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It’s Xmas All Over Again

10 Dec

Every year without fail, someone who receives my annual Very Marty Xmas mix says to me, “Hey, where’s [fill in the blank]?”

That blank can be filled by your choice of Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” or Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” or any other favorite tune.

And the simple answer is always that all those classics had already appeared on my mix, back in 2000 or 2001.

In 2005, I toyed with the idea of creating a “best of the box” mix of my favorite tunes, ones that had previously appeared on my mixes, but this year I actually compiled one. Continue reading

Sure Does Feel Like Xmas Time

10 Dec

As the great John Lennon once sang, “And so this is Christmas.” At long last — and ahead of schedule — here is the track listing for A Very Marty Xmas 2007. I spent a bit of time revisiting my older mixes this year, and after re-listening to last year’s mix, I decided to err on the side of festivity and jolly-tude when deciding what to include on the ’07 edition. As a result, some folks (like Harry Connick Jr.) had to take a year off. But I think this is a mix that will definitely stand the test of time, just like 2004 and 2005’s have. And I love some of the new stuff I discovered, like Mindy Smith’s “Santa Will Find You,” a hopeful tune that’ll appeal to kids of all ages. And of course, how great is this live version of Darlene Love doing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on The Late Show with David Letterman? So anyway, without further ado, here we go:

KT Tunstall — Sleigh Ride
Kay Starr — (Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man with the Bag
Johnny Mercer with the Pied Pipers — Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (Q-Burns Abstract Message Remix)
The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl — Fairytale of New York
Hello Saferide — iPod Xmas
Pearl Jam — Someday at Christmas
Peggy Lee — Happy Holiday
Darlene Love — Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (live on The Late Show with David Letterman)
Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters — White Christmas
Colbie Caillat — Mistletoe
Carnie and Wendy Wilson — Hey Santa
Mindy Smith — Santa Will Find You
Guster — Donde Esta Santa Claus?
Eels — Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
Bon Jovi — I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas
Heritage Hall Jazz Band with Gregg Stafford — Silver Bells
The Chipmunks (with David Seville) — We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The LeeVees — How Do You Spell Chunnukkahh?
James Taylor — Jingle Bells
Brian Wilson — Deck the Halls
Mighty Mighty Bosstones — Xmas Time (It Sure Doesn’t Feel Like It)
Teddy Geiger — All I Want for Christmas Is You
Fiona Apple — Frosty the Snowman
Rufus Wainwright — What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Good stuff. Copies are still on their way to some of my readers, but if you’d like to compile your own copy of this mix, most of these tracks can be found by going to the Hype Machine. And don’t you fret: I still have hundreds more tracks in my collection that have yet to appear on a mix, so yes, Virginia, there will be a Very Marty Xmas 2008. Stay tuned. Until then, happy holidays everybody!

Xmas Is Coming

8 Dec

On Monday you’ll find out what’s on this year’s A Very Marty Xmas CD. Ooooh, I can’t wait to share it with y’all. But until then, I’m still trying to figure out if it’s possible to copy a CD on a Mac without using iTunes. But that’s my problem, not yours (unless, of course, you have a solution for me and then I’d be more than happy to hear it). Thanks!

It’s Done. Already.

2 Dec

In one week you will know what made the cut for A Very Marty Xmas 2007. For now, I just thought I’d hype up the mix a little. I’m real happy with the finished product and can’t wait for you all to hear it. Now, if only I could figure out how to make multiple copies on my Mac without using iTunes. Anybody know?

In the Spirit

28 Nov

Perhaps the best thing about Thanksgiving coming so early this year is that it means the Christmas season is that much longer. And how much fun is it to walk into stores and see so much activity and color, and hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (one of my all-time favorite holiday tunes) or other songs on the radio, and just generally see people in good moods? It happens every year at this time and it’s so brief that I enjoy it that much more.

Of course, the other benefit to the longer season is that it gives me more time to work on A Very Marty Xmas 2007, which, believe it or not, is just about finished (yes, already). In hindsight, last year’s mix wasn’t the most festive-sounding one, so I’m going more old school this year with an emphasis on jolly-ness. I don’t want to ruin any surprises about the CD’s contents, but I thought I would post briefly about my brand new favorite tune, which ironically (given what I’ve just written) is the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.” Yes, I know this is not a new song (Todd actually tried to get me into it two years ago), but it’s one I’ve really only discovered in the past couple weeks, thanks largely to KT Tunstall’s great cover on her new holiday CD (available exclusively at Target). This is not the happiest of holiday tunes, and the lyrics most definitely aren’t the most festive (“Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it’s our last”), but believe me when I say that this is one classic that deserves to be heard. Kirsty MacColl’s voice and the Irish melody are just beautiful, and they disguise such a sad song with a whimsical sound. If you’re having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit, click here and listen for yourself.


30 Oct

Happy Halloween, y’all! Do you know why this day is important? Because starting tomorrow, I am in full-on compilation mode for this year’s edition of A Very Marty Christmas. That’s right, kids: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the offices of Martin’s Musings. I can’t believe it’s less than two months away. Talk about scary! But for now, go out and eat all the candy you want and enjoy your Halloween.

