Going Inside the Christmas Tree (Henry and Oliver Loerwald & Bunky Markert)

We have begun a Christmas tradition with my nephews, Henry and Oliver Loerwald, ages 7 and 5 (Josh’s kids) where we write and record a Christmas song to keep them occupied while the parents wrap presents.  It is a song written by committee which we did last year.  I wrote the lyrics out only to discover that Oliver can’t read yet, let alone decipher my scribbly handwriting.  Josh added a cowboy piano part to round it out. 

 

Cool Yule (Jeff Barrett)

I think the first recorded version of this tune was by Louie Armstrong, or, at least, when you listen to his recording, it’s hard to imagine anything sounding older. This is sort-of my attempt to mimic the “Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks” cover.  The vocal line is out of my range, but I couldn’t figure out how to use the “Transpose” key on my Yamaha. I can only play in the key of C; the good news is that, should I ever decided to sell my piano, I can honestly tell any potential buyer that the black keys have never been touched.   

 

I Believe in Father Christmas (Alex “One-Take” Koleszar & Bunky Markert) 

This is an old Greg Lake song from the mid-70s that I’ve always enjoyed. Lake recorded two versions—a simple acoustic take, reflected here, and a totally 70s bombastic version, complete with a choir and orchestra (the video features desert warfare, but with a happy ending). I always thought of this song as a rant against the materialism of Christmas, which may be why I like it so much. Bunky’s arrangement and playing are lovely. Thanks to him and to DCB for coming in on a Saturday to capture my vocal stylings. (The fact that I no long put quote marks around One-Take should tell you that, once again, I did it in one take.) Bunky Markert—guitar, arrangement; Alex One-Take Koleszar—vocals;  DCB—engineering

 

Blue Holiday (Steve Hurtt)

We did not want to miss the opportunity this year to assemble the GNO crew to perform a Christmas tune for the CD.  Jeff suggested three selections from a Charles Brown Christmas CD, which we recorded with varying success.  This one held the most promise, and maybe the others can be resurrected in the future.  Steve is at his best with ballads as well as fun tunes, and you can be blue right along with him on this one.  We have Neil on keyboards, Jeff on key bass, Al on drums, and me on guitar duties.   Al is our go-to guy for anything.  He plays guitar pretty good too.   It was good to be together for this. 

 

Once in Pluto's City (trad., arranged by P., G. and O. Corsini – The Corsini Brothers)
Once in Royal David's City, same as it ever was, only not exactly.  David Seachrist, vocals and guitar, David Maxwell, electronic wig-jibbery and backing vocals, Greg Thomas and John Burnell, backing vocals.

 

Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight (The Krackerjacks)

This holiday season, the power trio Krackerjacks decided to cover the Ramones' holiday classic, "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)". Side Byrne, el supremo producer and Krackerjack member, wielded his stern baton to clear the cobwebs from the Jacks, who took a couple of years off for rehab and community service duties. Side, ever the model of clean and righteous living, was in fine shape to prepare all programming to have the preproduction ready for Kick's vocals.  Side did his incredible meticulous job of background vocals to keep the track rocking and Curtis came in with a sloppy molasses of garage metal  to bring it back down to earth like Santa delivering goodies on Christmas Eve.  Enjoy, and GABBA GABBA Xmas, fellow pinheads!  Since tackling this vocal, Kick wants it made clear that she has found a brand new appreciation for Joey Ramone's incredible talent.  As we all agree, he was one of the greatest singers in rock and roll history!

 

I'll Be Home For Christmas (Emily Burnell Petrou with the ESME Singers)
This was the perfect song for my group of expat choir friends and myself to sing when we are all so far from family during the holidays. I'm sure you can hear the longing in our voices...although I have a feeling that most of us would agree that Germany is pretty much the best place to be for Christmas with the snowy Alps in the background while we sip Glühwein and nibble roasted chestnuts at our beloved picturesque Christmas markets!

