Holiday Music

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Making Christmas hip

Must Be Santa! The Rounder Christmas Album
Must Be Santa! The Rounder Christmas Album
By various artists

Rounder Records: 1995

Bullseye Blues Christmas
Bullseye Blues Christmas
By various artists

Bullseye / Rounder Records: 1995

This review first appeared in the December 1, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Do you hate Perry Como? Want to burn every cardigan sweater in your dad's closet when you hear Bing singing "White Christmas"? Wonder why Christmas has to be so, well, unhip?

Chill, then, and check out these collections of new and old seasonal music that rock out with soul and passion.

From Charles Brown's remake of his classic "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home For Christmas" to Little Jimmy King's blistering "Happy Christmas Tears" and Preston Shannon's suggestive "X-Mas Blues," the "Bullseye Blues Christmas" may not be the traditional fare Aunt Madge expects over pumpkin pie, but it's some of the best blues, soul and R&B you'll find anywhere.

"Must Be Santa!" ranges from the traditional country of Barry and Holly Tashian to the gospel of Irma Thomas and folk of John McCutcheon through the zydeco of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas and rock 'n' roll of George Thorogood. Despite the disparate styles, there's an underlying holiday groove here that ties it all together.