This morning, I once again set aside the customary “Talking Animals” format to deliver the Annual Christmas Animal Song special—that is, a show entirely devoted to Holiday-oriented animal tunes. As has been required in the previous years of this special, and as I unapologetically concede while explaining this program’s premise, the only way to effectively pull off this conceit is to fashion the special with a liberal sprinkling of “Rudolph”-related songs. Which meant including the new, show-opening version of “Run Rudolph Run” by Foghat (!), Chris Isaak’s velvety-smooth yet rollicking take on “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and another rendition of “Run Rudolph Run,” this one a barn-burner by Keith Richards (who happened to be celebrating his birthday that day). More fun–or, at least, less obvious—selections (and possible future classics) included the Old 97’s gimlet-eyed original “Rudolph Was Blue” from the band’s collection last year, “Love The Holidays,” and Otis Gibbs’ also relatively new “Lloyd The Reindeer.” These numbers took their place alongside a longtime staple on this show, the quirky, if delightfully verbose “Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey” by the also delightfully-verbose Vinnie Bonofici And His Italian American Band. And while it’s been a signature song on this show for a few years, I actually got a request for it! To round out our playlist, a program of this nature is practically constitutionally obligated to spin “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”—in this case, the version by Kacey Musgraves. We also worked in something by my beloved EELS, the propulsive fave, “Christmas Is Going To The Dogs.” We also played the Bobs’ lilting “Rasta Reindeer.” I took a brief break from playing cool yule songs for the traditional reading of 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 while I was growing up–my Mom hung a poster of it each Christmas season, as part of our home’s holiday decorations– appears to have been written by Howard W. Hunter. Kudos, Mr. Hunter. Kudos.
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