National Lampoon Players “Kung Fu Christmas” & The Emotions “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas”
by Allen Thayer
Apologies if these two get delivered quicker and more to the point, but, well it’s clear we’re a little behind and it’s also getting tedious writing about Christmas songs, especially after Christmas, but I could end this thing without playing my ALL TIME FAVORITE CHRISTMAS JAM: “Kung Fu Christmas”
This wasn’t even on a Christmas album, which is just one of the reasons it’s not better known, it’s from a comedy album, but don’t let that fool you, it’s a killer slice of funky pop soul with a romantic vibe and tongue-in-cheek, but delivered straight and soulful by David Hurdon (with J.R. Bailey among others on backup vocals) with a sweet and funky arrangement by none other than Paul Shaffer. The lyrics are by Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray with some help from Gilda Radner and Bill. The holidays are not complete in my household until we’ve heard “Kung Fu Christmas” at least a dozen times. It does wonder for counteracting the saccharine and overly nostalgic affect of the musty musical chestnuts.
The Emotions’ “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas” is just a killer soul song that happens to be set at Christmas time and includes some subtle yet tasteful aural accents to give it that wintery, cold, and lonely feel. From the early ’70s heyday of Stax’s umpteenth renaissance and the songwriting team of Banks & Hampton, the Emotions deliver a sweet and sad soul tune, telling it like it is for lots of lonely people that don’t always get commemorated in song this time of year.
I’ll be back once more in a day or two with a couple of NYE and New Year’s Day (no U2, or U2 covers, I promise) tunes to round out the holidays. Sorry, no Chinese New Year Jams yet…
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