December 2008 Script
Melissa Etheridge - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (2008)
And what a terrific way to start off my Queer Xmas Special. If you stick around you'll hear Xmas music you won't hear anywhere else. I'm JD Doyle and you're listening to Queer Music Heritage. That's found on Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston. On this show I'll try to bring you gay-related xmas music that is entertaining, and sometimes obscure.
But that opening artist is certainly not obscure. I'm sure you recognized the voice of Melissa Etheridge and I was delighted when I heard that she was releasing a Christmas album this year, and even more delighted when I heard it. It's one of the very best holiday albums by a GLBT artist. Period. Let me say that again, it's one of the very best holiday albums by a GLBT artist. That's how impressed I am with it. I knew immediately when I heard her do one of my all time favorites, the Darlene Love classic "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," that it would open this show. The album is excellent throughout and I want to share one more song from it, and picking it was tough, but here's an original by her, "It's Christmas Time."
Melissa Etheridge - It's Christmas Time (2008)
Fa la la la la. Melissa Etheridge, with two songs from album called "A New Thought For Christmas." This year I'm again doing additional parts to this special, which can be found on my site, and you can hear more Melissa there. And be sure you stick around, because later in this show I'll bring you a special interview with Cris Williamson, who has just released a new holiday album.
Up next is Beth Ditto of the band Gossip, and this song is not typical of their sound. They're on the Kill Rock Stars label and accordingly lean more toward riot girl music, but I love this one, from 2006 called "Everyday Is Christmas With You."
Ditto - Everyday Is Christmas With You (2006)
Following Beth Ditto was Jennifer O'Connor, who's been getting a lot of attention with her latest album, from this year, called "Here With You." The song was "Xmas Party."
But I started if off with a little bit of a demo by her doing "Deck the Halls"
Of course this show is not going to be just female artists, and I've got Jame Collins telling us about the song "I Just Can't Wait Till Christmas Time," that he released last year as a mp3 single.
James Collins Comments (2008)
"I Just Can't Wait Till Christmas Time" is just one of those songs that's about somebody who despises Christmas, and finally they see Christmas through the eyes of somebody they just fell for. And now it all makes sense to them, you know, they want to make the angels in the snow. At one point it would be like they couldn't wait to get away to some place warm, someplace south, and now it's kind of like, I think I want to stay here because you're in my life.
Collins - I Just Can't Wait Till Christmas Time (2007)
That was Jay Spears, who seems to come up with a new Christmas song every year, and I hope he never stops. Up next is a duo called Justus Boyz. That's spelled j-u-s-t-u-s b-o-y-z, and they are a bit mysterious. They're a Detroit couple, long time partners Phil Elam and Mike Boila, and a few years ago they got a lot of airplay with their song "Calling All Boys." But if you do a google search on them, you won't find much information on their music. Instead you'll find lots on their clothing line, Justus Boyz, and lots of hot male models in sexy briefs. Sometimes researching for this show is downright hard. Anyway, last year they put out a very nice single, called "Snow on Christmas Day."
Justus Boys - Snow on Christmas Day (2007)
I've been a fan of the music of Rick Berlin for quite a while. And he's got quite a music history. Going back to the mid-70s he's been in bands like Orchestra Luna, Berlin Airlift and the Shelly Winters Project, and has a series of what I call dark cabaret albums, which I quite like. His latest one, "Old Stag" has the interesting song "Lesbians In The Snow." How could I resist?
Rick Berlin - Happy Lesbians In The Snow (2007)
Up next is a song from 1988 and a bit hit in England called "Mistletoe & Wine"
Cliff Richard - Mistletoe & Wine ( 1988)
That's Cliff Richard, a very big pop star in the UK for decades and notoriously in the closet. So much so that a young British artist has just recorded a song mocking Cliff Richard as being, well, santimonious, and the song mentions a couple members of Parliament that also deserved singling out. So, we are morphing from "Christmastime, Mistletoe & Wine" to a song called "Christmastime for Sanctimonious Swine."
Ste McCabe - Christmastime for Sanctimonious Swine (2008)
That was Ste McCabe, and the song is from a compilation album on the CherryAde label called "A Very Cherry Christmas, Volume 4." Ste tells me that the other folks mentioned, since we Americans would likely not be familiar with them, were Anne Widdencombe and David Cameron, two very conservative and not gay-friendly UK politicians. And leading us to the mid-show break is a comedy team called MobTelevision, and a song from one of their skits, called "Queerest Time of the Year."
