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Brian Setzer

Dig That Crazy Christmas – 2005 (Surfdog)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer is a unique character in American music. He loved big 1band music as a teen and then gained fame in the rockabilly Stray Cats in the early Eighties ("Rock This Town"). Now, Setzer is the leader of a rockabilly big band that produced the hit "Jump, Jive, an' Wail."

This is Setzer's second Christmas album in 3 years, following up on 2002's "Boogie Woogie Christmas," and it treads the same territory of swingin' beats, horns and electric guitar. "Angels We Have Heard on High" is a fascinating take on a traditional church choir song, adding a driving drumbeat and a surf guitar, with the church choir stuck in the middle. "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a great, fun choice that's too-seldom heard on Christmas albums. "Jingle Bell Rock" is a much more obvious pick, and the straight-ahead performance evokes Bobby Helms' classic rendition. "Cool Yule" and "Dig That Crazy Santa Claus" are enjoyable upbeat ditties perfect for swing dancing.

If you're a cat that likes your Christmas music mixed with a healthy dose of electric guitar and a swingin' beat, you'll love either of Setzer's Christmas albums.