released October 27, 2010
Baby It’s Cold Outside Video:
Silver Bells Video
Jon Dryden – Piano
Tim Luntzel – Upright Bass
Andrew Borger – Drums
Leah Siegel – Vocal on Baby It’s Cold Outside
Jim Campilongo – Electric Guitar on Rudolf
Teodross Avery – Saxaphone on Merry Christmas Baby!
Tanesha Gary, Josette Newsam-Marchak, Bobby Lewis – Choir on I Pray on Christmas
Musical Arrangements – Jon Dryden
Choir Arrangement – Bobby Lewis
Produced by Ken Webb
Recorded at Mission Sound, Brooklyn, NY
Engineered by Oliver Straus
Mixed by Oliver Strauss and Ken Webb
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC
Cover Image: Jingles – Breyer ®2001 Holiday Horse.
Cover image courtesy of Breyer Animal Creations®
Photos by Lane Savage
Design by Ken Webb
Courtney King, John Terelle, Mikael Sundin,
Alexander Nanfara, Patricia and Elliott Webb.
The Story behind Christmas Pony
As a singer and lover of Christmas music it was only a matter a time before Ken got around to making a Christmas album. It was at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City (July 2008) while watching his friend’s jazz trio “Jon Dryden’s Pony” that the idea was born. The trio consisted of Jon Dryden on Piano, Tim Luntzel on Bass and Dan Rieser on Drums. It occurred to Ken that no matter what song they were covering it reminded him of the Vince Guaraldi Peanut’s Christmas Record (and none of the songs they were covering were Christmas songs). It was a small step from this idea to deciding this was the band he wanted to record his Christmas album with. Another small step from there was the idea to call the record “Christmas Pony”. Isn’t that one of the most popular wishes for the ultimate Christmas gift? “Daddy, I want a pony for Christmas!” And so the clean and simple idea was born.
Ken first approached the band in October 2008 with the proposition and it was received warmly. But, that holiday season came and went and the idea remained floating in the air. It wasn’t until the following November that the approaching holiday season once again stoked the fire of this concept. Dryden and Webb started discussing with determination plans to make it happen. On December 10th 2009, Ken Webb and Jon Dryden’s Pony entered Mission Sound in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Record “Christmas Pony”. Unfortunately, the usual drummer of the trio, Dan Rieser, had a busy December and was unable be part of this session. So, the regular sub for drummer of the trio (Andrew Borger) stepped in. The engineer was studio owner, Oliver Straus , who has reported starting the day in a terrible mood. It didn’t take long before he was unable to maintain such a bad disposition because the music was so contagiously upbeat and fun. It was record-breaking day for Mission Sound because in one session, the band recorded 20 songs. It was an old school live jazz recording and that energy comes across when you listen to the recording. As Eli Wolf, Vice President of A&R at Blue Note Records has said about Christmas Pony, “It’s swinging and jolly in all the right ways.”
On top of the basic trio tracks recorded that day, Ken wanted to add a few decorations in the form of overdubs to some of the songs. On I Pray of Christmas, a Harry Connick Jr. penned song from his When My Heart Finds Christmas album, Ken went to the Bobby Lewis Ensemble to add some authentic gospel choir flavor. On Merry Christmas Baby! Ken asked Teodross Avery to lend his sultry, bluesy saxophone stylings to the cocktail. ForRudolf, Ken invited Jim Campilongo to bring some bouncy Jazzy telecaster electric guitar to the party. And for the duet on Baby it’s Cold Outside, Ken asked Leah Siegel to bring her sexiest 50s starlet voice to the mix.
The resulting album is an 18 song (50 minute) full length EP that is one stop shopping for fresh Christmas music at your next dinner party. It’s a genuine classic with a fresh spirit.
Finally, there are two points of originality that need mention. First is Baby it’s Cold Outside. Currently, there are about 100 versions of this song on Itunes and all of them have the traditional roles of the bashful female and the seducing male. Ken thought it would be both funny and fresh to reverse the roles and have the female be the pleading seducer and the male be the bashful one trying to maintain his virtue. And the result is successfully unique and ironic. What straight foolish male would want to leave such a sexy sounding temptress when it’s so cold outside?
And the second point of originality, in an otherwise traditional holiday recording, is the song Ken wrote for the album. Wanting to find a unique way into the Christmas season, Ken had a clever idea. Why not address the circumstance of someone newly sober facing the booziest time of year for the first time? And thus “First Christmas Without You” was born. It begins sounding like a song describing a broken love affair but when the chorus hits we learn the singer is speaking about his relationship to the bottle and to drinking. It’s ultimately a humorous and sweet look at someone saying goodbye to an old friend who has taught him some lessons but is no longer part of his life, for the better.
October 27, 2010 marks the birth of Ken Webb’s Christmas Pony. He hopes it becomes a permanent part of your holiday celebration and adds an additional bit of light to the brightest time of the year!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!