MobTelevision - Queerest Time of the Year (2007)
Yes, the "Queerest Time of the Year," and this is a good time to invite you to check out my website. If you visit it while you're listening you can see the playlist and follow along, while looking at photos of the artists and recordings, because our music history is a visual as well as an audial experience. You know, I collect gay and lesbian related Xmas music all year, and it seems like this was a banner year, as I found enough new material, songs I've never played before, to do several hours of programming. So, having no willpower, that's what I did, and you can find over four hours of it at www.queermusicheritage.com. Also, for more very queer programming, please listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night/Sunday morning from 1 to 4 am, on KPFT, it's Queer Radio, with attitude.
Early in the show I promised you an interview with Cris Williamson. And this is an artist I certainly should not have to introduce to my listeners, as she's been recording for over 40 years and was one of the leading pioneers of Women's Music, first with Olivia Records and then with her own label, being and continuing to be a role model. Her first Olivia album, "The Changer and the Changed," well, changed our music history. She released a wonderful holiday album in 1985 called "Snow Angel," and I'm very pleased that she's got a brand new one, called "Winter Hearts." You already have an excellent holiday album, what inspired you to to another?
Chris Williamson comments (2008)
You already have an excellent holiday album, what inspired you to to another?
Oh, that one was done quite a while ago, and the season and the times being kind of dark, and people looking for hope everywhere, and the election I think stirred a great deal of hope in people, and I just wanted to continue to support that feeling as best as I could, with songs that talk about the coming of...it's a weaving really of as many of the different holiday, seasonal traditions as I could summon. Everything from the Druids, to the Mithraic society to the basic Christian enfolding of basic Druidic of where the change the language, and...like "Holly and the Ivy," for example, and the interesting little stories that went with things; and I wrote a lot of original pieces that are pretty far ranging, so it was just really a pleasure to do.
You've got some talented help on this CD, like lots of names I know, like Julie Wolf, Barbara Higbie, Vicki Randle...
Beautiful...they're my posse, I bring them in, and we're just about to play this weekend together, too, so it's going to be really nice, including also too Teresa Trull, my old friend. So we're all doing a holiday show in Berkeley, California, so that will be really fun.
Please tell me about the song "Sounding Joy"
"Sounding Joy"...I thought it would be interesting to talk about...the carols were actually originally dances. The word carol didn't mean a song so much as it meant a courtly dance, in its day. So these songs in the fourteenth century, thirteenth, fourteenth century, thereabouts, in the dark dark middle ages were...in those dark castles, people shivering to death and then eating a bunch of food and then dancing, probably to stay warm as much as anything else, and have some joy in their lives, and...so I took the title from "Adeste Fideles," "Joy to the World," "repeat the sounding joy," as it says, the refrain, and then I chose to weave, in the chorus I wove the titles of a lot of my favorite Christmas carols.
Cris Williamson - Sounding Joy (2008)
On both of your holiday albums you pretty much avoided the cliches..I half cringe with I see a new christmas album by an artist I like and see, gee, another version of silent night. And "have yourself a merry little christmas" has been done a lot, but your version is just beautiful
you for that, thank you, I appreciate that, it's a closer, isn't it?
Yeah, well, you know, I love that film, when Judy Garland sings that
to Margaret O'Brien, I just love that old film. It's just something
so sad and so beautiful about it, so I just thought, I'm just going
to do that, as I did "Christmas Song" on the previous album...I
think it's nice to have those standards, but just do them so simply
that people almost hear them for the first time.
Cris Williamson - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (2008)
Cris Williamson QMH ID
Two songs from "Winter Hearts," the new holiday album by Cris Williamson, and this interview continues on Part 2 of this sound, found on my website.
Now, time for a New Year's Eve song that I recently acquired. It's out of Colorado on the debut album from 2007 by Ryan Mintz, "Monkeys & Ice Cream," and it's just called "New Year's Eve."
Ryan Mintz - New Year's Eve (2007)
Now here's a song I am very pleased to have discovered. It's from the 1995 CD by the Turtle Island String Quartet, called "By the Fireside," and they do a version of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Okay, I know what you're thinking, a string quartet doing "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"? Well, besides having already won two Grammys, this group is terrific. Now, I don't know if any of the four guys in the quartet are gay, but on this particular track their guest vocalists were Vicki Randle and Linda Tillery. Who are they? Vicki Randle is a wonderfully talented vocalist and musician and for the last 16 years has been the first, and only, female member of The Tonight Show band. And she often is a guest on the albums of Cris Williamson, including the new holiday CD. Linda Tillery is also a longtime contributor to the field of Women's Music, with releases on Olivia and she founded the Cultural Heritage Choir. Wait till you hear them on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."
