Picks and Pans Review: Dr. Demento Presents the Greatest Christmas Novelty Cd of All Time

updated 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various artists

Another new Rhino package, this lighter side of Christmas includes the classic Singing Dogs' "Jingle Bells" and, once again, Spike Jones's "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" and "The Chipmunk Song."

The more satirical the collection gets, the better it is. Never mind the partridge, Allan Sherman's "The 12 Gifts of Christmas," includes "a calendar book with the name of my insurance man...A statue of a lady with a clock where her stomach ought to be...An automatic vegetable sheer that works when you see it on television but not when you get it home...And a Japanese transistor radio."

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, as SCTVs McKenzie brothers, send up "The 12 Days" too, though they do it with back bacon, doughnuts and "a beer in a tree." Tom Lehrer's 1954 tune "A Christmas Carol" takes on the whole holiday fuss: "Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens/ Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens." And two Stan Freberg tracks, "Green Chri$tma$" and "Christmas Dragnet," are some of his best satire and parody.

"Green Chri$tma$" (1958), which is nearly seven minutes long, is set in a marketing meeting where the creative side tries out such ideas as "We wish you a Merry Christmas/ We wish you a Merry Christmas/ We wish you a Merry Christmas/ And please buy our beer." Freberg honchos the brainstorming session, while a chorus sings, "Deck the halls with advertising/ 'Tis the time for merchandising," and the bell effects on "Jingle Bells" are made with a ringing cash register.

In "Christmas Dragnet" (1953), Freberg, as Sgt. Joe Wednesday, arrests a Mr. Grudge on a charge of not believing in Santa Claus. When Grudge adds that he doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny either, Wednesday recognizes him: "Didn't I pick you up three years ago on a 1492—not believing in Columbus?"

"Yeah," says Grudge, "And I don't believe in Cleveland or Cincinnati either." (Rhino)

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