Artists | Songs | Various Artists | Lists | Annuals | Jukebox | About | Home Facebook
Visit Randy's Rodeo

Support! Amazon Shop at Amazon, iTunes, and more...

Happy Birthday Baby JesusHappy Birthday Baby JesusHappy Birthday Baby JesusHappy Birthday Baby Jesus (1996) is the CD reissue of two vinyl LPs released in 1993 and 1994 by uber indie label Sympathy For The Record Industry - plus, as the CD booklet states, "some stuff that's new." Captured at the height of post-modern, alt-rock mania, the Happy Birthday Baby Jesus bands fairly ooze irony and drip sarcasm. Nary a single cut has a sincerely festive perspective on the high Christian holiday. That's not necessarily a bad thing - I love a good piss take, and the Christmas holiday is worthy target - but pointedly out-of-tune caterwauling can wear a bit thin after an hour-and-a-half.

The thing is, I really want to like this album better. I mean, the song titles alone are pretty entertaining. "Little Drummer Bitch" (Red Aunts), "Last On Santa's List" (Fireworks), "Christmastime Is For Sinners" (Mono Men), and especially "Merry Christmas Fuck You" (Jet Boys) merit a belly laugh before needle ever touches vinyl (or laser strikes aluminum). But, well, many of those songs aren't very good. Alternative music, particularly the sort that Sympathy For The Record Industry traffics in, is often as much about posture as it is about craft. But, musicality has to count for something, and much of Happy Birthday Baby Jesus borders on unlistenable.

That said, the highlights are both plentiful and unique - and, strangely enough, tend to be the songs played well, or enthusiastically, or both. Hands down, the two very best tracks are El Vez's wacky "Feliz Navi-Nada" (which fuses Jose Feliciano's hispanic classic to Sex Pistol John Lydon's solo debut, "Public Image") and the Shitbird's ebullient "Christmas Is A-Comin'" (featuring a young April March). Beyond that, a number of notable bands (the Muffs, Rocket From The Crypt, Supersuckers) turn in solid - if less than spectacular - performances.

Those cuts tip the balance for Happy Birthday Baby Jesus, along with several fine performances from now-forgotten scenesters. For instance, the Humpers (who???) tear through Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" as if their very lives depended on it, tossing off one of the album's best bits in the process: as they're about to rip into a squalling guitar solo, the singer gleefully screams, "Check this shit out!" Indeed, it's moments like that make Happy Birthday Baby Jesus far more than an artifact of the mordant 90's - if less than the post-punk Christmas classic I wish it was.

Trivia fans, no doubt, will want to know what vintage LP covers were employed (parodied, ripped off, whatever) by Sympathy for the Record Industry to create the cover art for Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. The three editions, respectively, are derived from Lawrence Welk's Jingle Bells (Coral, 1957), Christmas With Patti Page (Mercury, 1956), and Christmas With the Mexicali Brass (Crown, 1967). Pooping all over history is just part of the fun, I guess. [top of page]

Albums Albums


  • Bob Kringle (Creamers, 1990)
  • Brand New Bike (Junkyard Dogs, 1993)
  • Cancel Christmas (Rocket From The Crypt, 1993)
  • Christmas Is A-Comin' (May God Bless You) (Shitbirds, 1993)
  • Christmas Will Be Magic Again (International Language, 1995)
  • Christmastime Is For Sinners (Mono Men, 1994)
  • Feliz Navi-Nada (El Vez, 1994)
  • Frosty The Snowman (Man Or Astroman? 1994)
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (Devil Dogs, 1993)
  • Little Drummer Boy (Bomboras, 1994)
  • Nothing For Me (Muffs, 1994)
  • Run Rudolph Run (Humpers, 1993)
  • There's Nothing I Want More For Christmas This Year (Chubbies, 1995)
  • We'll Call It Christmastime (Supersuckers, 1994)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

[top of page]

Navigation   Artists   Songs   Various Artists   Lists   Annuals   Jukebox   About   Home

Information   About Us   Feedback   Submissions   Books   Links   Mailbag

Support Me   Amazon   iTunes   Sheet Music Plus

© 1999-2018 Randall Anthony, and
5903 Belfast Drive, Austin, Texas 78723 (512) 454-2906

FreeFind NetFirms InternetSeer Wimpy Player