Turtle Island String Quartet, with Vicki Randle & Linda Tillery - Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (1995)
I just love that, again that was Vicki Randle and Linda Tillery with the Turtle Island String Quartet. And escorting us to the last song is Candie Cramer, a transgender flutist, from her new CD called "A Candie Cramer Christmas."
Candie Cramer - Christmas Song (2008)
We're running out of time for Part 1 of this show. 58 minutes goes pretty fast when you're trying to fit in lots of terrific music. If you haven't had enough, well, please visit my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com. And you'll find a total of over 4 hours of very queer xmas music, where you'll hear some holiday goodies that are not quite ready for radio. And don't forget, all my past xmas shows can also be downloaded as well, right into your mp3 player.
I want to thank Cris Williamson for the special comments about her new album, and I want to thank you all for tuning in, and if you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, you can write to me, and I'd love to hear from you. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston. And come back next month for my ninth anniversary show.
Okay, the closing song, and I've made it a QMH tradition, is by one of our culture's most talented female impersonators, Jimmy James. On my December shows I've played it more than any other song. From the album "Have Yourself a Jimmy James Merry Christmas," from 2002, you won't forget her version of "Feliz Navidad."
Jimmy James - Feliz Navidad (2002)
- QMH Xmas ID
This is JD Doyle and welcome to Part 2 of the Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special. Of course that was RuPaul. From her 1997 album "Ho Ho Ho" came "Funky Christmas." And next is Melissa Etheridge suggesting that you have a "Merry Christmas Baby."
Etheridge - Merry Christmas Baby (2008)
Again that Melissa Etheridge song was from her holiday CD "A New Thought For Christmas," and following her was KJ Denhert, from her 2003 EP, with "Silent Night."
On Part 1 of this show I promised you more of my interview with Cris Williamson. I asked her to tell me about the title track for the album "Winter Hearts."
Cris Williamson comments (2008)
That came about, I was studying about the worship of Mithras, who's the Persian God of Light, and then that society travelled from Persia to Rome for a while, and there were Mithraic societies in Rome, and the Latin incantation that's there in the bridge, "Dies Natalis Solis Invicti," the birthday of the invincible sun, you can't defeat the light. So they worshiped, as I said, the Persian God of Light, who was called Mithras, who also was born of a virgin, and also on December 25th, and so there's some really interesting corelations between a lot of the stories
Cris Williamson - Winter Hearts (2008)
Tell me about the song "Moonlight Ranch"
"Moonlight Ranch" is a true story of my dad, of a little place outside Laramie, Wyoming, where we lived. It was really called that, the moonlight ranch, and we didn't ranch there, we just lived in this really old ranch house, and it was my first haircut, when I was about five, I think, and mom cut my hair and dad took my hair and put it all in the tree, and then called me in and said "this year we'll have real angel hair on the Christmas tree," and so it was just such a beautiful...my dad was so poetic in that way, really tender, so I just put it in a song. On "Snow Angel" I had done it as a narration, as the story, and then I took the story for this album and turned it into a song. Who knows what I'll do in the next one.
Cris Williamson - Moonlight Ranch (2008)
Again, I thank Cris Williamson for the comments about her new holiday album.
Remember the English band Free, and their huge hit from 1970, "All Right Now"? Of course you do. The bandmember who played bass and wrote that song is Andy Fraser. He was out of the limelight for many years and then released a solo album in 2005 called "Naked, and Finally Free," which he considers his coming out album. Last year he put out a video and mp3, called "Take Me Home For Christmas."
Fraser - Take Me Home For Christmas (2007)
Andy Fraser and "Take Me Home For Christmas," followed by Neil Aaron's "Christmas Day 2004." That's from Neil's 2006 album "Single on Sunday."
I played this next song on my Xmas show three years ago, but I'm bringing it back because this year I interviewed the artist, Chris VonTanner, for my September show, and of course asked him about this xmas song. "Santa Claus You're Fat" was recorded in 1974, but not released until 2004.
