Talking Animals’ Annual Christmas Animal Song Special

This morning, I once again set aside the customary “Talking Animals” format to present my Annual Christmas Animal Song special—that is, a show entirely devoted to Holiday-oriented animal tunes. I also played some far less obvious nuggets and possible future classics, including the Old 97’s gimlet-eyed original “Rudolph Was Blue” from the band’s new collection “Love The Holidays,” and Sia’s “Puppies Are Forever,” probably the best new Christmas song (especially in the “Talking Animals” realm) on probably last season’s best new Christmas album. Another new release we embraced was Otis Gibbs’ “Lloyd The Reindeer,” alongside the longtime staple on this show, the quirky, if wordy “Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey” by the also-wordy Vinnie Bonofici And His Italian American Band.“ For a program of this nature, we, of course, were almost required to go with “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”—in this case, the version by Kacey Musgraves, whose “Golden Hour” album is popping up on a multitude of Best of 2018 year-end lists. We also worked in EELS’ propulsive fave, “Christmas Is Going To The Dogs,” and the Bobs’ lilting “Rasta Reindeer.” Once again, as we make no bones about in the opening of the program, to effectively pull off this conceit, I’m required to cobble together the program with a liberal sprinkling of “Rudolph”-related songs, from Chris Isaak’s smooth, rollicking take, to Keith Richards’ classic fiery rendition, a must-include track. I took a brief break from playing cool yule songs to read what I call the Dorothy Strauss Christmas message, as dictated by tradition, or at least the tradition of the Talking Animals Annual Christmas Animal Song special. That message, whose author had always been unknown to me and my family—growing up, my Mom hung a poster of it each Christmas season—appears to have been written by Howard W. Hunter. Well done, Mr. Hunter.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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