I don’t have a lot of shame when it comes to music I love; if I like it, I like it, and that’s that. But I have some shame when it comes to this: my favorite Christmas album is not a classic, and it’s not even kitschy-clever indie rock covers of classic songs. It’s a novelty album by a Baltimore native, David DeBoy, and it’s called Crabs for Christmas. Yeah. I know. I’m ashamed to know myself too.
It’s the sort of album that has an incredibly narrow target audience; Baltimore natives or Baltimore residents who have a certain sort of punny, twisted sense of humor and a passive-aggressive love-hate relationship with the city. Baltimore is as good at loving its ghosts and scars as it is at loving its human residents and current triumphs, and there’s a sort of bemused, begrudging, black humor that goes with a Baltimore birth (or long residency). It’s a city that gets under your skin; you shouldn’t love it, but you do. It leaves fingerprints on your skin, Baltimore does. It hates well, but it loves better.
And I feel the same way about this album: I shouldn’t love it, but I do. It’s cheesy and vaguely appalling, and I adore it. It’s my default go-to album for the holiday season. And if you haven’t lived in Baltimore, you’ll probably hate it.
[David DeBoy — “O Little Town Of Baltimore”] 3MB, .mp3
[David DeBoy — “Aluminum Christmas Tree”] 3MB, .mp3.
[David DeBoy — “Crabs for Christmas”] 4MB, .mp3.
[David DeBoy — “One More Festivus1“] 3MB, .mp3.
Also, it has kazoos. Come on, I’m not made of stone.
Ha, I wrote this post last week, and then the Maternal Unit sent me Rick Dempsey’s Home Run Holiday; Dempsey of course being an ex-Orioles catcher and the 1983 World Series MVP. So now I have two kitschy Baltimore Christmas albums! EXCELLENT.
1: “festivus” was ex-ravens’ coach brian billick’s code word for the playoffs during the 2000/1 season; he wouldn’t let the players say “playoffs” and the ravens made a mint in tacky festivus-themed merch. i own a t-shirt. i’m not proud of that, either.
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