The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

12 Discs of Christmas 2011 #10


Mike O'Neill - Frosty the Gold Rush (from The 2011 Zunior Holiday Blender; 2011)

The trend of creating mashups seems to have come and gone like the feature film career of Craig Wasson, although you could trace its roots back to the 1970s and the beloved panel game One Song to the Tune of Another, on the BBC's long-running radio show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

In that spirit comes a new Canadian Christmas compilation, The 2011 Zunior Holiday Blender, with Canuck indie acts doing familiar holiday tunes in the style of perennial favourites from the Great White North. So you get The Violet Archers singing Good King Wenceslas to the melody of Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Dog Is Blue grafting the Flaming Lips' surreal Christmas at the Zoo lyrics onto the robust Stan Rogers shanty Barrett's Privateers.

I've settled on former Inbreds member Mike O'Neill's Neil Young impression on Frosty the Gold Rush, in which he eerily warbles the tale of how a snowman came to life one day. You can hear a sample of the track here or go to the Zunior link and hear bits of the whole thing and maybe even download the compilation (all proceeds go to Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank). It's what St. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia would do.

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