Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - Yuletide Beatdotdotdotdot
artworkAfter two fine Christmas CD, you would think Los Straitjackets was done with the concept, but not only are they not done, they have really gone an extra mile here. Inventive arranging and exceptional playing (of course)! I think Yuletide Beat is only available directly from the label.
Picks: Deck The Halls, We Three Kings, Que Verdes Son, Joy To The World, Close To Christmas (The First Noel), Silent Night Rock, Jungle Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, Groovy Old Saint Nick, Soul'd Lang Syne

Track by Track Review

Deck The Halls dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Liberating the rhythm from The Bobby Fuller Four's version of "I Fought The Law" as a backdrop, Los Straitjackets once again show they can reinvent extremely common songs to become their own. really cool!

We Three Kings dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Double picked with glissandos and reverb, and sounding Japanese in delivery, "We Three Kings" is very cool. The backing track is Dick Dale's "Surf Beat," and that just adds interest. The break is crystalline and beautiful. Superb!

Que Verdes Son dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Que Verdes Son" ("O Christmas Tree") is played in lovely reverb against a wonderful pop backtrack that I think was influenced by Del Shannon's "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)." This is simply cool!

Joy To The World dotdotdot
Soul Garage Fuzz (Instrumental)

A bit of fuzz and twang, accompanied by sax, give a bit of raw garage edge to "Joy To The World." What's this bass line from? The backtrack is born of some Stax-Volt artist - maybe Otis Redding or perhaps Wilson Picket.

Close To Christmas (The First Noel) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The First Noel" is lovely over this pop backtrack. Suited for any Christmas gathering, and the side guitar break is very charming.

Silent Night Rock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The waves gently roll on the sand while the rich tremolo solos on the melody to open "Silent Night Rock." Once into the song, the speed doubles up and the rockabilly twang goes to town. Very fun!

Jungle Bells dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

"Buckaroo" serves as the backtrack to "Jungle Bells," which gives it a quaint and endearing country surf air. It's as if Don Rich was a member of Los Straitjackets. Entirely wonderful!

O Come All Ye Faithful dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Telstar" serves as the arrangement for "O Come All Ye Faithful," with the guitar modulated to simulate the organ in The Tornados hit. This is a very cool idea!

Groovy Old Saint Nick dotdotdotdot
Metal (Instrumental)

"Groovy Old Saint Nick" sounds like Led Zeppelin should have done it, but with charm. Slow and heavy, and with grins in tow, and when the slide comes along, well, it gives the song new meaning.

Soul'd Lang Syne dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

The title tells the story, with the groove behind the melody lifted from Tobin Mathews or someone... it's not he, but I can't place the correct artist. Anyway, groove across the new years with "Soul'd Lang Syne."