Sunday, December 27, 2015

RCR Boxing Day Sale



BOXING DAY SALE

ROYAL CAT RECORDS

20% OFF USED VINYL

SATURDAY ONLY

DEC 26TH 

NOON TO 5PM

Saturday, December 26, 2015

25 Holiday Records: 1 : Christmas 1979 by Wild Billy Childish


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our last record is by a personal fave of Royal Cat and a special surprise:

#1

Christmas 1979
by Wild Billy Childish and the
     Musicians of the British Empire
Damaged Goods Records
DAMGOOD 296
2007

Billy Childish (Milkshakes, Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars) is a favourite of ours here at Royal Cat but we had no idea of this record's existence until we were given a copy as an early Christmas prezzy. Billy Childish is the keeper of the Garage Rock flame in the UK and this is a classic garage Xmas LP from that enchanted isle. We only saw Billy once, in Toronto with The Makers back in the mid-90s but he's been going strong since the late-70s.

It seems that no matter what incarnation of his band he is making music with, Childish always returns to the same basic heroes: Link Wray, The Sonics, The Who, and all of the great garage standards. Many of these are referenced on this record, with the tunes lifted from classic tracks, with new punk rock xmas lyrics pasted on top. They all rock. Some nice harmonies. Some nice feedback. Some nice spoken word intros. Perfect!

Merry F***ing Christmas To You All!

Tracklist:

Santa Claus
Christmas Lights
Knick Knack Paddywhack (Chuck It In The Bin)
Father Christmas Is Dressed In Green
A Poundland Christmas
A Quick One (Pete Townsend's Christmas)
Mistletoe
Dear Santa Claus
Comanche (Link Wray's Christmas)
Merry Christmas Fritz
Christmas Hell
Christmas 1979

Check it out:





Friday, December 25, 2015

25 Holiday Records: 2: If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our next record only has one Xmas song on it!

#2

If I Should Fall From Grace with God
by The Pogues
Rhino/Warner
1988/2015

So this is the Pogues record with "Fairytale of New York" on it. Not the only reason for buying the record, since it is one of the top 3 Pogues records and a classic of its type, but this is the reason the record is on this list. One of the least sentimental, least seasonal love songs/duets ever, it is still a work of beauty. Very punk, even if it is by a band specializing in a punk take on traditional Irish music. Here's the song!



25 Holiday Records: 3: Burl Ives Christmas Album


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

This next record is by a beloved childhood favourite!

#3

Burl Ives Christmas Album
by Burl Ives
Columbia ‎– CS 9728
1968

Burl Ives is a beloved childrens entertainer who also has a great track record as a serious folk musician and dramatic actor. He is kind of the white Leadbelly in the sense that he popularized many traditional folk tunes during the 1950s and 60s folk revival and made them palatable for a middle class white audience. Most of us know him from his kids records and his turn as the Snow Man narrator in the animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tv special. He sings some classic songs on that show, none of which are included on this record. In fact, this is not the Burl Ives record you should own. It is very traditional and ballad-y, sung in a gentle boring way that lacks any of the pep or inventiveness of many of Burl's performances. 

Tracklist
A1 It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
A2 Silent Night, Holy Night
A3 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
A4 O Holy Night
A5 Happy Birthday, Jesus (A Child's Prayer)
B1 Oh What A Lucky Boy Am I
B2 Jingle Bells
B3 Santa Mouse
B4 Ava Maria
B5 The Christmas Story
B6 Medley: Thy Rebuke; Behold




25 Holiday Records: 4 : Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our next record is one of the all-time great Xmas albums.

#4

A Christmas Gift for You
by Producer Phil Spector and Various Artists
Phil Spector records
originally released 1963

This classic features a collection of songs by the groups and proteges Phil Spector made famous. Classic songs given the Spector "wall-of-sound" touch that, for many of us, still resonate with a modern, big-city, soulful feeling. Check it out!

Tracklist:

TacklHide Credits
A1 –Darlene Love White Christmas
Written-By – Irving Berlin
A2 –The Ronettes Frosty The Snowman
Written-By – Walter Rollins*, Steve Nelson (4)
A3 –Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans The Bells Of St. Mary
Written-By – A. Emmett Adams, Douglas Furber
A4 –The Crystals Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Written-By – Haven Gillespie, J. Fred Coots
A5 –The Ronettes Sleigh Ride
Written-By – Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
A6 –Darlene Love Marshmallow World
Written-By – Carl Sigman, Peter De Rose
B1 –The Ronettes I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written-By – Tommie Connor
B2 –The Crystals Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Written-By – Johnny Marks
B3 –Darlene Love Winter Wonderland
Written-By – Dick Smith (3), Felix Bernard
B4 –The Crystals Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
Written-By – Léon Jessel
B5 –Darlene Love Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Written-By – Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector
B6 –Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans Here Comes Santa Claus
Written-By – Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
B7 –Phil Spector And Artists Silent Night
Written-By – Traditional





25 Holiday Records: 5: A Very She and Him Christmas



We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our next record is a modern easy listening classic.