Chris VonTanner comments (2008)
That I wrote for my family, cause my mother and my sister and my dad all went on weight watchers. This was like 30 years ago, whatever, and lost something like 250 pounds between the two or three or four of them. So I wrote them that song as a Christmas present, and never intended to play if for anybody else, and to this very day my dad plays it every Christmas. He just loves it, says "it's the best thing you ever wrote."
VonTanner - Santa Claus You're Fat (1974)
After Chris VonTanner was Adam Baum and "Christmastime on the Beach," from 2007, and Baum is b-a-u-m. That's not what he usually sounds like. I'm more used to hearing his dance under the name Frustrated Housewives. They had a song a few years ago called "I Know What Boys Like."
This year I also interviewed Canadian artist Jeff Straker...that's Straker and not Stryker...and got him to tell me about his recording of "The River."
Jeff Straker comments (2008)
"The River" is by Joni Mitchell, and it's a popular Joni Mitchell tune, and the connection for me was that when you read about her and her writing of it, it's referencing Saskatchewan, where she grew up, which is where I grew up, and for me it conjures up images of December or January on a pond in Saskatchewan, so for me it's such an appropriate holiday type song.
Straker - The River (2005)
"The River" was from Jeff Straker's 2005 album "Songs From Highway 15." And I thank Soren Anders for sending me the song "I Want Nothing." He's founder of the band Shimmerplanet and this song will be on his upcoming solo album.
An artist I just discovered is Bryce Kulak, out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He released his debut CD last year, called "Tin Can Telephone," but this song is not on it. It was recorded at the CD release concert in Edmonton last December, and I really like it. As Bryce himself uploaded it to youtube, it must be okay for me to grab it. He wrote it and It's called "A Christmas Song."
Kulak - A Christmas Song (2007)
From Bryce Kulak's "A Christmas Song" I went to "Christmastime Is Here," a new song by Boston area singer/songwriter Zane Kuchera.
Here's another brand new song. It was originally done by the sister trio The Roches, but rising artist Matt Alber has recorded it as a benefit for an organization called L.A. Youth Network (LAYN). That group takes in homeless L.A. kids, many of whom are gay and lesbian teens. The song is "Star of Wonder."
Matt Alber - Star of Wonder (2008)
From Hawaii are two lesbian singers who are also partners in life, and they call themselves Makena. They used to go by the name Skyler Blue, but recently chose the name Makena, as the word in Hawaiian means abundance. Anyway, In 2007 they scheduled themselves seven days to do a Christmas album, and had hoped to do twelve songs, but just ran out of time, recording only seven. So, from their album "7 Days of Christmas" is "Let It Snow" and one called "Po La'i E"
- Let It Snow / Silent Night (2007)
And that was the trio called Betty, from their 2004 album "Sno-Biz." Out of Atlanta, Georgia, is an artist new to me. A friend of hers just sent me her Christmas song out of the blue, and I'm glad he did. Her name is Gisele and her position is that she "Just Don't Feel Like Christmas"
- Just Dont Feel Like Christmas (2007)
And that was Ashley MacIsaac, a genius at the fiddle and a song from his 1993 album "A Cape Breton Chritmas." Cape Breton is in Nova Scotia, where he's from and over the years he's gotten title of "the bad boy of world music." For that track he combined a "t'was the night before christmas" intro with one called "The Devil in the Kitchen."
I've not played too many pretty ballads so far on this show, and I've got the perfect one right now. It's by Lori Michaels. I interviewed her earlier this year, for her new album "Living My Life Out Loud," and I happened to ask if she had a Christmas song. Well, she did, and I thank her for sending me this unreleased one, called "Holidays"
Lori Michaels - Holidays (2006)
I want to end Part 2 of the Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special with Melissa Etheridge, and another terrific track from her new album. This one combines a lot of elements into one great seven-minute package. It's called "O Night Divine"
Melissa Etheridge - O Night Divine (2008)
And we're back, with Part 3 of the Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special. I'm JD Doyle, and who better to start off than Venus Envy, from their classic 1995 album, "I'll Be a Homo For Christmas." I've featured many songs from this CD over the years, but somehow never got to this one, until now...."Silent Dyke"
Envy - Silent Dyke (1995)
Following Venus Envy was The Therapy Sisters, from their own classic Xmas album, from 1998, "Codependent Christmas." They gave us "Santa's Got the Blues"
Chris Garneau - It's Almost Christmas (2007)
And that was Chris Garneau, whose videos have gotten a lot of play on the Logo channel. His song "It's Almost Christmas" came from his 2007 5-track EP called "C-Sides."
