by Joseph Hess
A Very Bert Dax Christmas, Volume Nine has now officially been released. The ninth annual X-Mas compilation, a joint release by Rob Severson from Pancake Productions (subject of this week's music feature) and Matt Harnish of The Bert Dax Calvacade of Stars, features a pool of truly diverse local artists. These are cover songs and original tunes, all inspired by the wintry holiday season. Year after year, this compilation has proven to showcase an eclectic mix of St. Louis music through love for holiday jams. The compilation will get a series of four release shows, starting this Wednesday at Off Broadway.
Producer Rob Severson was kind enough to provide us with the full compilation. Over the next week, we'll preview the compilation two tracks at a time, with Severson's commentary as well as our own, expanding beyond the songs to talk about the artists involved.
"Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk this Christmas)" by Bass-Amp & Dan-O
Severson: I later found that the full title of this one is "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" which makes sense but was never communicated to me properly, so I hope the boys in the band don't mind too much. I absolutely love the way that Catholic Guilt's track abruptly yet oh-so-smoothly transforms into this one. What brings this song home to me as such a great X-Mas song is the fact that all of the changes are the same as those in "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer." See for yourself by singing the first syllable of Grandma at the same time Bass-Amp & Dan-O sing "Please" in the chorus. In fact, I'm hoping they'll let me join 'em on stage and sing the Grandma lyrics at the release show, just for giggles.
Hess: The subject matter is a little sad, don't you think? "Please Daddy" is in the same spirit as "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," but the delivery and lyrics are a bit more vicious. This is fitting of punk-rock mainstays Bass-Amp & Dano-O, who craft a fun song with a fast pulse. The usurped melodies lend big nostalgia to the song. "Please Daddy" is a fitting reminder that some people party a little too hard on the holidays, but can you really blame 'em? "Winter Planet" by Navigator
Severson: As perennial Pancake Productions mastering mastermind Mario Viele says, "I love the production, I love the kid's voice, I love the pulse...man it's cool." I agree with him 100%. These fellas were eager to join the Daxmas family and when I heard this track I was only too happy to have 'em. I can't get enough of that cavernous snare sound. I also have been watching a lot of STAR TREK lately and I like to believe the lyrics tell the story of a person on some distant world where, while not otherwise unlike our own (in the neo-Ice Age, commerce is king) it's winter all the time, there's NO ESCAPE!
Hess: Curtis of Navigator sent me a barely-finished version of this song nearly one month ago. This song feels so much like Winter it's almost unbearable. The range of sound coming from those drums are unbelievable, especially if you've seen Navigator live and know how stripped down Drew Gowran's drum set can be. I admit, I am biased because I've worked with Curtis and Drew in the past, but "Winter Planet" ties with Catholic Guilt's Silent, Night? as my personal favorite.