QMH Script for December 2003...
Bob Rivers & Twisted Radio - walkin' round in women's underwear (1993)
Hi, I'm JD Doyle and welcome to Part 1 of my Queer Christmas Special. That's right, this is only the first part. My show Queer Music Heritage is usually heard only on the 4th Monday of the month, but this year I'm doing two Christmas shows. You see, I collect queer Christmas music all year, and this year I realized that I had so much new and interesting music that I could easily do two shows, and my co-producers of Queer Voices, Jack, Jone and Glen, generously allowed me this extra hour, so, here goes.
I started the show with a queer Christmas standard, "Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear," by Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio. It was from his 1993 album "I Am Santa Claus." And here's another Bob Rivers queer twist on Christmas, called "Taking Care of Christmas"
Rivers & Twisted Radio - taking care of Christmas (2002)
I followed Bob Rivers with the Go Go Boys, with one they called "A Man In Distress." That's from their 2001 album "Homo For The Holidays." Well, "Homo For The Holidays" happens to be the title of the next song. I want to thank David Blue, artistic director of the Rainy City Gay Men's Chorus in Vancouver, British Columbia, for sending me this unreleased live recording. Here is their version of "Homo For The Holidays."
Rainy City Gay Men's Chorus - homo for the holidays (2002)
In October I had the pleasure of interviewing Catie Curtis, when she was in town for the Houston Women's Festival. You'll hear that interview on my January show, but here's a preview from it. She was almost surprised when I asked her about her recording of "Silent Night."
Catie Curtis interview clip - (2003)
"Oh, 'Silent Night,'is that, is that the one where it's solo? I did that years ago for Hear Music, I think, for "Snot Angels." Is that what that was for? I enjoyed recording that song because even though I'm not actively religious now, I grew up in church. I grew up going to church every Sunday, and, you know, Christmas was always very special to me, you know, I don't mean to sound completely cheesy but I really do love Christmas, and I do, I have other sort of um, you know, deep religious feeling even though, you know, there's so much about religion that I don't agree with, that I appreciate and feel part of but can't fully, fully get on board with at times. So anyway it was really cool to be able to record "Silent Night" and to have all that passion that I feel from, you know, um, feeling very connected to the birth of Jesus, like that's still part of me, so I really enjoyed singing that song."
Catie Curtis - silent night (1996)
Catie's version of "Silent Night" was from a 1996 various artist's compilation called "Snow Angels." And from "Silent Night," I'm going to a song called "Another Silent Night." It's from last year and was written and sung by local Houston artist Harriet Reynolds.
Harriet Reynolds - another silent night (2002)
I want to take a rather sad break from Christmas songs, to play a tribute song to an artist friend of mine who died on December 1st. She died of heart failure due to complications from diabetes and colon cancer, at age 43. Her name was Zonna, and she was a prolific songwriter and author, and was a Billboard Magazine songwriting contest winner, seven times. Her released output includes stories in anthologies and over a half-dozen recordings, including her acclaimed 1997 album "Carved In Stone." She was an accomplished vocalist, musician, producer, arranger, and friend, contributing tirelessly to organizations like Outmusic and the GLAMA awards, and to her own songwriter series on eastern Long Island.
Okay, that's the bio stuff. Let me get to the personal. I became acquainted with her music three or four years ago, after buying her CD "Carved In Stone." I immediately fell in love with her voice. Oh, that voice! And that her lyrics were Out of the closet, and smart and personal was all icing on that cake. I contacted her and arranged to buy all the "back catalogue" that she had available, and now have five cassettes and three CDs, which span her recording career. Through our emails we became friends, but I didn't get to meet her until this past May. I was coming to NYC for the week preceding the Outmusic Awards, and my host, Ed Mannix, was arranging several house concerts that coincided with my time there. He asked who I would like him to invite and my first request was for Zonna.
And it happened. She had not performed live in about four years, but Ed arranged it. She and Corinne Curcio gave a delightful concert, and more importantly, I got to meet the person behind the music. And fortunately I recorded that house concert, though it's an amateur recording done with a mini-disc. So I want to share with you one of her songs. And while it's not a Christmas song, it's a song about love, so that should fit for any holiday. I'll use the very short introduction I recorded from the house concert to let her introduce the song, "Love Is."
