By Rhetta Akamatsuy
Many people, when they think of Christmas music, think of the same traditional, well-loved but well-worn songs we hear year after year.
Other lucky people think of The Christmas Jug Band.
The Christmas Jug Band has included many musicians over the years. This collection lists 23 in the credits. Seventeen of the 19 songs included come from the albums Mistletoe Jam, Treeside Hoot, Rhythm On The Roof, Uncorked, and On The Holiday Highway, recorded between 1986-2009. The other two songs are new, never available for download or on CD. These two new songs are “Santa Claus Is My Main Man” and “I’m Dreamin’ Of a Wet Christmas,” and they fit into the fun and funny mode of the rest of the Jug Band’s stuff.
The musical style here is typical jug band, a sort of jazzy swing. The lyrics are playful, funny, and sometimes slightly naughty. For instance, one of this reviewer’s favorite Christmas songs of all time is the suggestive “Santa Lost a Ho,” with vocalist Dan Hicks singing the irrepressible tune. It tells the tale of how Santa suffered an unprecedented loss. (“He never had a doll go AWOL once he olhad her in the sack.”) That’s as naughty as it gets, so if you can handle that you can handle The Christmas Jug Band.
Other favorites here include “Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit,” “Hey! Santa,” and the band’s unique take on “Carolin’.” Then there is “S.A.N.T.A. (Gloria),” which you may recognize as the raver by Van Morrison and Them from back in the day. You will never hear it the same again.
There are a few less deliciously silly moments, like a dynamic version of “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” with vocals by Maria Muldaur, and a relatively straight rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” “Jug Band Romance” is a sweet little song about a Christmas Eve Jug Band romance in the ’20s. Then there is the certainly silly enough “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” which just does not work as well when sung by grown men.
I firmly believe that even Scrooge before his ghostly visits would have had to laugh along with The Christmas Jug Band. It’s the perfect holiday record unless your friends are incredibly uptight. And why would you have friends like that?
Get this CD and get ready to sing and dance along all the way to Christmas day.
This review was originally posted on Blogcritics at