Santa's Jukebox Part 2
by Kevin Wierzbicki
It's almost time for Santa Claus and his reindeer to head out on their trip around the globe to deliver toys, and you know St. Nick likes to keep the sleigh rocking with good tunes. Here's some of the music that's on Santa's playlist this year.
Noel in Extremis II - Various Artists
Yup, Jolly Old St. Nick likes to do a little head banging now and then, and he's ready to rock with this various artists compilation from metal acts. Kids the world over are fond of the song "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" but it's fairly certain none of them have heard it the way Vantablack Warship do it here where they shred so hard that listeners just may find those teeth rattling. Other delightful sugar plums on this set of (mostly) metal versions of holiday songs include a pummeling version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by Dizzygoth, a hopped-up take on Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" by Demonstone that's complete with a word only those on the naughty list would use, a blues rocking interpretation of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by The Lookout and a thrashy, Joan Jett-like "Cold Outside" by Rope Skills. Among the other contributors are Dirty Cheetah, Mr.82, Tunguska Mammoth, Nova Spei, Thrash La Reine, Reanimator and Obscursis Romancia.
Ron LeGault Quintet - Charlie Brown Goes to the Nutcracker
LeGault and his band have been performing his "Charlie Brown Goes to the Nutcracker" show live for more than a decade; now those who can't make it to the concerts can enjoy his jazzy takes on Charlie Brown favorites and selections from "The Nutcracker." Included are a hip take on "Surfin' Snoopy," the jaunty "Charlie Brown Theme" and of course a take on Vince Guaraldi's beloved "Linus and Lucy." "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" performed here as an instrumental, is just as sassy as the vocal version and the classic "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is a pure delight.
Alfredo Muro - The Spirit of Christmas
Muro is a Latin guitar virtuoso and Santa really digs his sublime instrumental takes on holiday classics "Silent Night," "White Christmas" and "O Come All Ye Faithful," performed here along with the Franz Schubert/Sir Walter Scott composition "Ava Maria" and Latin favorite "Villancico de Navidad." Santa plays this one to relax near the end of his run and those waiting for him to arrive will find it perfect for gazing at the tree on Christmas Eve.
The Tenors - Christmas with The Tenors
Don't worry about staying on key or trying to match the vocals of the four fabulous singers that make up The Tenors; go ahead and sing along to classics like the fun cuts "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" along with the jazzy, finger-popping "White Christmas," the quiet "Do You Hear What I Hear," Latin favorite "Feliz Navidad" and a soulful take on "What Christmas Means to Me My Love."
Portland Cello Project - Under the Mistletoe with Saeeda Wright
Here's a fantastic five-song EP from the Portland Cello Project with guest vocalist Saeeda Wright, famed for her work with Prince in the New Power Generation. Included are a buoyant take on "Winter Wonderland" as an instrumental while Wright wows on "What Child Is This?," "What Are You Doing For New Years?" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" An instrumental take on "O Holy Night" rounds out this fine outing.
Mickey Thomas - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" b/w "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Thomas is the voice behind hits like "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," "Find Your Way Back" and "We Built This City;" here he interprets two very famous and beloved holiday songs with a take on the relaxed "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and the swinging sleigh ride that is "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
From Ashes to New - "All I Want for Christmas is You"
Not many holiday songs from the last couple of decades are classics but this extremely popular song by Mariah Carey is the biggest. So, it's no wonder that others like to cover it; here From Ashes to New rock the cut up pretty good, shredding away so hard that it just might knock the Santa cap right off your head.
Ladytron - "All Over By Xmas"
Liverpool electro-poppers offer an original holiday song here; "All Over by Xmas" is a mid-tempo, upbeat track that takes a mellow stroll while snow gently flutters down. Well, that's what it seems like anyway, and you'll want to sing along.
The Shredderz - "I Can't Remember Christmas"
Don't let the opening of this song, a few bars of the sedate "O Holy Night," fool you; this original cut about being too drunk to remember Christmas rocks hard after the brief intro. "Santa Claus missed our house..." Yeah we've all felt like that once upon a time.
The Dollyrots - "Auld Lang Syne"
When Christmas is over and it's time to ring in a new year, do it with this punk rocking take on the New Year's Eve favorite "Auld Lang Syne," complete with singer Kelly Ogden adding some advice to start the year. "Here's what we're gonna do, we're gonna take this year by the ears! We're going to get up every single morning and do one thing that makes us feel better. Then we're going to do one thing that makes somebody else feel better!" Now that's a happy New Year!