Boogie Woogie Christmas (LP)The Brian Setzer Orchestra

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Format: Vinyl LP

Borrowing arrangements and influences from Lionel Hampton, Al Hirt, Les Brown, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and even Kay Starr, Setzer's holiday disc is like a vintage car, custom-made to delight his longtime jitterbugging audience. The focal point of this hard-driving '40s retro-chic creation, however, is the bandleader's fiery guitar. As a player, Setzer is even more versatile now than during his rockabilly days fronting the Stray Cats. Granted, he'd be the first to admit that no one can top Elvis Presley on "Blue Christmas" or "Santa Claus Is Back in Town." Nevertheless, Setzer's solos on both could lead one to fantasize about how far into the stratosphere the King might've taken those songs if Setzer had been around to play guitar for him. Elvis's Viva Las Vegas costar Ann-Margret shows up to duet on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and Setzer finally gets to release a rendition of his own "So They Say It's Christmas," covered by Lou Rawls on the Jingle All the Way soundtrack. To paraphrase another holiday hipster, it's awfully close to Coolsville. --Bill Holdship
1Jingle Bells
2Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
3Winter Wonderland
4Blue Christmas
5Santa Claus Is Back In Town
6Baby It's Cold Outside
1The Nutcracker Suite
2(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag
3Sleigh Ride
4So They Say It's Christmas
5O Holy Night
6The Amens