Christmas Countdown: 17:15

Bible verses are read as chapter and verse, so we’ll allow a bit o’ stretch here to include the ominous tale of 10,000 Maniacs’ “Jubilee” in which Tyler (as afflicted perhaps as the son for whom mercy is asked in Matthew 17:15) takes time off from fixing up the Nativity scene for the church to burn down the licentious tavern nearby.

Christmas Countdown: 1775

Paul Revere and The Raiders did in 1967 what many pundits (esp. Garry Trudeau in his comic strip Doonesbury) tried: talking smack about the Vietnam war by encoding references to the Revolutionary War. “Their “Valley Forge” is about suffering young men who would rather go home (for the holidays) than understand what the war is for. Psychedelic pop.

Christmas Countdown: 1-800

The 800 toll free phone number was meant to fire people so that busy businesses could do without long-distance connections. Hotels and car rental companies began this streamlining in the ’60s. Today we could care less. Who gets charged for Long D anymore?!

Humbugz revisits the ’80s with a “1-800-Christmas” number about the worst presents ever. Then the poor country-song victim has an idea… (it’s the phone line to buy this album)!

A surprising message comes from an 800 number wishing “Merry Christmas Mr. Peng.” This indie goes places you dmight not expect. I mean, IS it a happy ending?

Christmas Countdown: 1800s

1800 perished according to Brooks Hubbard, representing the Rebs in “Blood on the Cotton Fields.” Mere days after Christmas 1864, Sherman’s march to the sea settled the Civil War. Those 1800 Yank casualties were but a blip on the way to defeat for the Rebels. Country rock calls out many subjects, but this silver lining of death is hard to take.

Rounding out, Team StarKid disco ‘A Christmas Carol’ into “Bah Humbug!” it was 1800-something, yaknow. Fairly faithful, in a rock-opera way.