I didn’t used to be a Scrooge. When I was a little kid–like most little kids, I’d wager–I was delighted when the calender finally reached the point when it was acceptable to pull the well-worn Christmas albums out of storage and start playing them non-stop. I’m sure it’s some sort of karmic balance for all the Chipmunks songs with which I unwittingly persecuted the adults in my household that I now find the endless barrage of chipper or sentimental yuletide cheer piped in over store sound systems to be like claws raked against the inside of my brain. Consequently, it’s the rarest of Christmas songs that takes up residence in my iTunes and actually manages to survive my periodic purges. Grandaddy’s “Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland” is one of those songs.
I also often get bored of more comedic songs, but the gag of Grandaddy’s track, built right into the title, is beautifully inspired. A digitally delicate rendering of the classic holiday song penned by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith, the lyrics are tweaked just enough to transform it into a tale revolving around the prog rock pioneer and British recording legend. Now it’s the studio lights that are glistening and the snowman built in a meadow becomes Alan Parsons instead of Parson Brown, inquiring about opinions of his new band rather than marital status. The whole track is silly, charming and surprisingly warm, the indie rock equivalent of a song that makes a person want to curl up in front of the fire with warm cocoa. Or a mochachino, I suppose.
Every once in a while, I can trade in “Humbug” for “Ho Ho Ho.”
Listen or download–>
Granddaddy, “Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland” (this track has been removed)
(Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, the only place this track ever appeared was the 2000 compilation It’s a Cool, Cool Christmas, issued by Britain’s Xfm radio and Jeepster Records. It appears to be out of print and not available digitally, so I assume that sharing this track deprives no one of fiscal compensation that may have been earned through another route of acquisition. Besides, the album was a charitable endeavor, so anyone feeling guilty about this song being freely distributed in this space–and “anyone” includes me–should thinking about making a donation to the track’s original beneficiary, The Big Issue Foundation or, even better, a more local organization dealing with issues of homelessness. This would also be a good weekend to go out and support your favorite local, independently-owned record store. CDs fit snugly into stockings, and there’s always room for a couple more vinyl albums or 7-inch singles under the tree. The big box store doesn’t need your support. They’re doing fine. The proprietor of the local record store does.)