Music Roundup: New Holiday CDs
At the end of every year, we see a new slate of holiday CDs. Some will be entertaining new takes on the Christmas music we all know and love; some will be lame retreads. Here are five new holiday discs made to please the kiddies.
Robert Burke Warren (a.k.a. Uncle Rock) can generally be counted upon to take a classic kids' song, rough it up, and churn it back out as pure, bare-bones rock music. Here, though, he takes a surprisingly conventional approach, giving us some very nice acoustic covers of "Feliz Navidad" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." He even successfully tackles the iconic "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." His three original tunes, though (especially the raucous "Too Many Presents") prove to be the picks of the bunch, though.
Various Artists: Putumayo Presents A Family Christmas
World music label Putumayo puts their signature melting-pot spin on this absolutely joyful compilation. These are all songs you've heard before, but with a delightful spin that comes from their interpretation through different musical genres. Kate Rusby puts a Celtic twist on "Here We Come A-Wassailing," Brave Combo layers a polka beat under "Jolly Old St. Nick," and the soulful Leon Redbone performs one of the best version of "Let It Snow" ever.
Each of these men has delivered great children's CD individually, but here they team up for a not-so-serious, multi-denominational holiday celebration. There's an interesting mix of rock-tinged originals and jokingly performed classics (like a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that starts off with a pickle and gets stranger from there). And Yosi tosses in a handful of Hanukkah songs as well. Not every track will light your Yule log, but some are flat-out fantastic, especially the kickin' punk version of "Frosty the Snowman" and a sped-up, electric rendition of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" -- which is apparently this year's favorite song to cover.
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