Rocking around the Christmas tree

The Waitresses
The Waitresses

John Murray on some ‘alternative’ festive tunes

I have always been attracted to the alternative Christmas songs ever since The Waitresses single Christmas Wrapping started with the lyrics ‘Bah humbug’.

Edinburgh radio DJ and comic Bill Barclay toured for years on the strength of his hit The Twelve Days Of Christmas getting steadily drunk with each verse leading to ‘a wee heavy and a half pint’.

We then had Kevin Wilson with his Hey Santa Claus which never got played on the radio due to its lyrical content while Elmo & Patsy’s comic Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer became a radio favourite in some areas.

Then came the Pogues to produce an evergreen Fairytale Of New York with lyrics that would be banned in most mainstream songs but played endlessly anyway on radio unchallenged.

With little new material this year I welcomed Christmas Joy In Full Measure (Piccadilly Records), if only to avoid the endless compilations of Christmas hits from the 1970’s heyday (how can they call it ‘Now’?)

Featuring mainstream acts like the Webb Brothers, performing Are You Coming Home For Christmas? and hardcore artists like Kiran Leonard with a multi layered prog epic Huygens Probe.

Jon Epworth thrashes his track Atheist while Aliens Pat barely takes 10 seconds for Santa Fell Down The Chimney.

Den Hegarty phoned me this week for a radio interview to tell me he spends his time now lecturing in psychology.

Wild haired and manic in his time he left Rocky Sharpe to form Darts and had a string of doo wop hits updated like Daddy Cool, Come Back My Love and The Boy From New York City.

He then took over from Chris Tarrant for the last series of Tiswas with Sally James.

His current single Welcome To My Christmas was written for him by Kris Gray and is available on download and quite a diversion from his 70s band roots.