Review: Bloodshot Records’ 13 Days of Xmas

Bloodshot Records' 13 Days Of Xmas

Bloodshot Records are about to release their first ever Christmas album: Bloodshot Records’ 13 Days of Xmas. To give you a flavour of what to expect, I think it is worth including a quote from their website:

Since 1994, Bloodshot Records has championed the music that lurks between genres. We’ve always been drawn to the good stuff nestled in the dark, nebulous cracks where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock n roll mix and mingle and mutate. We like artists who work over American roots forms with chains and velvet gloves with little regard for formality or protocol, who aren’t afraid to molest and caress these forms and take music into uncharted and exciting waters…

Bloodshot Records 13 Days Of ChristmasI think it’s safe to say, they have delivered a Christmas compilation that very much, “lurks between the genres”.

The album delivers a mixture of Christmas classics and original compositions. I use the word “classics” even though it doesn’t really describe what you will hear because it is a significantly better fit than “traditional”. As you would expect from the description above, even with a tune you recognise, you’re going to get anything but “traditional”. What you will get is something for everyone… assuming everyone likes their Christmas songs slightly off kilter. With such a diverse range to choose from, I am just going to mention a few of my favourites.

The second song in is by Barrence Whitfield and the Savages: “Papa Barrence’s Christmas”. Mr Whitfield claims to be both “Papa Barrance” and “Santa Claus”, albeit “Santa Claus with soul”. I don’t know the man but I suppose it is possible that he is St. Nicholas. Whoever he is, he delivers a Christmas song with jingle bells and jangly guitars.

Next up is “Christmas Carol, Christmas Ray” by Jon Langford and His Men of Gwent which is about as far from soul as you can get! The best description I can offer is melancholy fun! I was slightly put off by a line early on in the song that goes:

“My nostril finger will succeed. No church for me I have a nose bleed”.

Eeweeew! I know little boys are disgusting but what Jon does with his “nostril finger” is not a picture I wish to have in mind when thinking of Christmas! However, all was forgiven later on when he sings about gravy and peas and rhymes it with “For those in peril on settees”. Genius.

By far and away my favourite song is “The List” by Ha Ha Tonka. Jolly whistling throughout suggests we are going to get something more upbeat but the lyrics open with “I love the way the holidays make you sad…” and “Christmas songs are the ones that always make you blue…” but it turns out, these are just a couple of the things that should be added “…to the list of reasons why I’m so in love with you.” This track is definitely on my nice list.

A couple more highlights are “Dark Christmas” by Dex Romweber Duo (a guitar driven instrumental which is dark and brooding with a Sixties feel) and Devil in a Woodpile’s “The Pagans Had It Right” (full on skiffle, complete with washboard and kazoo, which is unrelentingly jolly and includes the line: “Baby Jesus should have lawyered up…”).

Bloodshot Records’ 13 Days of Christmas is released on 17 November and will be available as a download and on CD, as well as translucent red or green vinyl. (I really hope Papa Barrence includes the green vinyl version in my Christmas stocking!)

Fiercely festive. A winter wonderland of weird. A far from normal noël. Order it now!

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