Album: Reverend Horton Heat <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

There's always room for a spot of rockabilly at Christmas, though given the chance I'd prefer the more deranged approach of The Cramps to this rather polite offering from Jim Heath, aka the Reverend Horton Heat. As you'd expect, his version of "Santa Bring My Baby Back" is pretty faithful to its Elvis origins, although his "Run Rudolph Run" is pallid by comparison with Chuck Berry's. There's plenty of rimshot'n'twang on surf-guitar instrumentals of "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland", while "What Child Is This" is actually a polka-billy surf guitar instrumental version of "Greensleeves". Feverish guitar and piano breaks liven up billy-fied readings of "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", but the languid twang of Heat's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is spoilt by an overlong, meandering conclusion, during which the song virtually unravels. Elsewhere, the album comprises a somewhat queasy mix of cornball kitsch like "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy" and maudlin, draggy versions of standards like "Silver Bells" and Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper" that don't reach the tasteless heights/depths of the John Waters album.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Santa Bring My Baby Back", "Frosty the Snowman"