Twelve Songs of Christmas

Los Straitjackets, and The Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight”

January 3, 2019

Los Straitjackets' Christmas albums--2002’s ‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets and 2009’s Yuletide Beat--are inventive in a way that you don't expect from surf rock and might not expect from Christmas music. They're respectful of their tradition, so much so that their version of "Sleigh Bells" owes a lot to The Ventures' version from 1965. But they're not hamstrung by their respect for their genre and open with "La Bamba" en route to "Feliz Navidad." 

In the recent Christmas season, the band released Los Straitjackets' Complete Christmas Songbook, which also includes loose tracks including a live version of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus & Lucy" recorded in 2015 when the band spent the Christmas season on tour backing Nick Lowe.

Guitarist Eddie Angel talks to host Alex Rawls about Nick Lowe, Christmas shows, mash-up arrangements, and his relationship to Christmas music. The show also includes Christmas music by The Ventures and Nick Lowe.

The episode also features the return of Nashville songwriter Jim McCormick to talk about The Band's "Christmas Must Be Tonight." The song from 1977's Islands is sincere in a way that most Christmas rock and pop isn't, and it prompts Jim and Alex to talk about The Band, Bob Dylan and his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart, and one of the many roles Christmas music plays in the culture. 

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