The Reverend Horton Heat – We Three Kings (Christmas Favorites)
It was either this or the William Shatner xMas album that came out last year. But as much as I love The Shat, I couldn’t turn down a bit of rockabilly holiday. Add to that the fact that I just saw The Reverend for their Holiday Hayride show in Boston a week ago and it was a no-brainer.
If you’re not familiar with The Reverend Horton Heat, think The Stray Cats but with a couple felonies under their belts – one of their “hits,” such as they were, was titled “Bales Of Cocaine.” It is a purer, more punk-oriented approach to redneck rock’n’roll and they’ve been doing it for nearly 35 years.
They take on a bunch of standards here – a psychobilly instrumental “Jingle Bells,” a Batman-influenced “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” and a fairly straightforward “Silver Bells.” There’s a cover of Buck Owens’s “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy,” a rocking version of the title track, and they plow through “Santa Bring My Baby Back” in two minutes flat.
The good Reverend includes an original composition here, as well – the panic-inducing (for the little kid narrator of the song) cautionary tale designed just so Dad can hit the egg nog early on xMas eve. There’s an interesting arrangement on “Rudolph,” and even more so on “What Child Is This” by way of Dick Dale.
This is a real fun xMas album l, but I’m afraid it doesn’t always play nice with others. I’ve got the whole thing in my Happy Holidays Playlist, of course, but it can be a little jarring having it on shuffle and hearing some traditional choral piece segue into heavy rockabilly. It’s not a bad thing at all – just enough to keep you on your toes.
(Day 11 Bonus: Dave Alvin performing with The Reverend Horton Heat in Boston 05 December 2019.)
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Tune in for tomorrow for the next installment in the 12 Days Of xMas Music.
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Until next time, keep those discs spinning. Merry Christmas and all the rest…