04 December: Louis Armstrong: 'Zat You Santa Claus?

Published December 04, 2013

The lyrics to this are actually a little scary. I can just envision some modern-day filmmaker using this recording on the soundtrack of a Halloween-type movie (maybe someone has already done that): "Sure is dark out / Not the slighest spark out / Pardon my clackin' jaws / Uh, who there?"

But the warmth of Louis Armstrong's voice should be reassuring enough, and, indeed, the song ends thusly: "Say that's you Santa Claus / That's him alright!"

Listen here.

03 December: Brian Hyland: It's Christmas Time Once Again

Published December 03, 2013

Yesterday, The Staple Singers asked who took the merry out of Christmas, and perhaps Brian Hyland might be a candidate. At least, his cynical take on "the season to be jolly" doesn't offer much merriment.

Brian Hyland was one of those American artists that filled the early Sixties gap between Elvis going into the army and The Beatles arriving on the scene, according to The Official History Of Rock And Roll™. Mr Hyland's biggest hit was his 1960 number one 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini'. By the late Sixties, Hyland and his cohorts weren't doing so well anymore, but most of them were still recording and it's kind of interesting to hear them trying to find a place within genres such as psychedelia or, as in this case, folk-pop-with-a-message.

It's Christmas Time Once Again was released in 1967, and, well, I guess Brian Hyland didn't seal his Christmas presents with a kiss that year.

Listen here.

02 December: The Staple Singers: Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas

Published December 02, 2013

How great is this track? Released in 1970, it peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Christmas chart (according to Wikipedia), yet I don't get the impression that it's become a bona fide Christmas Classic. I may be wrong, and nothing would make me happier, because it's a fantastic recording.

So, who did take the merry out of Christmas? We'll hear from one candidate tomorrow.

Meanwhile, listen to The Staple Singers here.

01 December: Billy May: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo

Published December 01, 2013

Yes, it's that time of the year again: Today we kick off the 2013 edition of the Carl Magnus Palm.com Advent Calendar.

Last year I opened proceedings with a selection from the fabulous Christmas Cocktails series of Yuletide tunes from the Capitol Records vaults (Cha-Cha All The Way). I see no reason to mess with that particular tradition, so here's Billy May's inimitable mambo take on Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.