levine. I used to like that guy. What happened?

    2) “I Want An Alien For Christmas” by Fountains of Wayne: Sure, I’d take one of those. I was gonna recommend that I get sent Alf, but I have a cat, so that wouldn’t be good at all.

    3) “In Love At Christmas” by K-ci & JoJo: Great harmonies, sentimental lyrics. Damn–what happened to these guys? Actually, I watched a couple episodes of their reality show. I know what happened.

    4) “Christmas Medley” by The Salsoul Orchestra: The album cover features semi-bare butt cheeks. Somehow, this became a Christmas perennial in my house as a kid. This song makes me want to hang a disco ball from my ceiling.

    5) “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love: OK, Corrigan. You win.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus…peace and love to all!

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