Up next a couple songs from gay and lesbian choruses. First, from Los Angeles here's the West Coast Singers and "What a Gay 'Ol Christmas Tree," from 2006. And listen closely to the second song, as it's stocking is packed full of, let's say, innuendo.
Coast Singers - What a Gay 'Ol Christmas Tree (2006)
That was the North Coast Men's Chorus, from Cleveland, and a wonderful medley called The Three Fagrigals. That was written by David Maddux, who writes mainly for the Seattle Gay & Lesbian Chorus, but that arrangement has been performed by a number of choruses all over.
Coming up is a artist whose debut album from 2006 is packed full of power ballads, so his version of "O Holy Night" is I guess what you would expect. And I have to admit I'm cynical enough to wonder if the huge crowd applause on the track is real or added later, but you go to his website and see that his looks, both dressed and undressed, are just dazzling, and you somehow forget about all that. He's an actor, singer, model, underwear model, and he's got videos on Logo, here's Bryan Hawn.
Bryan Hawn - O Holy Night (2008)
I don't know if this next act is gay, but their 2005 video of this song is Very gay. You can find it easily on youtube. They are from Norway and go by the name Cheezy Keys and the song, which I've read contains giberish German, is "Last Christmas."
Keys - Last Christmas (2005)
Singing about Frosty was the Bruno Beats, from a very rare 4-song 45rpm EP record. Back in the late 1970s three brothers, Miki, Paul and Armand Zone were a glam/punk band called The Fast, and they released a one-off 45 as the Bruno Beats. By 1982 their sound had morphed into electronic dance and they changed their name to Man2Man, and did quite well in the US and especially Europe. Miki Zone died of AIDS in 1986 and Paul and Armand continued on. The next song "Cryin' on Christmas" was on the Bruno Beats EP from 1982 but they did a much better version in 1988. Paul Zone has told me it was recorded in London as a b side on a german label ZYX. The release got pushed back till after xmas so it never got on that release and never got released at all until a Man2Man retrospective CD was issued last year. Thanks to Paul Zone for sending me the song. So, from 1988, here's Man2Man and "Cryin' on Christmas." I love the Ronettes style drum beats they're using.
Man2Man - Cryin' on Christmas (1988)
Paul Zone was a guest artist on a recent album by Kristian Hoffman, and as I interviewed Kristian last year I was able to con him into telling me about two unreleased Xmas songs. Kristian tells me the first one is from 1995 and other was written in 1978, but the demo was not recorded until around 2005. With Kristian's sense of humor I'm not surprised by the titles, "Christmas Time Is Coming (So Get Out of the Way)" and "I Put the X in Xmas"
Kristian Hoffman comments (2008)
I just love Christmas albums and so a few years ago I decided to write a Christmas song, and there supposedly is a Christmas movie going to be made by this guy, Steve Balderson, and they might be using that song in it, so I decided to make a pretty serious demo of it at one point. "Christmas Time Is Coming (So Get Out of the Way)" was recorded albut three or four years ago.
Kristian Hoffman - Christmas Time Is Coming (So Get Out of the Way) (1995)
"I Put the X in Xmas" was actually written for the New Wave Vaudeville Show, The Second. David McDermott, who was the original MC, had said that he refused to participate unless everyone was paid, which was totally out of the question. And so they defaulted to me and I certainly was not as much of a genius MC as he was. But I was very lucky because since it was a Christmas show they said, "why don't you write a Christmas song, and you can appear as the Baby Jesus." So it was great cause on the stage at Irving Plaza, which is really very large, they had about a 30-foot Christmas tree and they had a manger scene in front of it, and I was in this poor girl's lap, dressed in a diaper as Jesus and I got to come out and sing that song, and that's the original backing track from that song from the New Wave Vaudeville Show.
Kristian Hoffman - I Put the X in Xmas / Silent Night (2005)
Oh, my. Well, that should put you in the mood for some punkish music I just got from the UK, all released on a label called CherryAde, and all would be proud to be called dyke bands. The band names are Awesome Wells, Hug Party and Candy Panic Attack and there's some, let's say, language problems that kept them off the broadcast version of this show.