#5

A Very She and Him Christmas
Merge Records
MRG424
2011/2015
green vinyl!

She and Him are the light rock/folk duo made up of Matthew Stephen Ward and Zooey Deschanel. He plays guitar and sings and she plays piano and ukulele and sings. It's very sweet and pleasant. They write a lot of their own music but this is a cover/classic album of Xmas tunes. Zooey has kind of become a Christmas icon since she starred in Elf as the department store employee who falls in love with the titular Will Ferrell character, famously singing a duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" in the shower. We like this record quite a bit. Chances are, if you hear one of these songs on the radio or a playlist this year, it will be their version.


Tracklist
The Christmas Waltz 2:37
Christmas Day 3:24
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 3:42
I'll Be Home For Christmas 2:26
Christmas Wish 2:58
Sleigh Ride 2:44
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree 2:00
Silver Bells 1:57
Baby, It's Cold Outside 2:17
Blue Christmas 3:24
Little Saint Nick 2:10
The Christmas Song 2:26


25 Holiday Records: 6: It's a Holiday Soul Party by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings



We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

This next one is fast becoming a new fave!

#6

It's a Holiday Soul Party
by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Dap-Tone 
2015

What a great couple of years Sharon Jones has had. She's gone from surviving cancer to filling stadiums and she's topped it off with this great Christmas record. We sold quite a few of these this year and it looks set to take on the status of a new modern classic. There's even a Hannukah song!

Tracklist
8 Days (Of Hannukah) 3:42
Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects 2:22
White Christmas 2:17
Just Another Christmas Song 3:08
Silent Night 4:16
Big Bulbs 2:56
Please Come Home For Christmas 2:58
Funky Little Drummer Boy 3:18
Silver Bells 3:19
World Of Love 3:19
God Rest Ye Merry Gents 2:17


Thursday, December 24, 2015

25 Christmas Records: 7: Rhythm & Blues Christmas (Ace Records)



We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Okay, we lied! This next record isn't on vinyl!

#7

Rhythmn & Blues Christmas
by "all your favourite stars"
Ace Records
DVCHM 1128
2006

We have been sticking to vinyl on this list but we special-ordered this disc and decided to keep a copy for ourselves. Perfect Xmas eve listening. Ace Records is the famous European label known for reissuing tons of rare rock records and 45s in cd form. Meticulously packaged and researched, all of their products are highly recommended. This Xmas compilation seems just made for us here at Royal Cat Records, with some great blues, RnB, and doowop from the likes of BB King, Lowell Fulsom, and a ton of people you may never have heard of (some are anonymous!)) but you will love it. Highlights? They are all great. Fun vocal novelties, great instrumentation, just perfect!

01
Christmas Celebration - B.B. King
02
Christmas - Smokey Wilson
03
Preview
Xmas Baby - Riff Ruffin
04
Merry Christmas Baby - Mari Jones & Johnny Moore Orch.
05
Christmas Bells - Bobby Nunn
06
Santa Claus Baby - The Voices
07
Christmas Time - The Debonaires
08
God Gave Us Christmas - Oscar McLollie & The Honey Jumpers
09
I Want You With Me Christmas - Jesse Belvin
10
I Wanna Spend Christmas With You Part 1 - Lowell Fulsom
11
I Wanna Spend Christmas With You Part 2 - Lowell Fulsom
12
Merry Xmas - Little Willie Littlefield
13
Gonna Have A Merry Xmas - The Nic Nacs
14
Crazy Santa Claus - The Debonaires
15
My Christmas Baby - Smokey Hogg
16
Christmas Blues - Sylvester Cotton
17
White/Hot Christmas - The Elves
18
Santa Claus Boogie - The Voices
19
Dig That Crazy Santa Claus - Oscar McLollie & The Honey Jumpers
20
White Christmas - Hadda Brooks


Various Artists (Fun Time) - Rhythm & Blues Christmas (MP3) - Ace Records

25 Holiday Records: 8: Light of the Stable by Emmylou Harris


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our next record is a gentle country classic!

#8

Light of the Stable
by Emmylou Harris
Warner Brothers Canada
XBS 3484
1980

This is a 1980 Canadian pressing of the 1979 classic by country superstar Emmylou Harris. Emmylou was famously the muse, musical collaborator and romantic ladyfriend of Gram Parson --their romance is legendary and second only to Johnny and June Carter Cash in the annals of western/americana lore. Everybody, especially country stars, does a Christmas record and Emmylou is no exception. She acquits herself well here, with several great performances.

