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Deadbeat Poets record local Christmas favorite
December 23, 2011 - Andy Gray
One of my all-time favorite rock Christmas songs is “Christmastime in Painesville,” which was recorded by Mahoning Valley band Slack Jaw in the mid-‘90s. Those who were loyal listeners to the modern rock radio station The End 107.9 FM in Cleveland will remember the band’s regional radio hit “I Could Crack (Anytime).”
“Painesville,” which also got a fair amount of regional airplay around the holidays, was a hidden bonus track on Slack Jaw’s “Father Misery” CD in 1995 and has been out of print ever since.
John Koury, who co-wrote the song and sang lead vocals, now is drummer for the Deadbeat Poets, and that band re-recorded the tune for its holiday EP “A Deadbeat Christmas.”
The new arrangement has a more power pop sound, but the magic of the song is preserved. Koury sings, “Even Charlie Brown’s Christmas couldn’t pull me from this dive,” but Pete Drivere’s guitar just might.
The song is paired with the Poets’ irreverent “Drunk at Christmas Mass,’’ Frank Secich/Terry Hartman track which is built on a climbing drum/bass riff that reminiscent of Green Day’s “Longview,” at least on the verse.
Both tracks are worth adding to any Christmas compilation (the other two tracks on the EP are instrumental intros to the two main songs). The songs can be downloaded from iTunes and Amazon, and the EP is available through Pop Detective Records. And considering the band’s relationship with Little Steven’s Underground Garage – Deadbeat Poets’ songs have been picked twice for “Coolest Song of the Week” on the nationally syndicated radio show – maybe “Painesville” will be included if the label puts together another Christmas compilation album like 2008’s “Little Steven’s Underground Garage Christmas A Go Go.”
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