Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Brooklyn

Throughout my childhood my stepfather, Tom Clack, ran a sound effects studio. Every Christmas that I can remember, our family have listened to a holiday mix tape made in 1980 by a guy, Doug DeFranco, who was Thomas's engineer. (Just yesterday, Thomas told me that Doug also scored the first-ever MTV bumper, with the spaceman -- if that's true, a super big deal!) They lost touch and I don't think I ever met him, which is a shame.

I love the 1980 Doug DeFranco Christmas Tape -- "Accept No Substitutes," the label on the original warned -- which was burned onto a CD years ago and which I have saved in my iTunes library. The songs on it are mostly classics, good classics but still, ones you probably don't need to hear again: Run Rudolph Run, Sinatra singing Jingle Bells, couple of Phil Spector Christmas tracks, "Blue Christmas (To Whom It May Concern)" by Miles Davis and Bob Dorough. I love it less for the songs than for the care he took in making it a perfect mix tape, before I knew what a mix tape even was. My sister and I know every note and sing phrases from each song to each other, the Beatles' Christmas record from 1967 featuring "Plenty of Jam Jars, Baby" being a particular favorite.

There's but one song on the comp that's excitingly rare -- "Merry Christmas From Brooklyn," by Emerson Bimby and the Cadman Kids. Cursory web searching reveals that Emerson Bimby is/was a name used by musician D.B. Fisher, but the origins of this song are not readily apparent; indeed, I don't have any info at all on it and I'd love to hear from anyone who does. ETA: I realize this might be a known song and I am just ignorant about it -- if so, tell me! It is included on DeFranco's tape along with a warm intro by DJ Vin Scelsa at WNEW, which I present also. My parents tell me that when I was three/four years old and I heard him describe the state the station's Alvin and the Chipmunks record was in, I would wail in anguish every time.

Anyway, this is for you, dear Christmas Day blog reader of mine. The quality isn't great, but I think you'll enjoy it anyway, and I hope love and fun-ness find you wherever you are.

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