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Gruesome Twosome: Bad Santa Edition

Lenny Dee: “Mister Santa”
LP: Happy Holi-Dee, c.1961

Gisele MacKenzie: “Too Fat for the Chimney”
LP: Christmas with Gisele, 1957

These two frisky odes to Santa Claus came from a compilation I received five years ago from Vern Stoltz, author of the late thrifting ‘zine Cannot Become Obsolete. Organist Lenny Dee’s “Mr. Sandman” rewrite is utterly charming with a sparkling, Countrypolitain-style production (with The Anita Kerr singers on backup!). Frequent Jack Benny Show guest Gisele MacKenzie digs at Santa’s weight issues with the hilarious, hand-clappy “Too Fat for the Chimney”. Tunes like these make me want to head for the nearest Goodwill record bin, hoping to unearth a seasonal treasure (instead of the umpteenth beat-up copy of Firestone Wishes You A Merry Christmas). Basic Hip Digital Oddio has the entire Lenny Dee album available as an audio stream.

6 Thoughts on “Gruesome Twosome: Bad Santa Edition

  1. Ah, Lenny Dee. He had his own restaurant in Clearwater, Florida, where I grew up. Fine dining accompanied by live organ music. You’ve brought back a lot of memories, Matt, for which I will never forgive you.

  2. Vince, that’s awesome! Did you see the peppy organ virtuoso Dee of the ’50s or the EZ Listening country coverin’ Dee of the ’70s? Or something halfway between?

  3. You hit it right on the head, Matt. It was a bit of both. Lenny had reached the lounge lizard phase of his career, serving up peppy music in EZ Listening style with a few old jokes tossed in. At the time I felt I was being dragged there against my will. Now I’m sure I’d appreciate the showmanship.

  4. Cynthia on December 17, 2005 at 6:49 am said:

    I grew up with this Christmas album. It is one of THE BEST. I wish it was on CD. I am now a singer myself and credit albums like this with sparking my interest! There’s another great song on this album where Gisele sings Rudolph in French. My first foreign language song at age 5. Thanks for digging up the recording. If you could ever get the WHOLE album, it would be GRAND.

  5. skip thomasser on December 29, 2005 at 4:05 pm said:

    I am looking for an album by Lenny dee, has him in a T-Bird, with a ponytail blonde in a white/red swimsuit… don’t know the album name…

  6. Ah yes…”Christmas with Gisele” is a true treasure and ranks among the BEST holiday recordings EVER! With Gisele’s gift of perfect pitch, and that wonderful contralto voice, along with perfect arrangements by Ray Charles, and a wonderful cover pic by David B. Hecht, this entire production is a gem. “Too Fat for the Chimney” was picked as a single from this album, which competed with a Coral label version of the tune by Teresa Brewer. Cuts from this album appear every year on various artists holiday CD’s…with “Jingle Bells” appearing on several new releases this year (2007).

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