ON THE MOUNTAIN (Universal South)
UNCORKED (Globe) The
Christmas Jug Band
BELLS The Gypsy Hombres
little tricky getting in the Yuletide spirit six weeks out. I always wondered
what it would be like to cut Christmas albums in the summertime, like
so many artists do...but it's coming over me, I feel it now. (Quick, somebody
buy me something!)
on the Mountain pivots on the Del McCoury Band in a couple of forms,
and a host of cameos by Doc Watson, Tim O'Brien, Mac Wiseman, The Osborne
Brothers, Cyndi Wheeler, and The GrooveGrass Boyz. It's dedicated to the
memory of Gene Wooten, "The King of the Carolina Dobro Players." It's
hella good clean fun with lots of high points. I like Tim O'Brien's "Bah
Humbug" and "Christmas Memories" by Mac Wiseman and the Groovegrass Boyz
especially, and a super instrumental version of "Auld Lang Syne," excellent.
It's a definite stocking stuffer for the year that bluegrass kicked ass.
Hombres are an incendiary trio in the Hot Jazz style of Django Reinhardt,
as the CD title indicates. This disc is ten smokin versions of an offbeat
and entertaining bunch of Christmas tunes, mostly traditional but with
a few exceptions like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Dance of the
Sugar Plum Fairy" from the Nutcracker Suite, which really rocks. There's
lots of fluid improvising in great humor from violinist/producer Peter
Hyrka and guitarist Justin Thompson, as well as from Dave Spicher on bass.
World class musicians doing their very whacked holiday thing, this was
#1 at Tower here for a bunch of weeks last year. Check out our other Gypsy
Hombres review, and their website,
where you can (and you must) put this in your collection.
The Christmas Jug Band includes one of our favorite artists, Dan Hicks.
This is really different, these are classic Marin County knuckleheads,
and the songs are super funny. It starts off with Paul Rogers' fabulous
"Santa Lost a Ho" and rolls right into Dan Hicks scatting on "Santa's
Workshop," love it! Oh, man, every one of these tunes is great, here's
Austin "Audie" de Lone crooning his "Hey Santa." There are modern goofball
Xmas classics all over this record. Got to have it, man! This is my personal
favorite, but all three are must have discs for this Christmas, to spruce
it up. Get it on, Scrooge, and buy some new Christmas music for the house.
(I like Nat King Cole, too, but we need some New ones!) FG
to clips artists