By Niki D'Andrea
Normally, I’m not a big fan of Christmas albums. I get stacks of them every year, and less than half of them actually make it into my CD player (really, I don’t need to hear Josh Groban’s take on “Little Drummer Boy” or James Taylor doing the umpteenth-thousandth cover of “Jingle Bells”).
But this year, I received A Taste of Christmas Pudding, an annual holiday compilation that features Phoenix artists doing their renditions of Christmas classics. There are two things that make this album stand apart from the seasonal stacks of wax for me. One is the sheer diversity of musical styles on the compilation. We open with a heavy metal cover of the creepiest Christmas song ever, “Carol of the Bells” by Karnage, before gliding into the soulful acoustic sounds of Haven James doing “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Ultimately, the 12-track CD wraps up with a raucous rendition of “Feliz Navida” by Kraised, with some garage-country (“Blue Christmas” by Juicy Newt), some funk (“Funky Desert Land” by Isle of Essence), and some frat boy rap-rock (“The Night Before Christmas” by Zoom & the Sporty Forties) in-between.
The album has nary a skip-worthy track, which is impressive to me because I’ve yet to find a hot holiday album that didn’t have me reaching for the “forward” button at some point (even Bootsy Collins’ ultra-festive, ultra-funky 2006 album Christmas Is 4 Ever contains a couple duds). This compilation also stands out for me because it provides a good entrée to the Phoenix music scene, and proceeds from sales of the CD benefit The Rock, which will be a youth center/concert venue in Phoenix (visit www.srfrock.org for more info.).
Since this is the season for giving, we’ve been gifted with four tracks from A Taste of Christmas Pudding for you to check out. Click on the links below to stream the songs. A complete track listing and information on how to purchase the album follows.
Jody Gnant: "My Favorite Things":
Aimless: "Hello Bedford Falls":
Juicy Newt: "Blue Christmas":
Playing God: "We Three Kings":
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A Taste of Christmas Pudding track listing:
1. “Carol of the Bells”: Karnage 2. “Please Come Home for Christmas”: Haven James 3. “Hello Bedford Falls”: Aimless 4. “Frosty the Hit-Man”: Split the Enemy 5. “Blue Christmas”: Juicy Newt 6. “We Three Kings”: Playing God 7. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”: The Foxfire Experiment 8. “Funky Desert Island”: Isle of Essence 9. “The Night Before Christmas”: Zoom & the Sporty Forties 10. “Oh Holy Night”: Brody Jace 11. “My Favorite Things”: Jody Gnant 12. “Feliz Navida”: Kraised
A Taste of Christmas Pudding is available at all Zia Record Exchange locations, at Alice Cooper’stown, and online at www.alicecooperstown.com, in the store section.