This morning, I once again tabled the usual “Talking Animals” format to present my Annual Christmas Animal Song special—that is, a show entirely devoted to Holiday-oriented animal tunes. Once again, as we make no bones about in the opening of the program, to effectively pull off this conceit, I’m required to fashion the program with a liberal sprinkling of “Rudolph”-related songs, from Butch Walker’s somewhat boozy new take, from his recently-released (and aptly titled) collection, “Over The Holidays And Under The Influence” to Keith Richards’ classic fiery rendition, a must-include track. I also played some far less obvious nuggets and possible future classics, including Sia’s “Puppies Are Forever,” probably the best new Christmas song (especially in the “Talking Animals” realm) on probably this season’s best new Christmas album, the quirky, if wordy “Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey” by the also-wordy Vinnie Bonofici And His Italian American Band, Kacey Musgraves’ rendition of “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas,” EELS’ propulsive fave, “Christmas Is Going To The Dogs,” and a slice of Dirk Keysser’s novelty reading of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (it sounds like a brood of chickens singing). I took a brief break from playing cool yule songs to read what I call the Dorothy Strauss Christmas message, as I do every year. That message, whose author has always been unknown to me and my family—growing up, my Mom hung a poster of it each Christmas season—may have been written by Howard W. Hunter, according to a Google search conducted by an enterprising “Talking Animals” listener.
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