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Novelty Music Wires 11-28-02

The San Diego Reader Blurt
"I haven't heard a new novelty Christmas song since 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,' " says local producer/performer Steve Vaus. Vaus has just released Carols by Campfire, an 11-song collection on his own Prairie Dog label performed by his singing cowboy alter ego Buck Howdy.

"Cowpies for Christmas" gives an account of what Santa can give to naughty kids.

Santa doesn't like it when kids disobey/ And he's got something to tell 'em in a very stinky way.... And it only gets worse.

Vaus created the theme song for the Blue Angels and the fight song for Dennis Connor's America's Cup team. Vaus was signed to RCA Records in 1992, which released the reactionary album We Must Take America Back.

"It was a little too political for some people. We advocated prayers in schools."

In 1989 he produced the first of a six-album series called The Stars Come Out for Christmas, which benefited Children's Hospital.

Vaus says the children's music market is "a hard market to break through. Radio Disney [heard locally on 1240 AM] refuses to air stuff that is geared for kids. They would rather focus on [Top 40] hits geared for teens. Radio Disney and [cable TV's] Nickelodeon is shoving inappropriate material down kids' throats. Britney Spears, 'N Sync, and Destiny's Child was never intended to be little kids' music. Now you have six- and seven-year-old girls dressed as Britney with belly button-baring sequined outfits."

And a song about yuletide dung is better?

"Any kid who has lived in the country had to sidestep a cow pie. Cow pies are a part of life if you grew up in the country.... Buck's music is sophisticated enough for parents and not condescending to kids."

Come Christmas morning if you have been bad/ You'll get the ickiest, smelliest, runniest, yuckiest surprise you've ever had.

Perhaps sophisticated in the yuckiest way.

Buck Howdy appears in the Carols by Candlelight concert December 5 and 6 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Also appearing are America, Jamie O'Neal, Suzy Bogguss, Kim Carnes, Stephen Bishop, Radney Foster, and Eve Selis. Admission is $19.50 and $36.50. Carols by Campfire is available through Amazon.com.

-- Ken Leighton

D.T.'s Reply:

Re: Blurt 11-27-02 "I haven't heard a new novelty Christmas song since 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,' " says local producer/performer Steve Vaus. Vaus has just released Carols by Campfire, an 11-song collection on his own Prairie Dog label performed by his singing cowboy alter ego Buck Howdy.

I'm not sure if Steve Vaus has been shopping at Tower Records and the Internet where he could find a few novelty Christmas albums each year instead of depending on commercial radio and Wal Mart which prefers to push only whatever sounds contemporary and mainstream.

Steve, check out my Holiday Comedy CDs webpage http://www.davesfunstuff.com/3090.htm where I have documented all kinds of novelty Christmas and Holiday songs that have been produced since "Grandma Got Run Over" back in 1979. For example, there are singing cats, dogs, frogs, and other animals with whole albums dedicated to them.

Two of my favorite new Christmas CDs are "Cledus Navidad" by country comedian Cledus T. Judd, and the fifth comedy and novelty holiday CD by Bob Rivers "White Trash Christmas" doing a knockoff of the Bing Crosby album art. I also reccomend American Comedy Network's "Christmas Comedy Vol 1".

Other recent comedy holiday albums include "I Saw Hanukkah Harry Beat Up Santa", "Hampsterdance Christmas", "Merry Christmas from the Space-Age", "Kazoo Christmas", Woody Phillips' "A Toolbox Christmas", Slim Spincter's "Christmas Gas", "Christmas Comedy Classics" vols 1 and 2, "Bah! Humbug!", "Sleighed: The Other Side Of Christmas", Ren & Stimpy's "Crock O' Christmas," and Dr. Demento Presents "The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time" and "Holidays in Dementia".

As for novelty alternative rock style, "Just Can't Get Enough-New Wave Christmas" features some novelty tunes you heard on 91X as well as "Punk Rock Xmas", and "The Edge Of Christmas" has the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" among the other holiday novelty gems.

And there are more of the single-act holiday albums such as The Arrogant Worms' hard to find album "Christmas Turkey", Asylum Street Spankers' "A Christmas Spanking" with a cool jazzy country style band, Bob and Tom, John Boy and Billy, Del Rubio Triplets (only one of which is still with us), Dr. Elmo (of Elmo and Patsy fame), Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Christmas Album", Ray Stevens' "Through a Different Window", Radio Disney (has the Macarena Christmas song to remind you of an old fad from the past), South Park's "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics", even a transvestite RuPaul put out a Christmas CD titled for some reason you can figure out, "Ho Ho Ho!" And yes, even our other SD native, Mojo Nixon, put out a holiday album "Horny Holidays!"

And finally, there are singers that put out about one or two novelty songs on their regular albums such as Weird Al Yankovic (Christmas at Ground Zero and The Night Santa Went Crazy), Jeff Foxworthy (Redneck 12 Days of Christmas), the aformentioned Bob Rivers Comedy Corp., Bob and Doug McKenzie's own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas (from SCTV fame), Bill Mumy (Lost in Space) plays a delicious guitar licking while Sarah Taylor sings to "Presents For Santa", and of course, Adam Sandler's third Hanukkah song in nine years.

I think Clear Channel could have done better than turning KOOL 95.7 into a contemporary Christmas radio station playing relaxing holiday songs that put you to sleep. How about an all comedy holiday radio station? Well, I created one. Just go to http://dfsx.netfirms.com and you can listen to over eight crazy decades of holiday fun on the Internet powered by live365 dot com! Maybe our #1 morning radio show team, Jeff and Jer, will play some of these on their show during the next four weeks.

Anyway, that's my contribution to the knowledge pool of music designed to help the people get through the stressful holiday weeks by making them laugh it all away. Good luck, Vaus, with your new novelty album. Happy holidays.

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