Zonna - love is (1997)
That was "Love Is" by Zonna, from her 1997 album "Carved In Stone." As I wrote this script plans were being announced regarding honoring her, and I love that it was stated that those wishing to make a contribution in Zonna's memory could do so "to the left-wing charity of their choice."
Okay, thanks for indulging me in letting me honor my friend. I'm going to try to bring back the holiday tone with another interview clip I have to share with you about a Christmas song. A couple months ago I interviewed Jon Ginoli, of Pansy Division. From their 1995 album "Pile Up" is one of my favorites by them, called "Homo Christmas," so of course I asked him about it.
Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division (interview clip, 2003)
"We had a show coming up right before Christmas. This was at the very end of '91, and I wanted to do a Christmas song. We were going to rehearse and then go to the show. And so I wrote the lyrics to "Homo Christmas" in about twenty minutes. And I took a song that I had written for an older band of mine, that I had in the '80s, and I thought, well I need a tune right now, and I don't have time to work this out, just grab a tune, so I grabbed the melody from an older song I'd written and changed it slightly. And then we learned it in one rehearsal and went and played it that same night. Nothing ever happens that fast anymore. But I wanted to do this gay Christmas song and have it out on a single by the next Christmas, and have a song to play that night, and I thought that'll be a good, good song to put on a single, and then it ended up on the singles collection. But that's a much requested song, but we only play it between Thanksgiving and Christmas."
I even got Jon to do an intro for the song
this is Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division, and you're listening to Queer
Music Heritage. Here's hoping you have a very homo Christmas."
Well, regrettably I can't play for you any more of that song, because like many of the songs by Pansy Division, they are not quite ready for radio, or radio isn't ready for them. But this year I've figured out a way to get around those pesky FCC rules. I've recorded an extra sort of bonus mini addition to my xmas show, but you can only hear it online at my website. You'll hear several of those songs by the Go Go Boys that also can't be played on the radio, and some others that may make you wince or at least agree that, yup, that song can't be played on the air. My website of course is at www.queermusicheritage.com and you can hear all of my shows there, and see photos of the artists and recordings. This is also a good time to remind you that you are listening to Queer Music Heritage, a part of Queer Voices on KPFT, 90.1fm, in Houston. And, be sure to listen to KPFT every Saturday night from midnight to 4am for After Hours with Jimmy Carper. It's Queer Radio, With Attitude.
Well, these next two songs are a little on the edge, well, maybe a lot, but I think I can get away with them. In a way they sort of complement each other. The first is called "Santa Claus Was My Lover" and is very rare and is by a local Houston group called Culturcide. Other than it being from 1980, I've not been able to find out any more about this group, but it's interesting to hear the references made to several Houston gay bars of that time. And I'm following it with an artist who calls herself Paijee. That's spelled p-a-i-j-e-e, and in 1996 she told the world she was "Mrs. Santa's Girlfriend."
- santa claus was my lover (1980)
"Mrs Santa's Girlfriend" by Paijee is also a very hard recording to track down. I want to go next to a couple country-flavored songs. First up is Sid Spencer from his CD from the early 90s called "Family Ties" with the Randy Travis song "How Do I Wrap My Heart Up For Christmas."
Spencer - how do I wrap my heart up for Christmas (early 90s)
Sid Spencer was followed by the duo called Y'All with their very catchy "Okey Dokey Christmas." That was from their 3-track CD "Christmastime In the Trailerpark."
Okay, now I'm going back to 1961 for a song from England by Lionel Bart, called "Give Us A Kiss For Christmas." Lionel Bart was not particularly a singer, but he is quite well known for writing the hit musical "Oliver," and while he was known to be gay in the theatre world he didn't regard himself as gay publicly until the 1990s. He died in 1999 at age 68. Here's "Give Us A Kiss For Christmas."
Lionel Bart - give us a kiss for Christmas (1961)
And now for a more recent British invasion. From 1988 by Erasure from their "Crackers International" CD, here is "She Won't Be Home." And it will be followed by a very rare Pet Shop Boys Christmas song.
- she won't be home (1988)
The Pet Shop Boys song was "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" and was released in 1998, and it was only available to their fan club members.
