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researching this piece, I've read a number of unfavorable reviews of Please
Mr. Santa Claus (1990), a brief, 9-song outing by Austin-via-Washington D.C. axe
Johns & His H-Bombs. Most of them mention the fact that it just doesn't "sound" like
a Christmas record. Well, the simple fact of the matter is that most of the songs on Please
Mr. Santa Claus are either original or instrumental or both. Hence, their unfamiliarity
is more the problem than any lack of quality. Really people - it's called perspective,
Mr. Santa Claus was originally released on (red!) vinyl by Austin-based Jungle
Records, then rereleased by Rykodisc during Johns' brief association with the label.
Frankly, I think it's a peach of a record - roots rock at its merriest, though modest
to a fault. And, it's an unintended
only one song: simply
put, he has a
voice only a frog could love...
Mr. Santa Claus maintains an easygoing balance between John's jocular personality
song) and his impressive six-string pyrotechnics ("Mule Size Yuletide"). Whether
he's spicing up the classics ("Little
Cajun Drummer Boy") or sending St. Nick to the moon (the guitar rock classic "Telstar," which
I suppose makes sense in light of all those TV weathermen who track St. Nick's progress
via radar on Christmas Eve), Evan Johns and his merry band, including guitarist
Mark Korpi and fiddler Champ Hood, consistently create
an unconventional - but always agreeable - holiday mood.
Mr. Santa Claus doesn't sound familiar,
listen to the final track, "Santa's Little Helper," a few dozen times.
See if it doesn't put you in the mood for something merry. Conjuring images of hyperkentic
shoppers, the song earns a spot in the Christmas canon next to Leroy Anderson's
"Sleigh Ride." And that, familiar or not, is a solid gold recommendation. [top of page]
- Little Cajun Drummer Boy
- Mule Size Yuletide
Please Mr. Santa Claus
Santa's Little Helper
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