Twisted MixTape 36 – Christmas Song Mix

christmas tape


This is a re-release of last year’s Christmas mix-tapes, lots of great music for everyone!!! Take some time and check them out, maybe hit play on YouTube while you get your wrapping done. Merry Christmas!


I am a Christmas person. Really. My house looks like a Technicolor elf the size of a an elephant spewed his insides all over my house, basically it’s a colorful Chernobyl. I’m pretty sure you could see our house from the moon if you tried.

It follows that I love to make Christmas Mixes. So if you need a Christmas Song Mix, gimme a holler, cause I just learned from my friend Tweetless (Troy) from over at As Long As I’m Singing that you can share music through Dropbox! What?!

I start listening to Christmas somewhere in the middle of November, sue me. And we’ve got the Christmas Karaoke out too! So, without further Ado….

A Christmas Mix

Christmas Waltz by Harry Connick, jr. – I will say this one thing, nobody, and I mean nobody, sings this song like Karen Carpenter, but I also love this version for its peppiness (apparently that is a word, hmm). So Harry has the honor if coming in a close second.


And anyway, I gotta do this Carpenters song, and I didn’t want to be lame.
There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays by The Carpenters – Some side notes. The video is priceless 70’s, you can even get the whole Carpenters Christmas Special on YouTube if you can’t get enough! And secondly, the boy used to sing “I met a man who lived in Tennessee and he was headed for Transylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie!”


Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald. And Ella wishes you a Merry Christmas, isn’t that AWESOME! Thanks Ella!


We Need A Little Christmas by Johnny Mathis – This is one of my favorites, because as soon as it get’s cold this is how I feel. AND it’s from a musical! If you haven’t been around that long, you don’t know that I’m a theater brat. Well I am, I was raised on musicals. So if you haven’t seen Mame, I HIGHLY recommend!


Trust me that you have never heard a Christmas song like this before. If you only listen to one song on this mix, listen to this one. You can thank me later.

You know why you can thank me? I MADE THE VIDEO! When I couldn’t find this song on YouTube there was no way I was going to go without, so I just spent the last hour making this video. I’m pretty proud….


I usually don’t break my own rules, but I promised Isaiah I would use this song. (wink* wink*) only I didn’t, and he saw my list and now I’m busted! So here it is.

The Polar Express Theme Song – I must say the video is pretty awesome too.


P.S. Don’t bother wishing me Happy Holidays. After all, there’s a reason for the season. Without which it would just be the dead of winter. So Merry Christmas folks!


Thank you for listening! Now share your MixTape with all of us. The best part of this party is we get to hear so much music that may be new, may be forgotten or may be just what you wanted to hear right now.

These are the rules. Five songs (do your best to stick to it, I listen to every mix). Stick to the theme (as best you can). Check out the other players (everyone wants to share their tunes with you). Create a mix, not a “hey look at all the cool songs I know” we’re not snobs, if you were our best bud and you were gonna make us a tape, what would it be? And share this party so more people will play next week!

Do me a favor, if you’re a veteran, try and visit at least one person you’ve never visited before.






We Are The Music Makers, And We Are The Dreamers of Dreams

Hold on Tight I Don’t Exactly Know What’s Going to Happen!



As a child, I remember being quite frightened by Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory.

My strongest memory is of the Oompa Loompas, they were just plain scary.

I have been waiting for years to let Isaiah watch Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (the original of course!) I have kept him very sheltered from media, and therefore I knew that any earlier than this would be too early.

My aim was not to scar the boy, but to share with him the work of art that this particular direction of Willy Wonka was. It was genius. Gene Wilder was right to be outraged that anyone would make it over. It was/is perfect the way it is.

And no, Sammy Davis Jr did not write or record The Candyman first. I played Sammy’s version for the boy after he watched Willy Wonka 100 times in a row, and thirty seconds in, he said “this is horrible, turn it off.”

Gluttony, Bad Manners, Greed, Watching too much TV, not using your Mind. All covered.

Don’t Forget About The Man Who Suddenly Got Everything He Ever Wanted, He Lived Happily Ever After.


I tried to use the Oompa Loompa song to show my son how his behavior was unacceptable and he sang back to me:

“Who is to blame? The Mother and The Father”  while pointing his finger at me….


The Perfect Thanksgiving Playlist

thanksgiving playlist

The table is set, the lights are turned down just enough to make the room sparkle and the cheesy Christmas decorations are hidden in another room – leaving only the very tasteful decorations you share with company.

Occupy the kids with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and enjoy one night as an adult.

Hit shuffle on your Thanksgiving Playlist and in the words of my favorite Jazz DJ Larry Smith “Sit back, relax, and let’s swing together.”


The Perfect Thanksgiving Playlist

The top links go straight to YouTube (at the bottom is the complete YouTube playlist)

The starred links* go to  iTunes so you can download your own


Merry Christmas Baby – Kenny Burrell and Richard Evans
*Merry Christmas Baby – Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bill Evans
*Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas

We Three Kings – Ralph Sutton, Jim Galloway, Milt Hilton and Gus Johnson*
*We Three Kings – Christmas Jazz Greats (Extended Version)

White Christmas – Oscar Peterson
*White Christmas – An Oscar Peterson Christmas

Silent Night – Ellis Marsalis
*Silent Night (feat. Bill Huntington & Jason Marsalis) – A New Orleans Christmas Carol (Gold Edition)

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? – Ramsey Lewis
*What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Sound of Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas – The Four Freshman*
*I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Snowfall

The Christmas Waltz – Beegie Adair
*The Christmas Waltz – Jazz Piano Christmas

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Butch Thompson*
*God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Yulestride

Oh Good Grief – Wynton and Ellis Marsalis
*Oh, Good Grief! – Joe Cool’s Blues

Christmas is Coming – David Benoit*
*Christmas Is Coming – 40 Years – A Charlie Brown Christmas

O Christmas Tree – Russell Malone
*O Christmas Tree – Martha Stewart Living Music: Jazz for the Holidays

Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
*Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Expanded Edition)

We Three Kings of Orient Are – Oliver Jones
*We Three Kings of Orient Are – A Celebration in Time

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Oliver Jones

Jingle Bells – Jimmy Smith
*Jingle Bells – Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas

The Christmas Song – Peter White
*The Christmas Song – Songs of the Season



Thanks for listening! If you want to keep up with all my great playlists make sure to subscribe to my site using the little box up there to the right!

Summer Songs of 2014 – When Isaiah Got His Musical Mojo

summer music alligator

I imagine myself watching Isaiah walk down the aisle – graduation, wedding, court – and thinking back to this summer.

This summer when he would change from an 8yo who was happy listening to what I had playing on the stereo, to a 9yo kid with an opinion.

It turned out that was okay, because, for the most part, I had indoctrinated him well. Well, me and movies….as it turns out.


It all started with Despicable Me.

Up until now I had found myself immune to even the most catchy pop tunes. Or whatever you call them these days.

But catchy it was, and catchy it is, and “Mommy do we have Happy on Pandora?” happened, and so I created a “Happy by Pharrell” station. And sometimes…


and the rest of the music wasn’t all that bad. I’d be lying if I said I liked it enough to play it for longer than a few weeks. But one more gem stuck out.

Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti and Spearhead


And so, when I got sick of the station, I just added those two songs to my Summer Songs of 2014 mix on iTunes.

Last month I got to see a show that will stay with me forever. It’s sad to think, but I do, when I see these bands that have meant so much to our musical culture, that this may be the last time. That’s how I felt when I saw Crosby, Stills and Nash in July.

You know when you’re going to a concert, so you listen to the music from that artist for a few days before? Well I created a Pandora station based on the song “Teach Your Children Well” and I got way more than I planned.

It was like I went back in time 20 years to the days that I swore I would follow the Grateful Dead forever. This became my go to station for the rest of the summer.

What I didn’t expect was for Isaiah to love it too. Trust me, there’s a post brewing about that. He can’t wait until this song comes on every time:

Our House – Crosby, Stills and Nash (of course he says “with two cats on the lawn”)


Another movie inspired song that should get the Grammy for earworm of the century. It is so strong that I had to take it off of our Summer Songs of 2014 mix a few days after putting it on. The reason? The song gave me the amazing ability to fit the sentence everything is awesome into every conversation.

It’s even better in a stage whisper Everything is Awesome.


The last song on my list is really all Isaiah. I listen to it because he loves it. I am sure he loves it because this song should be his anthem. He doesn’t know what an anthem is yet, but when he does, he will know this is it.

Troublemaker – Wheezer



Just incase you’ve never been here before, this is Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday, welcome! This is a place where those of us who love music, and secretly wish  mix tape summer songs 2014those rectangular cumbersome music storage devices were still in use, can come together and make mix tapes for our friends like it’s 1986!

We would love to have you join us, you don’t even need a blog! But if you do, and you feel so inclined, create a mix on your blog that follows these rules: Follow the theme, this week: Your Personal Soundtrack for the Summer of 2014, try to stick to 5 songs (too many and it’s hard for everyone to listen), link up through the blog linky, and check out your fellow mix makers!

If you don’t have a blog, please join us by sticking your choices in the comments!

Next month’s mix goes live on the evening of Oct 6, and the topic is Music About Magic, however you choose to interpret it is up to you! I look forward to seeing you!

Now Play!

Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2 – Twisted Mixtape Returns!

twisted new logo 8.6.14I want to thank Marvel, James Gunn and the powers that be, for reaching deep down inside my soul and reviving my love of the mixtape. I admit it, I was lost, I had replaced my passion with lifeless monotony.

I was still in flux when it came to the decision to revive our mixtape meme. And then, and then….I saw Guardians of the Galaxy.

Opening scene: A boy, sitting on a chair, listening to a Walkman with a mixtape in it. The first song I hear is I’m Not In Love, and I was. He had me at “I’m.”

I’m Not In Love has been on almost every Greatest Hits playlist (not short mixes) I have made since the advent of iTunes. Those notes…that soft sound was the moment I knew I had found one of my new favorite movies of all time AND that I needed to make Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2.

As I was walking out of the theater I started a note on my phone for Awesome Mix Vol. 2, before I even walked out the door I knew what my first song would be, I’ll Take You There by the Staple Sisters; in the car on the way home (I may have typed at a stoplight) I had song two, The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy.


Maybe you haven’t been around forever, and didn’t read the very first Mixtape I made. It was there that I professed my true lost calling: “Soundtrack Maker” or “Music Director” or “Person who knows exactly what music goes with what scene.” I feel very much connected to the character John Cusack plays in High Fidelity, as we both seem to understand the importance of the mixtape craft.

On the flip side, and why I wasn’t quite ready, many new things are happening for me. The most important being that I have been studying code intensely for about 4 months and plan to implement a new incarnation of me, one that will include my new ability to code and will exploit the fact that I now know really and truly how the back-end of websites and WordPress sites work. But I’m not really ready for the big reveal. So, stay-tuned.


Now, without further ado:

Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2


I’m going to try something new. For those of you who actually use YouTube to listen to music, the first link is going to be to the whole playlist. It is in the same order, just click play and go! Or move on down, and each song is listed individually. And turn it up!


I’ll Take You There – The Staple Sisters


The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy


Come Together – The Beatles


Bang a Gong (Get it On) – T. Rex


Just What I needed – The Cars


More Than a Feeling – Boston


I’m a Believer – The Monkees


Taking Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive


Right Down The Line – Gerry Rafferty


Hold On, I’m Coming – Sam & Dave


Baby Come Back – Player (This will be my only editorializing, at some point you know Quill is gonna screw things up with Gamora, but he’s gonna know he was a complete ass – and maybe only then does he really realize how he feels, this is that song. And then the sub-story of Quill’s true father? Maybe?)


Come Dancing – The Kinks


The Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes – Elvis Costello



guardians of the galaxy awesome mix vol. 2
Thank you to Sarah The Sadder But Wiser Girl for sending me this eye candy!


If this is your first time, or your memory is a little fuzzy, this is how it goes:

You may create your own post and link up through the linky tool, or you can put your choices in the comments (even if you only have one!). Your contribution MUST fit the theme (Kerri) and this time around can have up to 11 songs! Yup, we are usually 5, but since this is a movie soundtrack, why not make it a real soundtrack?

Please put a link back to this post in your mixtape, either via the button or just a hotlink, so your friends can listen too! And sharing via social media is always appreciated!

There is no music snobbery here! Try and visit as many other folks as possible, I’ve enabled the “like” function if you want to use that to know who you’ve visited already.

And mostly just have fun!

An Ode to Pete Seeger

pete seeger

I never knew the banjo was a hillbilly instrument.

When I first saw a banjo, it was in my father’s arms.

My father was a chemist, a business owner and a banjo player.

He didn’t play with a group. He played for fun, he played for us kids, but he also played for himself, a lot, probably more.

I didn’t know who the Weavers were, and frankly I didn’t know who Pete Seeger was, except when I figured out that the amazing music that came out of my father’s banjo came from him.

My parents weren’t big into kiddie music, or maybe they were. Because thanks to Pete Seeger I was introduced to Clementine, John Henry, songs that were synonymous with America.

No one had the ability to reach out and make you feel history, through music, like Pete Seeger did. He had a way of using words – the lilt of his voice, to make history into a story you wanted to hear, a song you wanted to play again and again.

An individual event, evoked a feeling of a time long gone. Every image in my head about the beginning of our fair country is there, because of Pete Seeger’s music, coming through my father’s banjo and his voice.

As I grew older I heard more of Pete Seeger actually performing his own music. We would listen to his music at home. Often in the background, but familiar and part of our family fabric.

There was something about his voice, it was like there was a hook at the end of it. When he sang, when he spoke – you wanted to follow him wherever he went.

