Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - 'Tis The Season For Los Straitjacketsdotdotdotdot
artworkFinally, an entire CD of Christmas songs from the masked marauders of cool Yule! Like the Ventures before them, they use arrangements from other songs behind the melodies, but with the chemistry these geezers have and the grins that are permanently glued to their mugs, it's simply an irresistible CD. Pete Curry engineered and mixed this fine holiday album.
Picks: Here Comes Santa Claus, A Marshmallow World, Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bell Rock, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Frosty The Snowman, Christmas In Las Vegas, Let It Snow, Sleigh Ride, Christmas Weekend, Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Song

Track by Track Review

Here Comes Santa Claus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Incorporating the basic intro and break to "Car Hop," Los Straitjackets play one fiery and pumped version of "Here Comes Santa Claus." The double picked verse is very cool! It's grand and mighty chunky!

A Marshmallow World dotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

This venerable Christmas song gets the masked treatment, starting with the kernel of the Ventures idea, and morphing into the crunch and punch of Los Straitjackets. A pretty straight ahead arrangement and a less than their usual inspired performance on this track. I expected more puff in the marshmallow.

Feliz Navidad dotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

"La Bamba" provides the underpinning for this spicy and grodie cover of "Feliz Navidad." More fun than a barrel of monkeys on Christmas eve.

Jingle Bell Rock dotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Big drum thunder and bass thump kick start "Jingle Bell Rock" with a grumble that offsets the grodie rhythm and straight lead. Fine cover.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer dotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Latin percussion and rhythm gives this arrangement of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" a whole new attitude. Like a green and red pinata full of good cheer, this track brings a grin and a promise of good things to come.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen dotdotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

"Pipeline" underpins this very cool surf reinvention of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Very catchy and fun, it has bounce and extremely cool sound. Excellent!

Frosty The Snowman dotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums rumble into a bouncy western swing reinvention of "Frosty The Snowman." It's hard not to grin at this one, boys and girls!

Christmas In Las Vegas dotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Ah, the Italian pop sensibilities... what a screwball idea. Rich guitar melody over frothy sidewalk cafe backing. Imagine playing a romantic lead over a silly Istanbul-ish back track... it's kinda like that. Dig the groove!

Let It Snow dotdotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

"It's A Wonderful Halibut " lent the backtrack to this seasonal fave. Smooth and warm, "Let It Snow" is very suave and grins widely. The damped pluck verse is like Lawrence Welk on a 12 foot face. Great stuff!

Sleigh Ride dotdotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

A great rendition of the Ventures arrangement. The performance is top-drawer Los Straitjackets, fiery and humorous. The lead guitar tones are great, with vibrato oscillating in your ears. I love this track. These guys are soooo good! Very cool indeed.

Christmas Weekend dotdotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Link Wray provides long leaning notes to the inspiration for the backtrack as this Los Straitjackets original twangs with Eddie Angel / Danny Amis charm. Extra crunchy and edgy. Big twang too!

Little Drummer Boy dotdotdotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums under primal twang gives "Little Drummer Boy" a whole new meaning. As the bass grumbles in and the chords stretch out with distorted ringing sustain, it takes on a dark and menacing sound. Great!

The Christmas Song dotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

Soft and slushy, slow and misty, "The Christmas Song" is just plain smooth. You momma can dig this one!