A little something to energize the day: a few tracks from I.R.S…Records, that is. These groups were either associated with Miles Copeland’s International Record Syndicate, or released on A&M. Here is a 3-fer of tracks from artists who once recorded for that A&M-distributed label.
First out of the gate is Payola$, named after something the record industry would just as soon forget:
Then there was Klark Kent’s “Yo Ho Ho.” Stewart Copeland seems to know who Klark Kent is. Here’s this rarity, which didn’t even make it onto his Kollected Works anthology:
You’re really up the junction if you don’t check out Squeeze’s “Christmas Day”. And yes, that’s Jools Holland on the keys, doing what he does best.
We have a double-header of rare Julius Wechter tracks for our late edition of A&M Holiday Tracks. The first is the non-album track “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” available on the A&M holiday compilation !Something Festive!.
Even more rare is this demo of a tune composed by Julius and Cissy Wechter: “Without You It’s Not Christmas.” It has not been recorded by anyone, outside of this demo. Enjoy!
While they both left A&M years ago, what better way to wish everyone a Merry Styxmas (sorry!) than two tracks featuring these notable Styx frontmen, Styx being one of A&M’s most popular rock bands of the 1970s. Both Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw have offered holiday tunes post-A&M, which we have included here. Tommy’s video is a “thank you” to his fans, posted by him on YouTube in 2012.
This is one of those “should have been a hit” tracks. “Reggae Christmas” was the B-side of Bryan Adams’ “Christmas Time” single, released on 7″ and 12″ vinyl, and has yet to appear on any Adams anthology thus far. It also flies past the radar of most holiday programming as well. Here is a video of the track, shot at MTV’s studios in 1984. Those who followed MTV at the time will notice that the on-air personalities appear in the video, and part of it co-stars Pee Wee Herman, another hot property at the time.
And here is the A-side:
The Herb Alpert/Jeff Lorber track “Winter Wonderland” wasn’t on A&M, but we’ll give it a pass–after all, a certain Mr. Alpert was the one who co-founded A&M back in 1962! Here is their take on this holiday classic, which appeared on the fundraiser compilation Jazz To The World:
And in the spirit of “his and hers” gifts, our two-fer also includes a recording by former A&M artist (and current A&M co-founder’s spouse) Lani Hall, whose “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” appeared on the Windham Hill label’s compilation A Jazz Christmas.
As always, if you have enjoyed the tunes, pay a visit to Amazon by following our red text links above to learn more about these recordings. Both compilations feature some nice contemporary jazz versions of popular holiday classics.
Longtime A&M artist Amy Grant checks in with today’s holiday track installment: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” from her 1992 Home for Christmas album.