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Christmas 2006: The Stars and the Turkeys

We've listed festive albums and singles in order of star rating. Best first.

December 2006

MUNGO Comfort And Joy (Crash Records M001S)

Well, it takes just one single to shake up the general dross that purports to be a Christmas No.1 (hello Ricky Tomlinson).

Mungo's festive offering sounds like Maddy Prior (remember 'All Around My Hat') and the Sex Pistols in 'Pretty Vacant' mode.

And if the vocalist doesn't know whether to be aforementioned Maddy or Debbie Harry, we can forgive her that. On the video she comes across as a rather funky Vicar of Dibley. There's also a second track, 'Should Be Christmas Everyday'.

It's Punk meets Santa and a great track to deck the halls with. Holly. Er, what else? ****

Review by David Randall

HEART A Lovemonger's Christmas Eagle Records (2006)

Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson have the Lovemongers as their more acoustic based band and this Christmas collection first saw the light of day back in 2004 under the Lovemongers name, although it gets a re-release here under the more marketable Heart banner.

It's a mix of new songs and some traditional tunes including a spine tingling version of 'Ave Maria'. 'Here Is Christmas' and 'Christmas Waits' just show what soothing and melodic voice the Wilson sisters have, although 'Let's Stay In' veers to close to jazz/lounge music for my personal taste.

A quiet and melodic Christmas album, not a party album by any means and one that will appeal to Heart's longer standing fans, those that enjoy the band's 70's folk tinged output.


Review by Jason Ritchie

THREE DAYS WAIT Star Of Bethlehem

And the out and out winners in this years Christmas special are Christian rockers Three Days Wait who have put together an enthralling set of new songs reaffirming the real message of Christmas.

Working in the classic rock idiom of Dave Matthews Band and Collective Soul, these are songs that will be a pleasure to listen to at any time of the year. There's a funky Spin Doctors type vibe to a lot of the material topped off wih the rich voice of Nathan Wagner.

They jump genres sometimes with the delightful and self explanatory 'Snow Blues' and 'Blue Grass Christmas' and deftly drop some traditional lyrical motifs into some of th songs to aid assimilation.

A delightful record. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

TWISTED SISTER A Twisted Christmas

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, the thud behind the letterbox heralds the arrival of a Twisted Sister Christmas album. Yes, really.

Now I've been a card carrying SMF since '82 but sometimes you can go too far, even in the over the top world of Twisted Sister. On the plus side they haven't tried to write new Xmas songs, sticking to the classics. But there is some unmitigated shite here.

But it is the season of goodwill, so let's look for the pearls. 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful' is played to the tune of 'We're Not Gonna Take It', they drag Doro in for a bilingual butchering of 'White Christmas' which is so beyond awful that it comes nearly full circle. Somehow they've persuaded Lita Ford out of retirement to sing on 'I'll Be Home For Christmas', but hopefully they don't have electricity on her island paradise.

The SMF sound returns for 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus', a sentence I could never have conceived of writing even in my worst drug fuelled paranoid attack. They take a War Pigs approach to 'Let It Snow' - please, let me go, I'm a good boy, I am.

If you get really, really drunk, invite your drunkest rocker friends over, get them drunker than they've ever been then play them the metal 12 days of Christmas, a good time is assured. Which is probably the point. ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

VARIOUS A Santa Cause It's a Punk Rock Christmas Vol. 2

You won't be surprised to learn that this is the cunningly titled follow up to 'A Santa Cause Vol 1'. This time you're getting 22 US alternative acts chundering through a variety of new and old Christmas tunes.

Being American bands they've a fairly liberal interpretation of punk but if you are looking for something other than your secret Daniel O'Donnell collection to play you could find pleasure in the likes of The Format - "Holly Jolly Christmas", Spitalfield - "It's Cold Out There", Hot Rod Circuit - "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", The Finals - "Last Christmas" and MC Lars - "Gary The Green Nosed Raindeer".

Like most compilations it veers from the brilliant to the bilesome but, lord knows, it beats The Best Christmas Album In The World Ever Ever Exclusive To Tesco into a cocked Santa hat. ***

Review by Stuart A Hamilton


TV star Ricky Tomlinson throws his hat into the ring for this year's UK Christmas number one single and he has good odds although the X-Factor winner is always the bookies choice at this time of year.

This tune bemoans all that is Christmas - same crap on TV, arguing relatives - the bad side of the season in other words. Set to a Quo-like beat its listenable but like the turkey at Christmas I am sure you'd be throwing this away come the New Year! **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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