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Call off the dogs, the hunt is over

November 26, 2007

I try to buy a cool Christmas album every year. Yes, there are such things. Brad Paisley’s Christmas album from last year is a delight for any lover of hot country Telecaster picking. Brian Setzer IS Santa Claus, and Setzer’s evil twin Rev. Horton Heat has a wonderful Christmas album hotter than any chestnut from any open fire. Ray Charles, Elvis, Chris Isaak, Emmylou Harris and others get played in the house and the cars a lot between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I wasn’t sure what to buy this year, but my brother twisted my arm until I bought one from a favorite: ‘Tis The Season for Los Straitjackets.

Paisley covers the Tele Twang thing perfectly, while Setzer and Heat bring the Gretsch twang. Los Straitjackets bring the surfy twang to the fore. Turn down the overdrive, crank the reverb and lean heavy on that wiggle stick. Of course, they do a faithful cover of the Ventures’ take on Sleigh Ride but equally fun are the melding of the Chantays’ Pipeline with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and the fun marriage of Feliz Navidad to La Bamba.

Equal portions of Dick Dale, the Ventures and Link Wray with a dash of lounge added for spicy fun, this instrumental Christmas album is sure to be on repeat in this house for years to come. My main criterion for a Christmas record is that the artist should have fun with the material – who needs one more utterly reverent version of Silent Night? Los Straitjackets have fun with everything they do, so this is a no-brainer.  My only complaint is that I wish the album were twice as long, but then I’d want it twice as long again.

NPR just aired an interview with Los Straitjackets and Big Sandy about their most recent album, Rock en Español, on fresh air.  Danny Amis (Daddy-O Grande) speaks about his affinity for the Spanish language rock records (he collects them) that inspired the album.  It’s a cool interview, and the guitarists (Daddy-O and Eddie Angel) play acoustic versions of some of the songs from the album.  It’s great!

Now, crank the volume and pass that egg nog over here.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2007 9:35 pm

    Brian Setzer’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” is the best Christmas song ever . . .

  2. November 27, 2007 2:34 am

    I love Reverend Horton Heat’s “We Three Kings” CD. That was surprisingly good.

  3. The ArachNerd permalink
    November 27, 2007 7:47 am

    Even better is the fact that none of the band members have any Mexican heritage or connection except a love for those old spanish-language rock cover albums. It was a good interview (also inspired me to purchase a Big Sandy CD, which will probably be a “what’s on the ipod” entry in the next few days.)

    Add to that list Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s “Everything You Want for Christmas” & BNL’s “Barenaked for the Holidays” and you’ve got a good portion of our Christmas music rotation as well.

    Now of course you know I need a copy of that, right? Diana Krall’s “Christmas Songs” is on the way – I ordered it this weekend.

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