Before we get to the last song, I want to thank you all for tuning in to the show, and I especially want to thank Catie Curtis and Jon Ginolli for their interview comments. You can see photos of all the artists and recordings on tonight's show and view the playlist at my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com. And you can also hear the show and all my past shows there as well. And if you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write to me, and I'd love to hear from you. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back next Monday, December 22nd, with Part 2 of my Queer Music Heritage Christmas Special.
To close the show I've found a dance xmas medley by two Dutch female impersonators, Cindy and Sheila, who call themselves, with tongue-in-cheek, The Working Girls. Judging from their website, they sure look good. They have been doing their act for about ten years in Holland and are quite popular there. I wrote to them and they very graciously sent me their CD and said that as far as they know KPFT will be the first station in the United States to play it. Simply called "Xmas Medley," here are the Working Girls.
The Working Girls - xmas medley (2002)
Part 2, Dec 22rd, 2003
All In The Family clip
Welcome to the Queer Music Heritage Christmas Special. Now, see if you can figure out who this is.
kd lang - jingle bell rock (1987)
Again, welcome to Queer Music Heritage. I'm JD Doyle and I'm here on Queer Voices on the 4th Monday of every month to bring you an hour devoted to our culture's music. This is my special Christmas show, featuring the music you won't be sick of by now. This is actually Part 2 of my Queer Christmas Special, as last week I also brought you an hour of very queer christmas music. If you have a high-speed internet connection, you can still hear it, and all of my past shows, at www.queermusicheritage.com.
I opened the show with a clip from the TV show "All In The Family" and followed that with "Jingle Bell Rock" by none other than kd lang. While she's never released a recording of that song, she sang it on TV in 1987 on Pee Wee Herman's Christmas Special.
And now for a couple of songs that are just plain nice. They are from an album put together by Richard Foltz called "A Songwriter's Christmas." In my opinion it's one of the best gay Christmas albums and I play selections from it every year. This time you'll hear Laura Wetzler with "Ring Bells" and Tom McCormack singing "Christmas Will Start."
Laura Wetzler - ring bells (1996)
Before we get to Tom McCormack's song I want to share with you some comments he gave me about the project.
Tom McCormack - interview clip (2002)
"Richard Foltz had approached me to help produce some of the cuts on his CD, "A Songwriter's Christmas." Richard is a wonderful man, and friend who every year writes a Christmas song and sends it out, you know, as his Christmas greeting, and wanted to create a CD of his music and he wanted to bring in a lot of the Outmusic musicians to produce and perform them. I produced three of the tunes and one of them I sang, um, called "Christmas Will Start." It's a, it's a wonderful song about, you know, waiting until the one that you love returns to celebrate Christmas and it was a lot of fun working with Richard and creating that track."
Tom McCormack - Christmas will start (1996)
And here's another nice holiday song I found this year. It's by Thomas Harlow and is from his brand new CD called "Loverman." The song is called "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday."
Harlow - everyday will be like a holiday (2003)
Following Thomas Harlow was an unreleased track by an artist named Rene Lewis. He was nice enough to email it to me so I could include it on this show, and I really thank him for that.
Here's another very rare Christmas song, and I am very honored to be able to share it with you. It is by Disappear Fear. Sonia was one-half of that very successful duo before she went solo in 1998. I was talking to her when she performed at the Houston Women's Festival in October and I asked her if she had ever recorded any Christmas songs. As soon as she said yes I got her to agree to send it to me, for this show. It was recorded in 1988 and released on a complilation cassette to benefit the homeless in Baltimore City, Maryland. It appears no where else on earth and I doubt anyone outside of that area would have even had a chance to hear it, and she didn't know if it had ever even been played on the radio. So, this is likely a Queer Music Heritage exclusive. Here are Disappear Fear singing "Christmas Makes Me Realize."
Disappear Fear - Christmas makes me realize (1988)
Next up is a song I've been meaning to play on my Christmas shows, for the last several years, but never quite fit it in. I'm not going to wait any longer. From 1994 here is Melissa Etheridge and her version of "Happy Xmas, War is Over, Give Peace a Chance."
Melissa Etheridge - happy xmas (was is over)/give peace a chance (1994)
Time for a bit of nonsense. I put together two snatches of the same song by two very popular male artists. They are widely thought of as being gay, and they don't deny it. They also don't answer questions about it. They are definitely not out of the closet. So I'll call this my Christmas From The Closet song, by an artist I'll call Barry Vandross.
