43 episodes

Welcome to Holly Jolly X'masu, your podcast destination for Japanese Christmas music.

Holly Jolly X'masu Scott Leopold

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Welcome to Holly Jolly X'masu, your podcast destination for Japanese Christmas music.

    Chewing Gum's "Christmas Best Hits"

    Chewing Gum's "Christmas Best Hits"

    Welcome to episode 42 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I talk about Chewing Gum’s wonderful 1974 album, “Christmas Best Hits.”

    I’ve been lucky enough to get some fantastic records over the past two years, and this really is one of the best. There’s not a song on the album I don’t enjoy. I also listened to their greatest hits CD while preparing this episode and was impressed by everything I heard. Their earliest music is not only enjoyable, but is all the more impressive when you consider how young Rika and Mami Matsuda were when they started writing and performing.

    At first, I didn’t realize that their later singles as Bar Balloon, Lucky Lips and MORE were on the CD. After listening to them, I was surprised they weren’t bigger hits. The sisters showed they could produce City Pop just as fine as the Folk Pop they’d been performing for the previous decade. I tried to find a couple of their later singles on vinyl, but they appear to be fairly scarce.

    I hope you were as delighted by Chewing Gum as I was. I’ve been looking forward to covering this album for quite a while. Next month I’m planning on just two new episodes. Join me on the 11th for the 2016 album, “Christmas Songs,” by May J. Then listen in on the 25th as I discuss Chris Hart’s 2015 album, “Christmas Hearts – Winter Gift,” for African-American History Month.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 43 min
    Japanese Christmas Folk Music

    Japanese Christmas Folk Music

    Welcome to episode 41 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode I’ll be talking about Christmas songs by Japanese Folk singers. I’ve pulled these songs from half a dozen different records from the late 60s and early 70s. Some are familiar standards, but the real standouts here are the original songs.

    I’ve been wanting to do this episode for quite a while now. When I initially started collecting these albums, the bulk of what I bought were full albums. I had a fairly short list of records I wanted to get and only a couple of those were singles. I figured I’d only end up with enough albums for two or three dozen episodes at most, and I planned on tacking on those singles to whichever album seemed most appropriate. As I found more music that I liked, though, I realized I’d have to start buying more singles in order to get the music I wanted.

    Initially it was just 7” 45s. I started picking up the occasional 12” single, and then eventually a bunch of mini-CD singles. I then started finding songs that only appeared as deeper cuts on full-length albums, so I started collecting some of those as well. Before I knew it, I had hundreds of these songs.

    I realized that I was going to have to start planning episodes that didn’t focus on a single album. I figured themed episodes would be the best approach, and I’ve already done that a couple times with my Christmas in July episodes. As I got closer to this month with my planned Folk albums, I decided to do one dedicated to these other Folk tracks I’d accumulated.

    Thankfully, the Folk songs I’ve collected are all pretty great, so putting together this episode was fairly easy. I’d already listened to a lot of the songs here dozens of times, and listening to them a few more times was certainly no chore. Research for this episode was a little frustrating due to the lack of information for several of the bands, but it’s often hit-or-miss with some of these artists.

    I did find a page dedicated to Japanese Folk bands, so I’ll be going back to that and trying to find additional Christmas Folk. I was surprised by just how many Japanese Folk bands there were. As thorough as that site seems to be, it actually left out a couple of the artists I have in this episode.

    As for Maki Asakawa, I really wish she’d done more Christmas music, as she was just spectacular. I’d love to do a full episode about her. At some point, I might pick another album and then cover it as a bonus episode.

    I hope you enjoyed this sampling of Folk music. As much as I enjoy the albums I find, I don’t always have the time to go back and listen to them repeatedly. The songs from this episode are some of those that I have a made a point to revisit quite a few times. Join me next episode for one of those albums I can listen to year round—“Christmas Best Hits,” by Chewing Gum. It’s one of the best Japanese Christmas albums you’re likely to hear, and one of my personal favorites.

    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.

    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 41 min
    Merry X'mas With The Shadracks

    Merry X'mas With The Shadracks

    Welcome to episode 40 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I talk about the Shadracks’ 1970 album, “Merry X’mas With The Shadracks.” It’s a fun album full of Christmas standards by the Japanese Folk band.

    I’m sometimes surprised by the records I come across while searching for Japanese Christmas albums. One unexpected gem was an EP I stumbled across about a year ago called “Christmas on Campus.” It was listed as a folk album, but I couldn’t get much more from the description. When it finally arrived about a month later, I found it to be a delightful but all-too-brief four-song collection of Japanese Folk singers from 1969. That sent me on a quest to find more of the same.
    I’d seen the cover for the Shadracks’ album on a few different sites, but had never given it much attention, so I was surprised to see it turn up in my first searches for Japanese Christmas Folk music. Naturally, when I went back to the shops that had it, those copies had sold. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for another copy to show up, and I was glad once I finally added it to my collection.
    I hope the Shadracks have whetted your appetite for Japanese Christmas Folk. While I haven’t found too many full albums, I have found some great singles and stray tracks on other records. I’ll share some of those with you next time. It’s an interesting collection of songs from a diverse group of artists and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 33 min
    Singaporean Christmas

    Singaporean Christmas

    Welcome to episode 39 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this year-end bonus episode, I talk about Singaporean Christmas music.

    One of the things I’ve really enjoyed over the years is finding just how much “undiscovered” Christmas music is really out there. Forgotten old nuggets from the US are becoming increasingly rare due to how many people have been searching them out and sharing them over the past few decades, but there’s tons of new Christmas music being created each year, and some of it is quite good.