This is a record with a lot of expensive guitars and other stringed instruments on it. Ricky Skaggs plays on several tracks. Lots of strings, pickin' and strummin'. Lots of mandolin. Most of the songs  are fairly conventional country interpretations of the seasonal subject matter. We don't think Emmylou wrote any of these herself, but she puts her own wonderful distinct warbling vocal spin on them. Several are very pretty. The best track is the title track that rounds out the record, with vocal assists from the amazing trio of Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Willie Nelson; three of the greatest voices in the genre. This is a quiet record, like it's buried under a blanket of snow.

Tracklist:

A1 Christmas Time's A-Coming
Autoharp – Brian Bowers (2)
Banjo, Mandolin – Ricky Skaggs
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Guitar [Arch-top] – Brian Ahern
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
Written-By – Tex Logan
2:45

A2 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Guitar [Gut String] – Brian Ahern
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
Mandolin, Violin – Ricky Skaggs
Written-By – Lewis H. Redner*, Phillips Brooks
3:39

A3 Away In A Manger
Arranged By – Jonathan E. Spillman*
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Guitar [Gut String] – Brian Ahern
Mandolin – Albert Lee
Vocals – Nancy Ahern
Written-By – Martin Luther (3)
2:35

A4 Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes)
Acoustic Guitar – Brian Ahern, Rodney Crowell
Bass – Mike Bowden
Clavinet – Tony Brown (4)
Drums – Mike Ware
Electric Guitar – Frank Reckard
Harmony Vocals – Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson
Mandolin – Ricky Skaggs
Pedal Steel Guitar – Hank Devito
Percussion – Brian Ahern
Written-By – Rodney Crowell
3:16

A5 The First Noel
Arranged By – B. Ahern*
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
2:36
B1 Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem
Autoharp – Brian Bowers (2)
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Harmony Vocals – Ricky Skaggs
Guitar [Arch-top] – Brian Ahern
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
Written-By – A. L. Phipps*
3:02

B2 Little Drummer Boy
Acoustic Guitar – Emmylou Harris
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Bass [Six String] – Brian Ahern
Clavinet – Tony Brown (4)
Drums – John Ware
Electric Guitar – Frank Reckard
Guitar [High Strung] – Rodney Crowell
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
Mandolin – Ricky Skaggs
Pedal Steel Guitar – Hank Devito
Percussion – Brian Ahern
Written-By – Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati, Katherine Davis*
4:00

B3 Golden Cradle
Arranged By – N. Ahern*
Guitar [Gut String] – Brian Ahern
Vocals – Nancy Ahern
Written-By – Traditional
2:04
B4 Silent Night
Acoustic Bass, Bass [Six String] – Brian Ahern
Acoustic Guitar – Emmylou Harris
Arranged By – Brian Ahern
Autoharp – Brian Bowers (2)
Harmony Vocals – Cheryl Warren, Sharon Hicks
Pedal Steel Guitar – Hank Devito
Violin, Guitar [Acoustic] – Ricky Skaggs
Written-By – Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr
3:32

B5 Light Of The Stable
Acoustic Guitar – Brian Ahern, Emmylou Harris
Bass – Emory Gordy, Jr.
Drums – John Ware
Electric Guitar – James Burton
Guitar [High Strung] – Rodney Crowell
Harmony Vocals – Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson
Pedal Steel Guitar – Hank Devito
Piano – Glen D. Hardin*
Written-By – Elizabeth Rhymer, Steven Rhymer
2:25

Check it out:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

25 Holiday Records: 9: Christmas with The Chippers



We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

This next one is another novelty oddball record, with a Canadian twist.

#9

Christmas with The Chippers
by Various Nameless Artists
Arc Records
AX-3
196-???

This is another beautiful "Canadian vernacular" design from the anonymous staffer at Scarborough's Arc Records, the Canadian discount company responsible for so many weird and wonderful records in the 1960s and 1970s. The cartoon artwork is pretty charming, the colours all work together and combine with the font for a very striking package. Of course "The Chippers" are a rip-off of The Chipmunks, that creation of David Seville aka Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., the producer, writer, and performer who first came up with the idea to make little comedy records with sped up voices. The Chipmunks are still going strong, with a new movie in theatres this week, but The Chippers are long-gone.

Arc put out at least two versions of this record, with different covers but the same songs. The songs here are classic Xmas fare, with orchestral and big band accompaniment and the cute Chipmunk-sounding voices singing along. As background music it could almost be ignored if not for those voices! And you know the kids are just going to play this over and over until we go crazy!!! We're not sure if this was actually produced and recorded in Canada or if it was a package that Arc bought from a U.S. outfit. No credits as usual with these things. Check out the youtube clip below for the actual music.

