December 2010 Script
Windy City Slickers - Coming Out For Christmas (2005)
This is JD Doyle and Queer Music Heritage and welcome to my Queer Xmas Music Special. I collect this music all year and it's time once again to share with you, as I usually say, the Xmas music you won't be sick of by now. This is because this is music you are very, very unlikely to hear on the radio. That opening song was "Coming Out For Christmas" by the Windy City Slickers, one of the groups under the umbrella of Chicago's Windy City Performing Arts. It's from their 2005 album "A Windy City Holiday," and I'm particularly pleased to have recently obtained that track.
Here's why, I now have versions of that song by seven different gay or lesbian choruses, and have played several of them over the years on this show, but I always had a pet peeve about the other versions. I loved them but they were live recordings and with that song the audience just could not help laughing loudly, covering up the lyrics. This one was a studio recording, so we could enjoy all of it. Also, last month on QMH I did a nine-hour special on Gay & Lesbian Choruses, and really dug deep, and two of those hours I devoted to xmas music by choruses, so that sort of gives my December show extra segments for you to hear, so I hope you check those out.
[ background instrumental by Candy Cramer, "The Christmas Song," 2007 ]
So let's get right to it. Now unless I say so, all of these artists on the show are GLBT, and right away I have to say I don't know if this next group has any gay or lesbian members, but I figure they must. They are just too, too clever not to. They call themselves the Capitol Steps and have been satirizing the culture and politics for over 25 years. Many of their albums have included good-natured songs with gay topics, like this one, from their album from last year "Barackin' Around the Christmas Tree." The song is called "Gay Pride Together With You."
Capitol Steps - Gay
Pride Together With You (2009)
After the Capitol Steps you heard Sean Chapin and "Santa Claus Is Coming Out," from 2009, and then you heard someone who did recently come out, Sean Hayes, to almost no one's surprise. Guesting on that track was out jazz artist Dave Koz and you can find it on a various artists CD from 2000 called "NBC Celebrity Christmas."
Up next is an artist named Peter Kwaloff, and it wasn't easy to find his real name, as he just goes by Sun PK, with the sun likely coming from the sunshine pop of the 60s that inspires his work, as you'll see with his 2008 song "Christmas Wish." It comes from his CD "Some Sun Singles."
Sun PK - Christmas Wish
Woof! Yes, the Christmas music you won't hear on your regular radio stations. In the middle of that set was the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus. They sang "Santa Daddy" at the GALA Chorus Festival in Montreal in 2004, and I'm please to have a recording of that. And they were followed by Jeffrey Altergott and his song from last year, "Hot for Santa." Next are two tracks from a brand new album by the Indigo Girls, and I think the album is excellent. From it are "I Feel the Christmas Spirit" and "It Really Is a Wonderful Life."
Indigo Girls - I Feel
the Christmas Spirit (2010)
Don't you think by now they are old enough to be called the Indigo Women? Anyway, from the Indigo Girls new CD "Holly Happy Days," and that last one was written by Chely Wright. If you follow country music at all it would be hard not to know that she came out this past year. She's not released her own holiday album, but she did contribute her version of a standard to a various artists album from 2000. On a CD called "Christmas Cookies" she sang "Let It Snow, Let It Snow."
Chely Wright - Let It
Snow, Let It Snow (2000)
After Chely Wright was another song from a compilation, one called "The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs," from 2008. That was Brandy Carlile singing "The Heartache Can Wait."
Melissa Etheridge - RADD PSA
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. That's at www.queermusicheritage.com. Also, for more very queer programming, please listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night/Sunday morning from midnight to 4 am, on KPFT. It's Queer Radio, with attitude.
Another major artist who came out last year was Ricky Martin, and the only holiday song I found by him was from a compilation put out by Rosie O'Donnell, called "Another Rosie Christmas." It's billed as a duet by them but it's really not, as they just overlaid a bit by her at the end, using the original, and very heterosexual song he released that year, called " Ay Ay Ay, It's Christmas."
Ricky Martin & Rosie
O'Donnell - Ay Ay Ay It's Christmas (2000)
That was a very popular artist in Sweden, Magnus Carlsson, doing a single he released in 2006 called "Wrap Myself In Paper."
And I have another song by him. He came out in 2000 and that same year released an album called "A New Christmas." On it he did a cover version of a song I've liked for a long time called "It May Be Winter Outside." The original was a very Motown-ish song by Felice Taylor, from 1967, and the group Love Unlimited also charted with it in 1973. I want you to hear a little bit of Felice Taylor's original.
Felice Taylor - It May Be Winter Outside (1967)
And now here's the version by Magnus Carlsson, keeping those pronouns intact.
Magnus Carlsson - It May Be Winter Outside (2000)
I'm going to change the pace for something brand new from an Australian artist named Brett Every, and I'm pleased he's allowing me to premier the song. It's got a theme I'm sure I've never heard before, about a six-year old boy sort of complaining about not getting what he wants for Christmas, every year, even though he's been very good. Now, it's not mentioned what he did want, but what he did not want included boxing gloves, toy trucks and guns, and balls and bats.
Brett Every - My Humble Christmas List (2010)
By Brett Every and "My Humble Christmas," and we've discussed this song via email and he said he deliberately did not mention the boy wanting things like Barbie Dolls, and being denied them. He wanted to keep that vague and up to the listener to imagine. I agreed that would be too stereotypical for a gay kid, but then thinking about my thinking, found it interesting that I did not consider the boy not wanting sports toys too stereotypical. Maybe that was a bit of been there, done that.
This is JD Doyle for Queer Music Heritage, and this went way, way too fast, but we're down to the end and I want to thank you all for tuning in. Please come back next month for my eleventh anniversary show. And again, for this show you can find additional hours on my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com.
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
Yes, as the lyrics go, just when the atmosphere is great, I announce I'm gay. At least that's what it says translated from Swedish, and in that language it rhymes. That's the same song I started off Part 1 of the show with, but this version is by Stockholm's Gaykor, or gay chorus, from their 2005 album, and pardon my pronunciation, "Kom Ut Till Jul," or "Coming Out For Christmas." And this is JD Doyle with the second part of my Queer Xmas Music Special. Getting right back to the music is a triple play, starting off with a brand new song by Tom Goss, called "Christmas, Chicago Time."
Tom Goss - Christmas,
Chicago Time (2010)
After Tom Goss was another artist friend of mine, Jay Spears, and his new song "You Could Have Knocked Me Over With a Feather." And then you heard two members of the cast of the TV show "Glee," gay actor Chris Colfer, and his character Kurt's new gay friend, Blane, played by straight actor, unfortunately, Darren Criss. They sang the standard "Baby It's Cold Outside," and that's interesting because at the moment I can't think of another male to male version of that song, can you?
And up next are a couple songs I like just because they are to me so interesting and different musically. The first is by Ian Wilson, and he wrote it in 2007 for a xmas songwriting contest. I love its sound and title. It's called "A Minor Key No One Still Writes Carols In." And after it is one it took a while for me to track down, because it's on an obscure compilation album from 1996 called "The 12 Steps of Christmas." I wanted the CD because it contained a song by Mary Ann Rossoni giving another interesting take on things, called "It's a Holiday."
Ian Wilson - A Minor
Key No One Still Writes Carols In (2007)
I finished that set with the song "My Smoky Mountain Christmas." That's by John Abernathy from his new album "Live Out Loud." An artist new to me is Corey Dargel and he's got a couple new releases and also a very interesting holiday song called "Keep Repeating These Words."
Corey Dargel - Keep
Repeating These Words (2009)
Another song from 2009 was "Christmas Dream," and it's by Theo Tams. You may not have heard of him but he's Canadian and came out of the closet during his appearances on the show Canadian Idol, in 2008. That news didn't seem to matter as he went on to win the competition that season. Next are a couple more mellow songs, with the first by Roger Kuhn, from his album called "Every Year Around Xmas Time," and the song "December."
Roger Kuhn - December
Very nice, "Remember This Christmas," by an Austin artist named Nakia, and you can download that song for free from his site. Now this is the internet version of the show, so those with sensitive ears may want to avoid this next set, as it does not comply with FCC regulations. It starts out with Chris Vontanner and his x-rated version of "Santa Daddy." And then Nick Dee and James Collins take it from there.
Chris Vontanner - Santa
In the middle of that three-way was Nick Dee, with "Christmas Today," from his 2009 album "Nickotine Addiction." And James Collins brought up the rear with "You Fucked Me Over at Christmas." And here's another song I grabbed from Youtube, done by David Raleigh & Nathan Leigh Jones. I don't know about Jones, but Raleigh is openly gay. The mashup starts with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and goes from there.
David Raleigh & Nathan Leigh Jones - I Saw Mommy (2008)
And I also stole this one from Youtube. Now this man is not singer, and makes no claim to be. What he is is one of our culture's most prolific playwrights and one of the first to bring to the stage gay themed plays. He's Robert Patrick and his plays include "The Haunted Host," in 1974, which marked the first performance by Harvey Fierstein on the legitimate stage. At 73 he has recently has been uploading songs to his Youtube channel, all a cappella, all just for his amusement, and he told me he wrote this one in 1971, calling it his Elvis song. I can see that. Robert Patrick and "I Know What You Want For Christmas."
Robert Patrick - I Know
What You Want for Christmas (2010)
I brought back the Capitol Steps, this time from a 1994 album, with the song, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The lyrics mentioned then-President Clinton, but of course the issue is still very timely.
Changing the mood a bit are two very pretty songs. First is "Love Came Down" by Namoli Brennet.
Namoli Brennet - Love
Came Down (2009)
And that was a beautiful job Jake Walden did on that standard, "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Here comes a song from the original cast recording of "Billy Elliot, The Musical," the show that won the Tony for Best Musical in 2009. Elton John wrote the music for the show, and this track is actually a bonus track on the CD, as sung by Elton John himself, which is what gets it on this show. I guess I should offer that in the musical Margaret Thatcher is seen as a protagonist to the coal miners, so it's not a friendly song, at all. Elton John and "Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher."
Elton John - Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher (2006)
This year I interviewed Atlanta artist Mike Rickard, about his new CD "Sweat," which I think is one of the best of the year, but of course I had to slip in a question about a song from his 2004 CD "Shaken Not Stirred," also excellent. With this show in mind, I knew I would want a quote about his song from that earlier album "Home for the Holidays." He'll be followed by another Atlanta artist.
Mike Rickard comment
I've been meaning to play that song for a while. It's called "Christmas" and of I love the title of the 1993 album it's from, named "The Love That Won't Shut Up." It's by the Opal Foxx Quartet, and Opal Foxx was sort of a drag name for Benjamin Smoke, and he was very active on the Atlanta club scene before moving to New York City. He also captured the attention of Michael Stipe of REM, who produced the song you heard and most of the Opal Foxx Quartet album. Unfortunately BenjaminSmoke died of liver failure in 1999.
Okay, you may have noticed by now that this segment has gone on for more than the usual 60 minutes, because I wanted to squeeze in just a bit more for you, on my Queer Xmas Music Special. This is JD Doyle and for the closing song I go back to the Indigo Girls, their new album "Holly Happy Days," and what must be one of the few Bluegrass Hanukkah songs, called "Happy Joyous Hanukkah."
Indigo Girls - Happy
Joyous Hanukkah (2010)
London Gay Men's Chorus - All I Want For Christmas (2005)
Yes, "All I Want For Christmas" is you, sounds good to me. This is JD Doyle and this segment is an hour of Christmas songs as done by gay & lesbian choruses. It's part of my November special salute to choruses and gives you a dose of the holidays early. I opened with a chorus I like a lot, the London Gay Men's Chorus, and that was from their 2005 CD "Make the Yuletide Gay." I'm giving Christmas music two hours of this show, and I'm deliberately mostly staying away the standards and playing gay & lesbian chorus music you may not hear anywhere else. But if you do want standards, well, I can get that over with in a song by the Women's Chorus of Dallas. From their 2002 album "Season of Dreams" comes one called "Christmas, In About Three Minutes."
