DJ Rich Russo unearths Christmas gems and obscurities

DJ Rich Russo Christmas

DJ RICH RUSSO

I consider myself pretty well versed in New Jersey music, having written about the state’s music for more than 30 years, and having put together the 350 Jersey Songs Project for this web site. But DJ Rich Russo came up with quite a few songs I was previously unfamiliar with for the Christmas-themed edition of his “Jersey Guy Does Jersey” show, which aired on Little Steven’s Underground Garage Channel 21 on SiriusXM satellite radio, Dec. 13.

Any artist who is from New Jersey, or who recorded for a New Jersey record label, was eligible. You can see the playlist of 17 songs below, with YouTube videos for 14 of them; the others had no YouTube videos available. The entire show is also archived for satellite subscribers at siriusxm.com.

There are a lot of little-heard gems and obscure novelty songs on his list; it’s not the typical holiday fare. That will also be the case on the four-hour (8 p.m. to midnight) show titled “A Christmas Chord With Rich Russo” that he will present on Underground Garage, Christmas Eve, and that will be archived on SiriusXM beginning on Christmas Day.

“Throughout the years, I’ve amassed thousands upon thousands of holiday records,” said Russo, in a press release. “The selections will be comprised of records pressed on small labels as ‘one-offs,’ some of which are really great and deserve to be heard. Others are simply awful with themes that are downright mind-blowing but reflect the time they were recorded as well as some major label and artists whose holiday songs may have fallen through the cracks.

“As I have been doing for years, I’ll celebrate the holidays utilizing my vast collection, giving the listener a different side of the holiday music.”

Russo has also launched a series of “Christmas Chord” video Webisodes. And he is delving into holiday music on his syndicated terrestrial radio show “Anything Anything” as well, with a two-part extravaganza that began on Dec. 15 and continues on Dec. 22. For information, visit richrusso.net.

Here are the songs played on Dec. 13:

The Smithereens: “Christmas Time All Over the World”

The Whirling Dervishes: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”

Eddie Brian Group: “Christmas Shopping”

Bob Shaw: “Don’t Forget the Christ in Christmas”

Sensational Soul Cruisers: “What Christmas Means to Me”

Southside Johnny: “Please Come Home for Christmas”

The Characters: “Home for Christmas”

Nalani & Sarina: “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me”

Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, featuring Kurt Russell: “Santa Claus Is Back in Town”

Milton De Lugg & the Little Eskimos, featuring Pia Zadora: “Hooray for Santa”

The 4 Seasons: “Jungle Bells”

Jimmie Dale & the Jimmys: “Kangi the Kangaroo”

The Merry Elves: “Rock and Roll Around the Christmas Tree”

Jon Bongiovi: “R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

French Lemon Santas (Dramarama): “Merry Christmas Everybody”

Dan Amato & the Sentimental Gentlemen: “All Alone on Christmas”

Little Steven with LaBamba and Orchestra: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

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