    Outside of the US, there’s a wealth of music to be found. I primarily focus on Japanese music, but during my searches, I find records from all over the world that I’ve seen listed anywhere else. I’ve seen records from all over Europe, Korea, Trinidad, Indonesia, Africa and elsewhere. If I had unlimited funds, I’d pick up a few of them.

    Other than a few domestic releases each year, I seldom buy Christmas music anymore outside of my Japanese purchases. These Singaporean albums really struck a chord with me, though, and I wanted to get copies I could listen to without skips, scratches, pops and hiss. There are a few other Singaporean and Indonesian records I’ve heard with some great music on them, but the ones I discussed in this episode really are the cream of the crop, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’d have liked to have found a decent amount of biographical information about each of the bands. The lack of information about the Silverstones and the Spiders was disappointing, but I was glad I was able to find as much as I did about the others, and I was happy to see that Ernie Djohan is still going strong.

    I hope you enjoyed this foray into Singapore, and that it helped enliven your New Year’s celebration. Join me back here next month as I kick off 2022 with a pair of fantastic folk albums. First up is “Merry X’mas with the Shandracks” from 1970. Then, on the 25th, I’ll be covering one of my absolute favorite albums, “Christmas Best Hits,” from Chewing Gum. It’s an absolutely wonderful album and you don’t want to miss it.

    Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoyed Ohashi Trio as much as I did. Be sure to listen in next week to my special Halloween episode where I discuss the 1978 sci-fi thriller, “Blue Christmas – Blood Type: Blue,” and its soundtrack.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 59 min
    The Paradise Garage's "Snow Flakes"

    The Paradise Garage's "Snow Flakes"

    Welcome to episode 38 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I talk about the 1978 album, “Snow Flakes,” by the Paradise Garage. It’s a groovy collection of Yuletide Disco!

    One of the best parts of this hobby is that feeling I get when I finally get an album I’ve spent months trying to acquire. The excitement I felt over “Snow Flakes” wasn’t quite on the same level as Jun Fukamachi’s “Now Sound Christmas,” but it was close. I had a couple near misses along the way. One was due to the fact that I stopped checking one site entirely due to the sticker shock I had from shipping on one order. After two weeks of not checking, I looked again and found that I’d missed a copy by less than a day. When it finally turned up again, I was intent on getting it. Thankfully, the person I was bidding against wasn’t as relentless.

    I’ve had a couple albums that, while good, didn’t live up to my expectations. I’ve been lucky enough that most of the albums I’ve gotten turned out better than I hoped. “Snow Flakes” is one of those rare albums that turned out exactly as I expected. I had high hopes, so that’s not a bad thing. It’s a solid collection of Disco tunes that avoids the cheesy, fabricated sound of so many similar collections, and it took me back to the days of KC, Alicia Bridges and the Village People streaming out of my Snoopy transistor radio.
    Thanks for listening, and I hope the Paradise Garage helped you boogie through your Christmas. Be sure to join me on New Year’s Eve for my special bonus episode where I discuss a handful of Singaporean Christmas records. Until then, remember to keep on truckin’.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Pochettes' "Non Stop! Christmas"

    Pochettes' "Non Stop! Christmas"

    Welcome to episode 37 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I talk about the 1982 album, “Non Stop! Christmas,” by Pochettes.

    As I mentioned in the episode, I didn’t know what to expect when I got this. Having worked with an airbrush for several years in high school and college, I liked the cover. I was hoping for a bit more Disco, but I wasn’t entirely displeased overall. I’m sure not everything on the album will appeal to everyone, but I’m hoping each of you listeners enjoys at least some of what’s on it.

    While most of the songs in the medley are standards, here’s the full list in case you missed any:
    Jingle Bells (0:23)
    2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (0:33)
    3. Joy To The World (0:06)
    4. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (0:26)
    5. Sleigh Ride (0:15)
    6. Jingle Bell Rock (0:29)
    7. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (0:29)
    8. Winter Wonderland (0:30)
    9. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (0:45)
    10. Frosty The Snowman (0:44)
    11. Here Comes Santa Claus (0:23)
    12. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (0:58)
    13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (0:57)
    14. Little Christmas Tree (0:58)
    15. I'll Be Home For Christmas (0:58)
    16. Little Drummer Boy (0:50)
    17. Deck The Halls (0:30)
    18. White Christmas (1:00)
    19. The Christmas Song (0:46)
    20. Oh Come All Ye Faithful (0:37)
    21. You're All I Want For Christmas (0:58)
    22. Silver Bells (0:22)
    23. The First Noel (0:47)
    24. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (0:29) I talked quite a bit about Stars On 45, and I mentioned Holly & the Ivy’s “Christmas on 45.” Here are links to videos for them. If you were alive in the early 80s, these should bring back some hopefully fond memories.
    Stars On 45 – “Stars On 45” (Original Single Version)
    Stars On 45 – “Stars On 45” (Original 12-Inch Version)
    Holly & The Ivy’s – “Christmas On 45”
    Thanks for listening, and I hope you had some fun with this episode. Join me back here on Christmas Day for some top quality, genuine Disco from the height of the Disco Era, as I talk about the absolutely groovy 1978 album, “Snow Flakes,” by The Paradise Garage. I guarantee, you’ll dig it!
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Any proceeds or donations received will be put towards purchasing new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Scott in Dayton ,

I loved it! It's much better than "Cats!" I'm going to listen again and again!

I might be a little biased, but I'd have to say I loved it! It's much better than "Cats!" I'm going to listen again and again!

Top Podcasts In Music

Barstool Sports
The Joe Budden Network
The Black Effect and iHeartPodcasts
Double Elvis
Rory Farrell & Jamil "Mal" Clay
Fat Mike

You Might Also Like

Scott Newman and Jay LaChapelle
Unknown
Exactly Right
Bramble Jam Podcast Network