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American Song-Poem Christmas CD

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, October 7, 2003
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$118.37 $106.12

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

18 would-be Christmas classics, including Evelyn Christmas Gene Marshall; Santa Came on a Nuclear Missile Heather Noel; Christmas Time Philosophy Norris the Troubador, and more.

Amazon.com

What do you get that obsessive music geek with the record collection that threatens to overrun the house for the holidays? American Song-Poem Christmas, of course--even if he or she collects song-poem recordings, there’s no way he or she has all of these 21 songs. "Song-poems," of course, are rare, privately-pressed records that were sort of a scam in their 1970s heyday--companies lured people to send in lyrics and cash to record "hits" and what the would-be Lennon-and-McCartneys got in return was a few copies of a song composed and arranged off-the-cuff to the poems they’d mailed in. The best of the songs on this collection--"Santa Came On A Nuclear Missile," "The Rocking Disco Santa Claus," "Evelyn Christmas," "Maury, The Christmas Mouse" and "Randy, The Lil’ Elf" among them--are accidental art with the same outsider charm one finds in Jim Shaw’s Thrift Store Paintings project. The songs on this record have incredibly awkward rhyme schemes and sound like some sort of alien karaoke beamed from the past--but in a good way! Once you start, it’s very hard to stop listening to American Song-Poem Christmas, one of the most interesting, and bizarrely uplifting, holiday albums ever collected. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Bar/None Records
  • ASIN: B0000AYLIO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Re-re-releases of the same old Holiday strains re-re-recorded by the new voices of today's artists will not be heard on this album. In fact, the majority of these particular voices have never been heard on a commercial release, ever. Yet, that's exactly what is so unique about the "American Song-Poem Christmas."
This is not so much an attempt to laugh at ineptitude, either. Certainly, there are many flaws to be heard, carrying the album far, far away from the Lost Lands of Mediocrity. Yet, these are the words and voices of our neighbors. Perhaps, if I dare say so... perhaps even ourselves?
Everybody's got a Christmas song to sing. These people actually went out and did something about it, and leave their legacy for the rest of the world, thanks to this album.
While not as ground-breaking as the "American Song-Poem Anthology" album released shortly before this compilation, it is an essential piece to be owned by admirers of the outsider music sub-genre. Traditionalists, on the other hand, will want to pass over this disc, for Frosty the Snowman has long since melted away and Rudolph's nose has been extinguished in the realm of the American Song-Poem Christmas.
And for many of us looking for a variety of Christmas spirit that comes not from mass-produced, sanitized recording studios, but from the heart of folks just like us... that's not nearly as bleak a concept as it sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
Ok, that other review? Possibly honest and to the point, but one star??? No way, dude. This album is worth every penny. Perhaps I live in the land of Dork, but dang it if Santa Came in on a Nuclear Missile doesn't crack me up every time. For those of you who want to wretch every time you go shopping from Thanksgiving until Christmas, this album will put you back on food. I call it "My Christmas Antidote." The title track is the absolute best!
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What is a "song poem"? Back in the day, ads were run in magazines, comic books and tabloid newspapers requesting people to send in their "poems or song lyrics". People who responded to the ad would receive a letter saying that their lyrics had the potential to be turned into a hit record, but the record company needed a few hundred dollars from the songwriter to produce the record. This was all a big scam, of course. Anyone who sent in the money would have their song quickly and cheaply recorded, and they would be sent a few copies of the song on a record. Unsurprisingly, no song poems ever actually became hits. But years later, record collectors discovered old song poems, and they managed to become cult favorites. This particular CD collects song poems about Christmas (or New Year's or winter). These are pretty weird songs. Songs about Santa Claus riding on a nuclear missile or a flying saucer. And other Christmasy things almost as strange as that. But the oddball nature of these songs is what makes them charming (to some people). I like them, but I won't be surprised if you don't.
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Format: Audio CD
Welcome to the wonderful world of "outsider" music. In this case, the outsiders are everyday, ordinary folks who display an everyday, ordinary lack of ability on 21 Christmas "song-poems," assembled here for would-be sophisticates to snicker at. The lounge musicians who play on these tracks are perfectly competent but, as often as not, are unable to maintain a steady beat (these are very rushed productions). And the singers, as often as not, are unable to stay on pitch. Idiotic lyrics, under-rehearsed performances--what could be more cool?
What it is, is tedious. In spite of all the pretentious claims to the contrary in the CD's liner essay, there is nothing special about ineptitude. Far from being an area of art, "bad" is simply what art is when it isn't any good. To make matters more boring, these "30 or 40 year-old vinyl sides" (song-poem punctuation?) are utterly derivative. We encounter the 1950's outer-space Santa theme, the grossly overused North-Pole-underdog motif, the Santa-doing-the-latest-dance-craze bit, and so on. "Campy Christmas pop song conventions rehashed by untalented song-poets and carelessly joined to hack tunes" would have been a more honest title for this CD. But that doesn't sound nearly as cool, does it? If you're dying to appear clever, get this one. Otherwise, save your money.
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