 

Christmas In Jail Again / Ain’t That A Pain (Steve Hurtt & Bunky Markert)

This is an old timey blues song I found on a compilation by Leroy Carr, from 1929.  I thought it would be fun to do and Steve readily agreed.  It was time for the Bluesmessiah to return to his roots, and I’m playing nylon and steel string guitars.  From what I can figure, it is a 16 ½ bar blues progression. 

 

Once in Royal David's City (trad., arranged Corsini Brothers – The Corsini Brothers) 
This is actually a lovely, earnest holiday carol.  But after a few beers and some shots of authentic Italian Lemoncillo, somehow it turned into ditty about The Virgin Mary bearing a baby groundhog.  Listen, and weep for the sins of your fellow man. Corsini Brothers: Pluto, Oskar, Gomez and Odysseus, stringed instruments, pig whistle and vocals.

 

Caritas Patiens Est (Love is Patient) (Emily Burnell Petrou with the ESME Singers)
This beautiful song was written by a member of my English speaking choir in Munich, a Thai native, Cambridge educated biochemist named Tar Viturawong. He wrote it at the tender age of 19 when he was in love for the first time, and he conducted us for the world premiere at the Gasteig cultural center in the heart of Munich for our Christmas concert this year.

 

A Claus Crisis (Josh Loerwald)

This song was originally going to be about going to K-Mart and having all the weird pink flying pig angels, roller skating reindeer, etc. coming to life and having gang wars. I got nowhere with that one, so it turned into Santa having a mid-life crisis of sorts and leaving the North Pole for an atoll. My sons Henry and Oliver helped with clapping, synth tweaking and random panning. Everything else is me.

 

Christmas Bells (Yolanda Perdomo)

I looked for Christmas poems, in English and Spanish, and most were tied into familiar songs or prayers. I came across this one because it just reminded me of the times we live in.  

 

The Man with the Bag (Jeff Barrett)

I recall hearing this when I was a kid, I think it was Kay Starr who did the original version of it. I had forgotten about it until I heard it again recently on a Jane Monheit album. My very patient and forgiving son, Kevin, helped me with the production and recording of vocals. I’m getting too old for this sort of jaunty tune. It took me five takes and six pairs of underpants.

 

Wonderful Christmastime (Mandi Michael & Kevin Barrett)

Kevin and his friend Mandi like to write music together, and they usually work on their songs in our studio. This is a cover of the Paul McCartney classic, with a new arrangement. Kevin and Mandi are on the vocals, and Kevin did the guitar work and production.

 

O Christmas Tree (Carlos Bindert)

For Carlos, it's a new holiday song that's now part of his Christmas piano book. He plays Christmas songs all year long. In July, the only way we can get him to practice is to let him do some Christmas songs. It reminds him of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." So from our family to yours, happy holidays, peace on earth and good will toward...everyone!

 

Kris Wrinkles

Kaffee Klatsch Kristmas 2012

Going Inside the Christmas Tree - (Henry and Oliver Loerwald &  Bunky Markert)

Cool Yule - Jeff Barrett

I Believe in Father Christmas - Alex "One-Take" Koleszar & Bunky Markert 

Blue Holiday - Bluesmessiah (Steve Hurtt)

Once in Pluto's City (trad., arranged by P., G. and O. Corsini) - The Corsini Brothers

Merry Christmas, I Don't Want To Fight Tonight - The Krackerjacks

I'll Be Home For Christmas - Emily Burnell Petrou with the ESME Singers

Christmas In Jail Again / Ain't That A Pain - Bluesmessiah (Steve Hurtt) & Bunky Markert

Once in Royal David's City (trad., arranged Corsini Brothers) - The Corsini Brothers

10 Caritas Patiens Est (Love is Patient) -  Emily Burnell Petrou with the ESME Singers

11 A Claus Crisis - Josh Loerwald

12 Christmas Bells - Yolanda Perdomo

13 The Man with the Bag - Jeff Barrett

14 Wonderful Christmastime - Mandi Michael & Kevin Barrett

15 O Christmas Tree - Carlos Bindert

Website by Jeff Barrett

CD Cover by Emily Petrou