Wells - Never Buy You Roses (2008)
By Awesome Wells was "Never Buy You Roses," by Hug Party was "Christmas Is Coming" and the band Candy Panic Attack sang about being "On the Dole at Christmas." You probably figured it out, but in the UK, on the dole is a slang phrase for being unemployed. All of those songs, and more, can be found in a series of CDs called "A Very Cherry Christmas," put out by the CherryAde label. They release lots of indy punkish acts in England, and graciously sent me mp3s of their queer acts, the ones you just heard and from Part 1 of this show, Ste McCabe.
Okay, as long as we're flaunting songs to which the FCC would strongly object, here are two more. First up is Jonny McGovern. He's a singer/comedian also known as The Gay Pimp, whose got videos on Logo and a number of releases. This season he released a single called "Dirty Gay Christmas." If you're easily offended, well, you better skip over these next two. You were warned.
McGovern - Dirty Gay Christmas (2008)
Ah, that was Kendall and "Santa Polka" from 2006. Kendall is out of the Buffalo area and is another prolific artist, and has quite an irreverant sense of humor.
Next, is Jay Brannan, and I think Jay is very talented, with his latest album, called "Goddammed," being among the best of last year. He has two Xmas songs, and one came out on Jay's digital EP from 2007. It's called "Unstable Boy." And the other one has not been officially recorded at all. The best version I know of is from youtube, "Christmas Really Sucks This Year."
Brannan - Unstable Boy (2007)
cold, but light outside
just another day
streets are empty
put your trust
on the telephone
your day been merry?
put your trust
Jay Brannan, and some of you may have seen him, all of him, in the movie "Shortbus." And that takes care of all the songs I have this year with language problems, unless you have a problem with the word faggot. It shows up in a hit song by Irish band The Pogues, from 1987. This past year the BBC banned it, for a while, because of that word, but public outcry made them change their mind. The song has been a huge, huge hit in England. The song's story takes place in a drunk tank and involves a couple who were lovers years ago and meet again and begin cursing at each other. The narrator calls the woman a slut, and guest vocalist Kirsty MacColl sings back 'You scumbag, you maggot, You cheap lousy faggot." And why am I playing this song? Because The Pogues bandmember Phil Chevron is very active in the gay rights movement in the UK. The Pogues and "Fairytale of New York."
The Pogues, with Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York (1987)
Closing Part 3 of my Queer Xmas Special is, are you ready, a straight act. Now, I've played a handful of straight acts on my December shows before, but always when the song was lyrically gay. This time the song is not, but it's terrific, and there's sort of a gay angle. One of the more controversial recent artists is Pete Wentz, of the super successful band Fall Out Boy. You do a google search on his name and the word "gay" and you get 946,000 hits. He's been known to wear mascara, use male-to-male pronouns in his songs, kisses his male band mates on stage, and is very pro-gay in his statements to the press. I've read that he donated $50,000 to fight Prop 8 in California. In an interview in The Advocate in May of 2007, Wentz opened up about his sexuality, saying that he is sexually attracted to males but that, quote "I'm not a fan of penises." Whatever. I'll using all that to rationalize my using their Christmas song, because I really like it. The song comes from the various artists CD "A Santa Cause It's a Punk Rock Christmas," from 2003. Fall Out Boy, and "Yule Shoot Your Eye Out."
Fall Out Boy - Yule Shoot Your Eye Out (2003)
Michael Feinstein - We Need a Little Christmas (1993)
That quick little song was from Michael Feinstein and his 1993 album "The Jerry Herman Songbook," and of the course the song was from "Mame." This is JD Doyle and I'm glad to see you're still with me, and I'm welcoming you to Part 4 of the Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special.
Let's move on to sort of a Jewish holiday song, by who else but Phranc. She does "Hannukah Snowman," which appeared on the Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday album in 2006.
- Hannukah Snowman (2006)
Following Phranc was John Small and a song of his from 1993 called "High New England Snow." And following him was Patrick Arena, with a new song, "Merry Christmas Daddy."
Earlier this year I interviewed Tom Andersen and asked him about a holiday song he recorded, with a couple friends. It was Tom, Scott Coulter and Tim DiPasqua, and I'll let Tom tell us about it.