And So This Is Xmas …

19 Dec

I knew after last year’s mix that A Very Marty Xmas 2006 had some pretty high expectations to live up to. Well, now that all the songs have been selected, the hard decisions have been made, the CDs have been burned, and the mix has been sent out and received, I thought I’d share for those of you lurkers out there what ended up on the mix. I think my seventh collection — that’s right, my seventh — is another winner, filled with classics both old and new, some oddities, the requisite jolly-ness, and even a pro-Hanukkah song thrown in for good measure. And of course, there are some surprises between the songs that are not listed. So without further ado, here’s the track listing:

The Killers — “A Great Big Sled”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — “Party for Santa”
Jimmy Buffett — “Christmas Island”
The Echelons — “Christmas Long Ago (Jingle, Jangle)”
The Ronettes — “Frosty the Snowman”
Darlene Love — “White Christmas”
Elliott Yamin — “This Christmas”
The Fray — “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Barenaked Ladies with Michael Bublé — “Elf’s Lament”
Sufjan Stevens — “Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!”
Cyndi Lauper and Frank Sinatra — “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
The Pussycat Dolls — “Santa Baby”
Diana Krall — “Let It Snow”
James Taylor — “The Christmas Song”
Kelly Clarkson — “My Grown Up Christmas List”
Harry Connick Jr. — “Blue Christmas”
Sarah McLachlan — “River”
Aimee Mann — “Calling on Mary”
The LeeVees — “Goyim Friends”
The Chipmunks (with David Seville) — “Hang Up Your Stockin’”
Papa Don Vappie’s New Orleans Jazz Band — “Please Come Home for Christmas”
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and the New Orleans All-Stars — “Oh Holy Night” (from Studio 60)

If you’d like to compile your own version of A Very Marty Xmas 2006, nearly all those songs can be found on iTunes, or various music blogs (like or PodBop). The Studio 60 track can be found here.

Considering at one point I had enough songs to compile a double CD, you can be sure there will be a A Very Marty Xmas 2007 one year from now. Stay tuned … and of course, happy holidays!

Too Much Cheer?

7 Dec

Compilation of A Very Marty Xmas 2006 is now in full swing. I dipped into the “unusued holiday music” folder on my computer last night and found more than 200 tracks (!!!), so there is a lot to choose from — not to mention the new stuff I’m discovering this year. For example, this morning I found an MP3 of Elliot Yamin, my guy from American Idol, covering Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas, which is one my all-time favorite holiday songs. The Killers have a great new holiday song this year. And then there’s The Daily .Wav, which keeps putting up quick clips from the holiday episodes of old tv shows, and blogs like, which are counting down to the holiday with new tracks every day. Plus, I’ve already got Jamie Cullum singing “Let It Snow.” So I’ve got a conundrum this year in terms of narrowing down all my available options. Which of Harry Connick Jr.’s tracks will make the cut? (Right now I’m leaning toward “Blue Christmas.”) And do I include Diana Krall’s “Christmas Time Is Here” or “The Christmas Song” … or her version of “Let It Snow?” Do any of Jimmy Buffett’s songs go on the mix, and do I even bother opening Regis Philbin’s holiday CD, which I purchased in the bargain bin after last year’s Christmas, or uploading the others I’ve acquired this year (like Aimee Mann and Sufjan Stevens’ CDs)? I forgot how much work went into making this mix, and while I always like when a project like this keeps me busy, this year’s mix is proving to be a real challenge already.

Christmas Is Coming

27 Nov

Thanksgiving: a weekend that is simultaneously too short and too long. How is that possible?

But anyway, now that we’re over that hump, we can start the countdown to Christmas. I’ve begun the season by finding an MP3 of Jamie Cullum singing “Let It Snow” (thanks to You can bet that it will be on A Very Marty Xmas 2006. And this past weekend I purchased both Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas and Aimee Mann’s One More Drifter in the Snow. Songs from both albums will definitely make it onto my CD as well. I know I have a hard act to follow after last year’s mix, but I’m feeling up to the challenge, and looking forward to choosing songs.

Got any suggestions, or know of songs I’ve missed in year’s past? You can assume my mixes have already dipped into the classics; last year I wrote about a “best of the box” mix that would probably include most of the obvious candidates. So what else should I know about? I’m open to ideas.

And for the record, I will not be changing the name of my mix to A Very Marty Holiday. Unlike the city of Boston, I know what should be called a “Christmas” symbol and what should be a more generic “holiday” symbol. I can’t believe that after last year’s brouhaha, it seems the whole thing is about to start up all over again. It’s just silly, if you ask me.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like …

10 Jul

It may only be July 10, but to me, it’s the first day of the holiday season. Why? Because I received my first four (unsolicited) holiday CDs in the mail at work today. Nothing earth shattering — they’re last year’s releases — but what do I care? They’re new to me and I’m more than happy to get the ball rolling on the new A Very Marty Xmas CD. Now the hard part is deciding which of the tracks — if any — on Hanukkah Swings! and SantaMental will make it. (Not sure I’ll use the other two albums. I may even give them away.) Tough choices indeed. Last year’s mix set the bar so high that I need to start now if I’m going to top it this winter.