by Robert Martinez
This is the second of seven different Christmas compilations that I'm reviewing this week. These comps were either sent to me by other Christmas collectors /enthusiasts or downloadable compilations that were created by Christmas collectors / enthusiasts.
This review contains a HUGE surprise... read on!
In my last review, I recounted how I discovered Jeffco Productions by doing a Google / internet search in 2001 for some Weird Al Yankovic Christmas greetings.
In the spring of 2003, I had downloaded some Christmas tracks from the Therapy Sisters and wanted to finish off the album. This led me to yet another Google / deep internet search that dropped me off at the front doorstep of Queer Music Heritage.
At first, I was excited to find a site that even knew about the Therapy Sisters. But then I started to look at the other song titles... "Dyke The Halls"? "Jerry Falwell's Coming To Town"? "Rhonda The Lesbo Reindeer"?
I knew I was in uncharted waters... Thankfully, my guide was JD Doyle, the founder, producer, and host of the monthly radio show "Queer Music Heritage". After an introductory e-mail explaining my Christmas passion, he wrote back explaining his passion was gay themed Christmas music. We immediately set up some trades for Christmas music and became good friends in the process.
I explored the other aspects of JD's website - his archived radio show that has aired on KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston, Texas since 2000, the staggering amount of images that complement the music, and the interviews he conducts with gay & lesbian artists. I literally spent two hours going through the easy to navigate sections.
Doyle's work has not gone unrecognized; the website has been featured in Out Magazine and his radio show recently won an award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for "Best Local Music / Entertainment Program or Special".
Still wondering about that HUGE surprise? Read on...
However, it's the Christmas radio shows that excite Doyle the most. In the early days of his radio career (2000 - 2002), he did only one Christmas show but that changed in 2003. He created TWO regular radio shows and an Internet only radio show so he could play the songs he always wanted to and not get in trouble with the FCC! I'm happy to say I helped with both shows that year with a few contributions (Gloria - "You're not your gay, bubbly Christmasy self Daddy." Archie Bunker - "I'M GAY! I'M GAY! I'm gay as much as anybody here!").
In the following year of 2004, JD produced THREE full radio shows (and even sent me a preview CDs!). These radio shows are chock full of campy songs such as "Sleigh Ride In Leather", "RuPaul The Red-Nosed Drag Queen", and "Feliz Navidad" sung by drag queen extraordinaire Jimmy James in the voice of Bette Davis! It's definitely one of the funniest Christmas songs ever, double exclamation point!!
Last year, JD produced two Christmas shows (and sent me preview CDs again):
December 19th, 2005:
JD starts off with a medley entitled "Christmas Fairies" from a group called 4 Poofs And A Piano. We then hear Christmas songs from Bob Downe, DC Anderson, Jeremy Goff. "Let's Put The X Back In Christmas" by Candye Kane & Country Dick Montana is next (a song I found via Napster and contributed to JD - I'm still looking for the FULL Christmas album by Kane!) followed by several selections from a NYC drag queen named Hedda Lettuce (you can't make this stuff up!).
Up next is an interview with Daniel Cartier featuring three of Cartier's Christmas songs (nicely done I might add). Then we get to hear a clip from the "Sonny & Cher Christmas Special" from 1976 featuring seven year old Chastity Bono singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - JD, where did you find this? After a station break, JD plays an obscure 1995 song by Christian Left entitled "Queer Christmas Wishes" that starts off wickedly funny, moves to disturbing, and ends up deeply moving. A real gem.
We get two more interviews /songs from Mary Gauthier and Jay Spears next. In rapid succession, we get three amazingly funny songs from Julian Clary, Fiely Matias, and Dame Edna Everage that sets you up for the knockout punch - JD plays four new songs from the Kinsey Sicks: "God Bless Ye Femmy Lesbians", "Jingle Bells, Don't Ask, Don't Tell", "Harried Little Christmas", and their "Christmas Medley". These four songs will make you wince and laugh hysterically simultaneously. A touching version of "Auld Lang Syne" by Daniel Cartier ends the radio show.
December 26th, 2005:
Picking up where he left off, JD begins with the Kinsey Sicks: "Tis The Season To Drink Stoli" and "I Had A Little Facial" (to the tune of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"). We then get twin-spins back-to-back-to-back from El-Vez, Dave Hall, and Cam Clarke. Up next is "Jingle Bells" by a group named Betty - an amazing acapella medley that lasts 1:30! JD then uncovers one of the few Christmas songs recorded by Dusty Springfield: "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" recorded by the Springfields from 1961!
VonTanner then sings "Santa Claus, You're Fat", a song warning Santa to check his cholestrol! Mike Rickard sings "Home For The Holidays", then another gem: Dora Bryan singing "If I Were A Fairy" from 1963. After a station break, we hear a snippet from Paul Lynde as Santa ("Why do I gotta climb down the chimney? Why can't I walk through the door like anyone else? It's discrimination!). "A Christmas Song" is next by No You Turn, a very 80s techno-pop group.
Gerald Joling gives us the doo-wop flavored heartbreak song "Lonely This Christmas". An excellent cover of Joni Mitchell's "The River" is presented by The Indigo Girls next. Lisa Koch's "You'll Never Melt My Heart" follows taken from her album "You Make My Pants Pound". JD then interviews Shawn Thomas, plays songs from Leah Ziccari, Ann Reed, and Tom Grounds. The radio show ends with two classic songs: "The Bette Davis Chorus" (sung to Handel's "Halleujah Chorus") that leads to Jimmy James' version of "Feliz Navidad".
JD, your Christmas CDs that you send are some of my most prized possessions. I'm thankful you continue to send them and I'm grateful we've become great friends in the process. I hope this review has done you justice.
Now for the HUGE surprise I promised...
Every Christmas show that JD Doyle has done is AVAILABLE to listen to at his website:
Click on the
links above, listen to the shows (look for the link in the corners
of the page), follow along with the script of each show (also available
at the site), and examine the photos that go along with the songs.
It's a treasure trove of Christmas delight in three flavors - straight,
gay, and lesbian. Happy listening...