Tom Andersen comments (2008)
"War on Christmas Day" is a wonderful song. Carol Hall, who does of course "Little Whorehouse in Texas." She had written the music to that. Carol had seen me do a show with Tim Dipasqua and Scott Coulter. Tim and Scott are both wonderful singers in their own right, and Tim does a lot of...he's a writer, we've known each other for twenty years, and have written a whole bunch of together. And Carol was finally putting together...she's written hundreds of songs, and she was finally putting together a CD of her work, and she had come to see Tim, Scott and I do this show, and she thought, "oh you guys would be perfect on 'War on Christmas Day,'" so we came up with an arrangement for it. And it's really just...it's a very interesting song in that it's about...there's a sailor, who's a woman, and there's a soldier, a man. And they don't know each other, and basically talking to them, talking about them, and it's just basically their experiences of being at war on Christmas Day. It's just a slice of life, and she just put it out there for the listeners to just experience what these people, the men and women, who are in the middle of war, are experiencing it. And of course Christmas being one of the major holidays of the year, for them to be in someplace so horrible as war during that, was just an interesting idea for a song. And it's a beautiful, beautiful song. It's really, really quite wonderful. So I was really pleased and happy to be part of that recording.
Tom Andersen, Scott Coulter, Tim Dipasqua - War on Christmas Day (2008)
"War on Christmas Day," from the album "Hallways, the Songs of Carol Hall"
Also this year I interviewed James Collins, and y'all should know by now I don't pass up a chance to ask artists about their Chritmas songs. I featured one of his on Part 1 of the show, and here's James talking about one called "Missing You At Christmas (That's All)"
I wish I could say there's some great story to that song. I think I just wrote that for the sake of writing a Christmas song. I wasn't really missing anybody. I just know at that time of year, some people are a little more on the lonely side, so I guess misery loves company in this case. It was just one of those things where I decided, hey, I want to write a Christmas song, and it did surprizingly well at radio here, and hopefully the song will end up living on for years to come up here.
Collins - Missing You At Christmas (That's All) (2006)
"Missing You At Christmas" came from James Collins' 2006 album "The Messenger." And after that was a song Norine Braun sent me from her upcoming album "Acoustically Inclined." The song of course was called "Christmas Bells."
Gaye Adegbalola gave me a wonderful interview for my September show, and I saved for now when I asked her to tell me about the song "One Parent Christmas"
Gaye Adegbalola comments (2008)
Well, okay, first of all it's a Christmas song, and it's on Alligator's CD. It's on their first Christmas release. I purposely said "one parent" instead of, you know, one woman's Christmas blues, because men have the same problem. "One Parent Blues" is as close to my heart as perhaps any you get. I think one of the hardest times that any of us have to deal with, is dealing with Christmas by yourself with a child. And the song goes "it's hard, oh so hard, making Christmas all alone. It's so hard making Christmas in a one-parent home." And it goes into shopping and cleaning and trying to stretch your money and how you ask for help, and the help you ask for from the child's other parent is not money, but it's just some time to help you clean, cook, whatever. Christmas is stressful. A lot of holidays are stressful. And I've really been through it, because not only have I been, you know, black and a lesbian, but I've also been poor, and I've been a single parent and a woman, you know, and all of that stuff just really adds up, and it kind of comes to a head at Christmas time.
Yeah, I told my parent, I told my mother...I came out to my mother one Christmas eve eve. You know, she wanted me to run and get this and run and get that and wrap these gifts, and finally I just told her, "Look, I can't do this anymore, and I can't pretend anymore." And it's just impossible to go through...it's hard enough you're pretending Santa Claus. I never played Santa Claus with my child, never, but a lot of people do. So here you are struggling to provide, and give your child this Christmas by yourself. And then you're telling your child that somebody else gave it to him. So all of that came to a head, and I wrote "One Parent Christmas," one parent blues.
Saffire - One Parent Christmas (1992)
"One Parent Christmas" was done by Gaye as part of her group Saffire, and the song was featured in 1993 on a compilation called "The Alligator Records Christmas."
I've been meaning to play this song for a while. It's by Libby Roderick, from her album from 1993, "If the World Were My Lover." The song is just called "Winter."
Roderick - Winter (1993)
He wrote it and he sings it. That was Michael Gott, from his 2007 album "All Is Calm, All Is Bright." He's from Dallas and has recorded nine albums since 1997, and is very good looking. Okay, that's irrelevant.
