The king of rockabilly swing Brian Setzer has released two of the finest Christmas albums to ever grace my collection. I've picked 2002's Boogie Woogie Christmas to review here (but that doesn't mean 2005's Dig That Crazy Christmas is any less of an album). It's got everything you could ever want from a Christmas album, all wrapped up in a plastic jewel case. There's rockabilly, there's blues, there's a big band, there's croonin' and there's Setzer's incredible guitar playing. And even though it's a Christmas album, there's not a hint of cheesiness about it.
The diversity of the tracks included on here is incredible... from classic Christmas numbers to Hymns, from brand new Setzer songs to swingin' takes on winter themed classical music, it's all here.
There is more than a nod to the classic Elvis Presley Christmas album here too, as Brian just about out-Kings the King with his renditions of Blue Christmas and Santa Claus is Back in Town. He even manages a duet with Ann-Margaret, one time girlfriend of the burger King, and co-star of Viva Las Vegas.
Setzer breathes a breath of fresh air into his versions of Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride, all brought bang up to date with his brand of rockin' guitar led swing.... they can't fail to get you in the Christmas mood! His reworked 'highlights' medley of The Nutcracker Suite is also a revelation! Half Glen Miller half Stray Cats! It's really shouldn't work, but it really does! The new Setzer tracks slot into this album a treat, each one is an instant classic and sit perfectly next to the standards. The album finishes with a genuinely moving version of O Holy Night followed by The Amens. Both of which could sit proudly on any of Presley's gospel albums.
If you're tempted, this year Brian has released a 'best of' his Christmas albums 'Christmas Rock', which also includes a couple of previously unreleased gems. But if you're feeling flush, for a few measly quid extra you can get the deluxe version which comes with a full length Christmas concert DVD - an STILL get change from a tenner! You can buy in on Amazon HERE.
To finish, here's a couple of samplers from Boogie Woogie Christmas. Just try an stop those toes a-tappin!
SANTA CLAUS IS BACK IN TOWN: