Sunday, December 26, 2010
ZE Records keeps on giving
I will concede that Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift to You is probably a more important Christmas album in terms of overall cultural significance, but for my listening enjoyment, I still give top marks to ZE Records' 1981 classic A Christmas Record. Over the years, the FESTIVE! staff has interviewed Chris Butler of the Waitresses, Was (Not Was), James Chance, and Cristina, about their involvement in this masterpiece, and it never ceases to bring me joy.*
In 2004, the revamped ZE Records issued a new version, which includes all the original tracks, bolstered with some more recent recordings. Lucky you, you can download the Christmas album for FREE until December 31 with the purchase of any other title in the ZE digital store. For novices, I recommend starting with the first two volumes of the Mutant Disco series (the third and fourth ones start getting into esoteric rarities and remixes, although Don Armando's cover of Irving Berlin's not-so-PC "I'm An Indian Too" is damn priceless). Otherwise, this is a great chance to snap up Sleep It Off or the excellent Lizzy Mercier Descloux career-spanning anthology Best Off and receive a swell "value add" to boot.
* On a weird, related note: One of my favorite cuts on A Christmas Record is "It's A Big Country," by Davitt Sigerson. Mr. Sigerson only made two albums for ZE, and has since gone on to become a novelist. Imagine my surprise, then, while watching the credits of It's A Very, Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and seeing that the film's sole original, "Everyone Matters," is a co-write by Top 40 vet Desmond Child and... Davitt Sigerson. Nice to see he's still got the holiday spirit.