Tracklist
A1 Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer
A2 There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays
A3 Frosty The Snowman
A4 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
A5 Let It Snow
A6 White Christmas
A7 Jingle Bells
B1 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
B2 Winter Wonderland
B3 Sleighride
B4 Deck The Halls
B5 O Tannenbaum
B6 Good King Wenceslas
B7 Twelve Days Of Christmas




Monday, December 21, 2015

25 Holiday Records: 10: The Sounds of Christmas from Blacks




We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Another oddball cover hides a generic "greatest hits of xmas."

#10

The Sounds of Christmas from Black’s
by Various
CBS Special Products
1984

This was originally an almost generic product produced by CBS in 1979 and then licensed to various corporations as a give-away/promotion item. And so we have this piece of “Canadiana” featuring a perfectly 80s family cover with a camera front and centre because it’s for Black’s Photography stores. The grandma looks like Bea Arthur. The dad’s hair is very 80s. (Everybody’s hair is very 80s!). 

This is kind of what we think of when we think of Christmas records. A hodge-podge of styles and eras from all over the record company’s catalog. There is a little bit of organization to the album, though. The first side is more peppy, and both sides end with slower, more contemplative tracks. All the tracks are by a-listers, with the possible exception of John Schneider of Dukes of Hazard fame (he’s a king in our book!). The original version of this LP had a more Christmas card sleeve, but we will accept this version as being completely of its time.

Track List

Jingle Bells -Gladys Knight & the Pips
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer -Gene Autry
Happy Holidays -Percy Faith
Santa Claus is Coming to Town -Willie Nelson
Have Yourself a Merry Christmas -Doris Day
White Christmas -Jerry Vale
Ave Maria -Barbara Streisand
What Child is This? -Johnny Mathis
The First Noel -Andy Williams
O Little Town of Bethlehem -John Schneider
O Holy Night -Mahalia Jackson
Hallelulah Chorus -Temple Choir

Check out Andy Williams crooning with a choir to "The First Noel" :


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

25 Holiday Records: 11: Christmas Songs by Bad Religion


We're counting down to Christmas Day with a list of 25 records we have in the shop at Royal Cat Records! Why? Because vinyl rules!

Our next record is a modern punk rock Xmas tribute!

#11

Christmas Songs
by Bad Religion
Epitaph

Kudos to this band for tackling some VERY traditional yuletide carols on this record. We never really thought about it before, but the whole punk thing seems kind of at odds with tradition and history in a way. At least, that's how punk situated itself back in the 70s and early 80s. By the time Bad Religion got around to recording this, punk had become pretty mainstream, more of an "alternative lifestyle" than a transgressive art movement or DIY challenge to the status quo of the music industry. Formed in 1980, Bad Religion were part of that first wave of U.S. west coast punk, so nowadays they are something like the elder statesmen of the music. Their music hasn't changed much in all that time and they sort of represent to us what Jello Biafra once called the "fonzie punks" --those frozen in time punks who think the music should look and sound the same way, always.

That's not to say we can't appreciate what Bad Religion does. At Royal Cat we like to bob our heads along and slam dance to "traditional" punk just as much as the next old geezer. And why shouldn't practitioners of this lifestyle have holiday music to share with their kids while they wait for the tattooed and pierced Punk Santa Claus to shred down the chimney on his skateboard? So it only makes sense that even crusty old punkers should have an xmas record like this for themselves. For many years, most of the punkers we knew were so anti-establishment that they wouldn't even admit to liking the holidays one little bit. If you pressed them, they would maybe admit that The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" or Miles Davis' "Blue Xmas" or The Fall's "No Xmas for John Keys" or some other songs about drunks and junkies and capitalism were the only Christmas songs they liked. Now we have this, which is just as bland and background-y as most other offerings of the genre.

So why did this get made? No big deal, the band was just nostalgic for Christmas and thought they could sell some units. According to The Village Voice, lead singer Greg Graffin is a former choirboy: "I remember fun singing events," Graffin says of his childhood performances. "It wasn't about a religious feeling or celebrating a sacred time. It was just really fun performing these songs."

It's a pretty boring record. Inoffensive. All the songs sound the same. Most of them are actually religious. Two have angels in the title and several mention Jesus. They sound very earnest! The presentation is pretty straight-ahead super-fast punk. The band just blows through these, like a cartoonish marching band on speed. But the whole thing is kind of awkward. The machine-gun drums only make sense on "Little Drummer Boy," for instance. The boys do some nice "ah"-ing backing vocals on "What Child is This" and a couple of others. There are some lame guitar solos. Mostly by-the-numbers, highly-polished run throughs (the band is tight). The only standout is the band's original composition, "American Jesus," which is kind of a political, anti-consumerist rant.

Track List:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
White Christmas
Little Drummer Boy
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
What Child Is This?
Angels We Have Heard On High
American Jesus (Andy Wallace Mix)

We've got it on vinyl in the shop!


Check it out: