FIFTY DAYS OF ‘MERICA-MAS
I lived in the Silver State for a bit. Never regret it, ’cause i was in my twenties. Never again though.
“Meet Me in Nevada” by Gary Oleyar comes from that pretty great album Christmas Across America. This musician violinist (currently on tour with Loggins and Messina) treats us to travelogue with sleeze. The bubblegummy retro ragtime flounce its way through the state at Christmas time, but leaves me a bit lost.
The Willard Grant Conspirancy’s alt country “Christmas in Nevada” tells it like it isn’t the holidays. Christmastime is a mark on the calendar while traveling through the blasted alt-countryside. (Nice electric keyboarding–puts me in a Dire Straits kinda mood.)
Hey–guess what’s funny? The sincerity and purity of the Christmas spirit contrasted with the excess and depravity of Las Vegas! Get it? Ho ho, ho? –okay, not that funny.
Some songs are just about that irony: no Jesu Christo, no St. Nicholas, no hall-decking. Just–damn, stuck in The Gambling Capitol of the World at this joyous time: isn’t this ridickio!
Odd Limey Marc Almond complains about needing love and time fleeting and ‘The City of Steel’ in his “Christmas in Vegas.” But I don’t get anything seasonal or Nevadan here. Synth when are we expected to get this music?
Heavy metal guitarist Paul Gilbert bangs annoyingly on a piano and wails about the pointless glam of Vegas during a time of love in “Las Vegas Christmas.” He comes across as having something to say here, almost Elvis Costello-ish. I give it a thumbs mostly up.
Since Vegas is an international play land, you might also consider the Persian version, “Xmas in Las Vegas” by Tara. Apart from a couple of Strip backgrounds, i’m not sure why this is Vegasibly Holly Jolly.
On the other hand, LV XMas is all inappropriately contradictorally comic, so the chuckling choisters just gotta give it the old double down do-it-to-it standup sing-a-wrong.
King of the Fa la la lounge singers would have to be Richard Cheese (& The Lounge Against the Machine). His “Christmas in Las Vegas” deals out all the double entendres you’d expect, and a couple more. His whole album Silent Nightclub is worth the trip.
Rick Poppe and others celeb impersonate the Rat Pack (& der Bingle) doing Nancy Hawthorne’s “Christmas Strip.” It’s four the hard way.
Also talented, but barely Vegas; nearly Christmas, is “A Vegas Lounge Christmas” by the Five Card Studs. I likes me some parody, and this take on ‘My Favorite Things’ (how is that a Xmas song?!) a la “My Favorite Drinks” swings hard. (Don’t stay for the morning show chitchat after the song.)
More modern carols redone: Hope Spin rewarms ‘Christmas in Hollis’ as “Christmas in Las Vegas.” It’s not as clever, and her repetitive dance move makes me a little sea sick.
Rocky Zharp’s “Christmas in Las Vegas” is appropriately full of yearning bluesy harmonica and screechy violins and wheezing vocals. He’s a funny guy more than a musical guy.
You can’t win if you don’t play. And Daniel Po-in-yea does play–or at least bust(le) a rhyme–his way through a strange, addled (tambourine afflicted) soul song: “Merry Christmas to You, Las Vegas.” Jesus saves… so he can gamble on your soul, sinners!
An actual plea to outoftowners (who own Lost Wages) going for it would be Sin City Sinners staging a UK Invasion-style rock anthem to Merry Vegas: “Christmas in Vegas.” It’s awful fun and makes me miss the (naive part of the) ’70s. Starting out as tentatively as a tourist, this earnest euphony rocks the spirit in which Vegas is given… just don’t forget the sarcastic Scrooge sermon, son!