As a parent, it seemed a given, that I would share Pete Seeger with my son. And as a parent with a love for music, I looked and discovered a world of Pete Seeger I didn’t even know existed. There was so much more than I had ever known. Of course that makes sense, my father couldn’t have learned every song Pete Seeger had ever sung. And he also could not re-create that completely unique voice and personality. I loved my father more than the world, and I loved him for introducing me to Pete Seeger, because…. well, Pete Seeger.

I can’t say Pete Seeger will be sorely missed, because Pete Seeger lead an amazing full life, and created music and stories that will be with us for the rest of our lives. He became a part of America, the embodiment of American Music. His stories have been passed on from generation to generation. I should know. We are on generation #3 over here. I can only hope that he left this world knowing how much a part of our lives he had become. How it is impossible to be a child in America without singing a song that Pete Seeger sang. And although many of his songs were considered “traditional” in the sense that they were passed down from generation to generation through story-telling or song. You can be sure that without Pete Seeger, you and I would not be singing them this day.

An example of that is a song that Pete learned from his father Charles, and on which they both embellished. It was previously known as The Frog Song performed by May Irwin and written in 1896. Pete made it his own and so did his sister Peggy after hearing their father tell it over and over and over. Click this link to see her version, it’s much longer!

This song comes with some great advice, “I’m glad to know you’re singing those songs yourself, because that’s a lot better than just listening to them. And if there are parent’s out there that like to tell stories, I hope you make ’em up sometimes yourselves and don’t always just get ’em out of a book. Sometimes you can make up better stories because you know just what to say!”

The Foolish Frog – Pete Seeger


There’s nothing I can think of that would honor Pete’s memory more than for us to continue singing his songs, and telling our own made up stories to our children.

I love you Pete, have fun playing your banjo in heaven with my dad!

The Beatle Who Vanished


Is there a band more recognizable than The Beatles?

When searching for the Best Rock Band of All-Time the answer was unanimous. But search for the answer to this question, “Who is the fifth Beatle?” and amazingly you will not find the real answer.

On June 3, 1964 the fate of a successful, but small-time drummer would change forever. Jimmie Nicol would become the fifth Beatle, if only for 13 days, and it would change the trajectory of his life in a way no one could have predicted.

This is a story that clearly would have never been told if not for the painstaking research done by Jim Berkenstadt. He took what was barely enough material to write an article and meticulously followed the movements of this mysterious person who replaced Ringo Starr for the Beatles first World Tour for 13 days.  The Beatle Who Vanished is a fascinating look inside the history of rock and roll in London, and the music industry’s attempt to create pop stars by controlling and molding the musicians who were discovering and exploring this rapidly changing music scene.

Jimmie Nicol’s life was intricately intertwined with the birth of Rock and Roll. As Berkenstadt uncovered Nicol’s history, he discovered a drummer so well regarded that, in 1964, his destiny was most surely on the path for fame. No one denied that Nicol’s skills were among the top in the clubs and music studios of London, he was well-known for his versatility; moving between jazz and rock easily and even combining the two. Often asked to play with many up and coming bands he was making a decent living as a musician and had become a staple as a session drummer, he was also the drummer for a series called Top Six, a weekly recording if the Top Six hits, often covering Beatles songs to perfection, who could know how important that would be?

Just when it seemed Jimmie’s ship had come in – because he had become the permanent drummer for Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames, he and his wife were living a comfortable life, and he was guaranteed work at something he loved; his life would take one more turn. Paul McCartney would personally call Georgie Fame and ask if they could “borrow” his drummer Nicols.

The rest they say, is history. But it wasn’t, not for us, not for him. It is what happened after this amazing story that was a mystery for so many years. Jimmie was a tried and true Beatle for 13 days, it may not seem like a long time, but as you read about the intensity of the touring, traveling and riot like interaction with fans, one can see how it felt like a lifetime for Jimmie. Jimmie joined the Beatles as the crescendo of Beatlemania was beginning, he was ill-equipped to be at the center of such fame and adulation, Paul McCartney befriended Jimmie and often asked him if “It was getting better?” Jimmie’s response? “It’s getting better all the time.” 13 days of playing multiple shows a day, their songs felt like his songs, and just as he began to feel like a “real” Beatle, it was ripped away from him.

Jimmie is on the far right. Picture credit wikimedia commons
Jimmie is on the far right. Picture credit wikimedia commons

Even for those who new Jimmie well, no one could understand that feeling. He went from being a Beatle to being plain old Jimmie in one day. His attempt at recreating that fame, his subsequent travels and his disappearance and supposed death are the riveting plots of this wonderful mystery of a biography. Jim Berkenstadt does something for Jimmie that he could never do, he showcases his amazing talent and paints a picture so clear that when you finish this book you will feel like you knew Jimmie all along.


You can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking this link The Beatle Who Vanished


*review originally published on Earth Hertz Records