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Christmas Jug Band

Jugology Greatest Near Misses (Best Of...) – 2014 (Globe)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Christmas Jug Band

Many times when tracking holiday albums, artists will include either a funny or overtly religious Christmas tune, right along with the usual familiar aural wrappings. Christmas Jug Band, however, has taken the Weird Al approach to tracking their seasonal album, as all of these songs are either fun or funny. The disc is mainly a collection of previous released holiday tunes plus two previously unreleased songs.

A dead giveaway about this album's fast and frivolous tone is the presence of Dan Hicks. He sings lead on six songs, including the accordion-laced, call-and-response approach of "Christmas Time Is Here."

Also, unlike the majority of holiday albums where the song choices are mostly retreads and reruns, there are very few overly familiar tracks on this disc. One finds "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas," which has appeared on a few country Christmas albums of late, and a new take on Rudolph's story with "Rudolf the Bald Headed Reindeer." But for the most part, this should be a lot of new music for most.

This group is stocked with like-minded musicians that like to throw a little swing into their season. For instance, Maria Muldaur boogies and woogies with "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus." This music is so lively at times you may even forget you're listening to a Christmas album. And maybe that's the whole point. Why do people need to suddenly act all holy and righteous during the Christmas season when they're usually not that way at all the rest of the year? If you want to laugh and dance your way into Dec. 25, Christmas Jug Band's "Jugology" is your golden ticket.