Women's Chorus of Dallas - Christmas, In About Three Minutes (2002)
Staying in Dallas for one more track is the Turtle Creek Chorale. From their 1997 release "Twisted Turtle Tinsel" comes "Miracle of Christmas." And after that is a song that doesn't seem to think Christmas is a miracle at all.
Creek Chorale - Miracle of Christmas (1997)
That was the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and "I Don't Remember Christmas," from their 2004 album "I Will Be Loved Tonight." And next is the same city, different chorus, with the Windy City Gay Chorus, starting with the song "Windy City Christmas," from their 1991 CD "Don We Now," and the song after that will start out very traditional. It starts out white, turns blue, and settles on lavender, all put together by Eric Lane Barnes, who was Director of the chorus during that time.
City Gay Chorus - Windy City Christmas (1991)
Love that one. The Windy City Performing Arts organization has several groups as part of it. That song was by Aria, the Windy City Women's Ensemble, and other groups include Unison, who are the Windy City Lesbian & Gay Singers, and a male ensemble, The Windy City Slickers.
Up next is the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, from their 1996 album, "Freedom, Merriment & Joy" comes one written by Dean X. Johnson, called "Welcome! Sing! Be Merry!"
Gay Men's Chorus - Welcome! Sing! Be Merry! (1996)
And that was "Santa's Choir" by Tucson's Reveille Gay Men's Chorus, from their 2004 album "Christmas Collection."
This next set covers three coasts, well, really two, you'll see what I mean. It starts with the South Coast Chorale from Long Beach and "Holiday Brunch," from their 1994 album "Christmastime," and then heads north to the West Coast Singers, a gay & lesbian chorus from Los Angeles, which was founded in 1983, and is one of the oldest mixed choruses in the country.
Coast Chorale - Holiday Brunch (1994)
And the third coast from that set was the North Coast Men's Chorus, and that creative arrangement was by David Maddux. And where would you put the North Coast? Well, in Cleveland, of course. That track was called "Three Fagrigals" and you won't find it on any album, so I much thank one of their members for getting that to me.
If you're looking for perhaps the most well-known lyrical gay Christmas song, I give the nod to "Coming Out at Christmas," with lyrics by Dean X. Johnson. It's a holiday concert standard across the world, and I have in on several different chorus CDs. But I picked the version from 2006 by the Gay Men's Chorus of Houston.
Gay Men's Chorus of Houston - Coming Out At Christmas (2006)
That was from the album "A New Season - Live" listed as by the Bayou City Performing Arts. That's the umbrellas organization in Houston that houses the Gay Men's Chorus, the Bayou City Women's Chorus, and several small ensembles. From that same album is one that I find very moving, every time I hear it. It was written by Fred Small, who also wrote the chorus standard "Everything Possible," and the song was based on real-life hate crimes that took place in Billings, Montana, in 1993.
Gay Men's Chorus of Houston - Not In Our Town (2006)
It was written by Eric Lane Barnes, and you can hear my interview with him on my February 2005 show, where he talks about that song and many others.
Cincinnati Men's Chorus - Am I Welcome Here (2002)
As done by the Cincinnati's Men's Chorus, from their 2002 CD "A Homemade Holiday."
Now in the introduction I said I was going to mostly avoid the standards, but I quite like this one and they pack a lot of excellence into a minute and nineteen seconds. The group is called Gloria, Ireland's Gay & Lesbian Choir and the song is "Ring Christmas Bells."
Gloria, Ireland's Gay & Lesbian Choir - Ring Christmas Bells (2004)
This is JD Doyle closing this segment of Queer Music Heritage with a very up song, a chorus doing dance music, and not just any dance music, but one by the Weather Girls, so you better listen. It's the New York City Gay Men's Chorus from their CD "A Holiday Homecoming" from 2002, and "Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man For Christmas)."