This next artist has some history to him, and he's worked hard in his 74 years to get it. He's Pat Rocco and I bet most of my listeners have never heard of him. That's a pity as he was in his own way a very early gay acivist. In 1967 he started producing short non-explicit erotic gay movies, which were shown at the Park Theatre in Los Angeles and sold by mail-order. His films were unique in that they gave a very early positive dipiction of gay intimacy. This was so welcome in those times that a group was formed to show their appreciation. The group was called The Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts, or SPREE. And they even put a newsletter for over ten years. I've got a few copies of that on my site. Pat Rocco has recorded a number of albums, including one about a year ago called "He Touched Me: Songs for Gay Lovers and Significant Others." As he's lived in Hawaii for the last 20 years, his latest CD is called "Christmas In Hawaii," and he's added that flavor to it. I've put together three of the tracks, including his closing epilogue.
Pat Rocco - Sleigh Ride / Most Wonderful Time of the Year / Epilogue (2008)
Again, that was Pat Rocco. And this next artist also has some history. His name is Rex Gildo and his story unfortunately was not a happy one. He was a big pop star in Germany in the 60s and 70s, kind of a teen idol, selling over 25 million records and starring in movies and on television. During the 80s and 90s his popularity decreased and he had problems with alcoholism. In 1999 he commited suicide, at age 63, and after his death it was revealed he was gay. From his 1973 Christmas album, in German, is "Silent Night."
Rex Gildo - Silent Night (1973)
Okay, that was a sad story, here's a happy one. This next artist also was a teen idol, in Holland, and has had a prolific career. He's Ronnie Tober and he met his partner in 1968 and they officially married in 1998. You can do that in Holland. The next year, on Ronnie's 40th anniversary in show business, he was knighted by Queer Beatrix of The Netherlands. The song I chose by him is "If Every Day Was Like Christmas," and is from his 2002 album "Christmas With Ronnie Tober."
Tober - If Every Day Was Like Christmas (2002)
After Ronnie Tober came someone fresh out of the closet, so congratulations to Clay Aiken. The song "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" was from his 2004 release "Merry Christmas With Love."
An artist I've followed for a number of years now is Canadian Andy Northrup, and he just sent me a song he wrote last year, and he's performed a bit at live shows. And while he and two other of his artist friends, and mine, Michael West and Freddy Freeman, were at Milwaukee Pride, Michael and Freddy heard and liked the song and decided to work up a version of their own. And a nice version it is. I'm not sure which one I like best so decided to let you hear them both. I'll share with you Andy Northrup doing the first part of his song, and then Michael West and Freddy Freeman finishing it up. Andy's told me he considers it an existential agnostic Christmas song. It's called "Christmas I Need You."
Andy Northrup, Michael West, Freddy Freeman - Christmas I Need You (2008)
Last July we lost to cancer another one of our talented artists, Katie Reider, at age 30. She was based out of Cincinnati and released a number of recordings, winning many local music awards. I met her briefly in 2004 at the Houston Women's Festival. She never officially released any holiday songs, but I want to thank Katie's partner Karen for sending me a live version of "Little Drummer Boy" that Katie did around 2002. The track is nine minutes long, of which the first six minutes is a wonderful drum solo by Joshua Seurkamp (pronounced Sir-Camp). I wish we had time for all of that, but I'm picking it up a little before the vocals start.
Reider - Little Drummer Boy (2006)
After Katie Reider was the trio called Girlyman, and "Carols at Christmas" from their 2007 CD "Joyful Sign." I've been a fan of their's for years and Nate Borofsky, Doris Muramatsu, and Ty Greenstein, who are Girlyman, do gorgeous harmonies.
Okay, this has been a very mellow segment, so let's pick up the beat a little with Australian Darren Hayes. He's famous for being one half of the hugely successful duo Savage Garden, selling over 25 million records worldwide. Hayes went solo in 2002 and in 2006 entered into a civil partnership in England with Richard Cullen, which he promptly announced on his website. From a rare 1999 CD single is his cover of "Last Christmas."
Darren Hayes - Last Christmas (1999)
Darren Hayes doing his version of the George Michael hit "Last Christmas." And if you're still listening by now to the fourth part of my Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special, I give you credit. It's been so long it must already seem like last christmas.
Here's one that's brand new. It's by George Michael and it's his first Christmas-themed song since 1984's "Last Christmas." The new song is called "December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)."
George Michael - December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) (2008)
It's been fun putting together over four hours of very queer holiday music, and you know, I still have left over 120 xmas songs by GLBT artists that I've never aired before, and you thought I had no willpower. Ending the show is probably the most successful openly gay artist in history, and the song is one of his most popular holiday songs. From 1973, here's Elton John and "Step Into Christmas."
Elton John - Step Into Christmas (1973)