Barry Vandross - have yourself a merry little Christmas
And, to take us into our mid-show break, from 1967 here are the Monkees from a christmas episode of their TV show, doing part of "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel." I wish you could see the visuals for this, as they really exaggerate the word "gay," complete with limp wrists and goofy grins.
- don we now our gay apparel (1967)
Also you may just want to check out the site this month to hear a special on-line only bonus edition of my Queer Christmas Special. There are a number of songs that are just not ready for prime time radio, both for their subject matter and language, so I did a special version of the show. You might call it x-rated xmas songs. You can only hear that show from my website. That's at www.queermusicheritage.com.
On that special adult page of my site you might want to check out a couple photos of this next artist.
George Maharis - the Christmas song (1965)
That was George Maharis, and in the early sixties he was a big TV star, made famous on the show "Route 66." He also recorded several albums, and in 1973 was one of the first celebrities to pose for Playgirl. You can see a couple of those photos on my site. No full monty, but interesting. Oh, yeah, Maharis had a problem similar to what George Michael experienced. He also was arrested for, let's say, indiscretions in a public restroom, which no doubt did not help his acting career.
Time now for some blues, and this one goes back to 1925. Bessie Smith was widely reported to be bisexual so that gets her on this show, with her song "At the Christmas Ball."
Bessie Smith - at the Christmas ball (1925)
And you could hardly find a bigger contrast between Bessie Smith and this next artist. Here's Dame Edna singing "I'm Thinking of Myself This Christmas."
Dame Edna - I'm thinking of myself this Christmas (2000)
Okay, I admit it, I'm going to cheat a little on this next song. It's not a gay song or gay group, but like many gay men, I can really identify with the song's message. From 1961 here is a very obscure song by a girl group called the Del Vetts. It's "I Want A Boy For Christmas."
Del Vetts - I want a boy for Christmas (1961)
Up next you'll hear a closeted puppet from a Broadway show sing a Christmas medley. No, really. Every year the organization Broadway Cares issues a CD to benefit AIDS charities, with cast members from current shows contributing songs. This year's album is called "Carols For A Cure, Volume V" and from the very gay musical "Avenue Q" here is the puppet character Rod, sung by John Tartaglia, doing "Rod's Christmas."
John Tartaglia at Rod, from "Avenue Q" - rod's Christmas (2003)
Well, I can't have a Christmas show without playing something by Venus Envy, so from their 1995 album "I'll Be A Homo For Christmas," here is "Lesbians We Have Heard On High"
Envy - lesbians we have heard on high (1995)
I followed Venus Envy with a voice you may recognize. You probably remember the song "I Kissed A Girl" from 1995. That was Jill Sobule, and in 2000 fans could get from her website only a four-track CD called "Jill's Holiday Songs." The one you heard was "Merry Christmas from the Family."
And I think I can squeeze in an almost-Christmas song by the Kinsey Sicks. They've promised me that by next year they will have released a full Christmas album of their warped masterpieces, but until then we'll have to make do with "It's Crystal Time in the City." Okay, I'll stop.
Kinsey Sicks - it's crystal time in the city (2002)
From the album "Sicks In The City," that was the Kinsey Sicks. This next artist is not Judy Garland.
Jimmy James - have yourself a merry little Christmas (2002) part
And this next artist is also not Cher.
Jimmy James - blue Christmas (2002)
Okay, who is she? She's drag artist extraordinaire Jimmy James, and last year she came out with an album called "Have Yourself a Jimmy James Merry Christmas." On it she does Christmas standards using many of the diva voices for which she's become famous, like Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand, Mae West, and Cher. I'm going to close the show with by far my favorite from that album.
Before I do I want to thank you all for tuning in, and I especially want to thank Tom McCormack for his interview comments, and a big thanks to Rene Lewis for his unreleased song, and to Sonia for digging up that rare Disappear Fear track. You can see photos of all the artists and recordings on tonight's show and view the playlist at my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com. And you can also hear the show and all my past shows there as well. And if you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write to me, and I wish you would. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the 4th Monday of next month with my fourth anniversary show. My feature interview will be with Catie Curtis, and there will be a couple of surprises as well, so you won't want to miss that.
As promised, here's my favorite Jimmy James Christmas song impression. And her greeting goes double for me.
Jimmy James - feliz navidad (2002)
Total time: 59:00