New York City Gay Men's Chorus - Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man For Christmas) (2002)
Gay Liberation Quire - Hark the Herald Fairies Shout (1983)
I love to start off a xmas show with the Gay Liberation Quire. That group is from Sydney and the song comes from a 4-song EP from 1983. And for the youngsters, an EP was a 7-inch vinyl record with two songs on each side. This is JD Doyle with Queer Music Heritage, and if you found this show you know it's part of a multi-hour salute to the gay & lesbian choral movement. It's the second of two xmas segments, because well, there's lots and lots of choruses doing holiday albums. Out of the roughly 130 chorus CDs in my collection about a fourth are for the holidays. And yes, there are lots and lots of versions of the standards. I won't be playing those; you can find "Ave Maria" and "Winter Wonderland" somewhere else. I'm going next something more cool, specifically a bit of jazz called "Cool Yule," by the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.
Gay Men's Chorus - Cool Yule (2001)
"Cool Yule" was the title track of the 2001 album by the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, and after them was "Christmas Kisses" by Kansas City's Heartland Men's Chorus. That's from their 2003 CD "Let Heaven & Nature Sing." And up next, something very queer.
Mystery Date - All I Want For Christmas Is You (2003)
I love that one. It was written by Ernie Lijoi, an artist I like quite a bit, who has several excellent solo albums. Singing the song was a group called Mystery Date, and backing them up were members of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, and the song appears on the Chorus' album from 2003 called "A Holiday Homecoming." And here's one by Uptown Express, an ensemble of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. It's unusual to find a chorus ensemble performing on a non-chorus CD, but that's where I found this one, as guests on a various artist's compilation called "Jamie DeRoy & Friends." She's a New York City cabaret artist who has issued a number of compilations, with this one being from 1992. The song is called "Remember."
York City Gay Men's Chorus' Uptown Express - Remember (1992)
Okay, that one, called "That Special Time of year," snuck some standards in on me, but not too many. It was by Potomac Fever, the close-harmony ensemble of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC, from their 1998 album "In Our Lifetime." And, I really like this next one, as it speaks to our community. It was written by John-Michael Albert and you can find it on the 1995 album "To Friends and To Life" by the Gay Men's Chorus of Houston. At the time he was Artistic Director of that chorus, and at the 1992 GALA Festival the song was a competition winner. And it's also been recorded by other choruses. It's called "A Season for Lovers."
Men's Chorus of Houston - A Season for Lovers (1995)
The middle song of that set was "Sing We Now of Christmas" by the Renaissance City Men's Choir. They are out of Pittsburgh, and out of Florida is Voices of Pride: Gay Chorus of the Palm Beaches, with "If Not at Christmas." I'm trying to also work in a number of smaller choruses on these shows, and I got that track from their Youtube page.
I love this next song, and it's sung quite nicely by the Cincinnati Men's Chorus on their album from 2002 "A Homemade Holiday." It was written by Eric Lane Barnes. Pay attention to the words, as they speak directly to what some of us may have dreamed for in our youth. It's "Miss Twinkleton's School for Sensitive Boys."
Cincinnati Men's Chorus - Miss Twinkleton's School for Sensitive Boys (2002)
And staying on the light side, back in 2003 David Blue, the Artistic Director of the Rainy City Gay Men's Chorus, which was then a chorus in Vancouver, sent me an unreleased CD of their previous Christmas show, made up totally of his compositions, and they included some very fun, and very queer material, like "A Date for Christmas" and "Homo for the Holidays."
City Gay Men's Chorus - A Date for Christmas (2002)
A chorus in Manchester, New Hampshire? Sure, they're celebrating their 12th anniversary this year and a track from "Nostalgic Holiday," their 2001 album, tells us "It Must Be the Holiday Season."
New Hampshire Gay Men's Chorus - It Must Be the Holiday Season (2001)
We're visiting Atlanta and Austin for the next two. The Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus included the song "Christmas Time Is Here" on its 1998 album "Carols, Revels and Holiday Cheer," and in 2000 the song "Still Still Still" could be found on a recording called "Northern Lights," by the Capital City Men's Chorus.
Gay Men's Chorus - Christmas Time Is Here (1998)
Up next is a beautiful song, written by John Bucchino, and sung by the Seattle Men's Chorus, called "Together." It's from their 2001 album "Joy" and after it is another by them, called "Home for the Holidays," this time from their 1995 CD "Holiday Concert, Captured Live."
Men's Chorus - Together (2001)
Turtle Creek Chorale - Jalapeno Chorus (1997)