Hey, have I mentioned that Taylor Hicks (former American Idol winner from Season 5) has a new Christmas single out? OK, now I have.
Southern Culture On The Skids have a new Christmas single. I truly enjoyed the Roots Alt Rockers' take on "Merry Christmas Baby" (which was on the 1996 compilation "Just Say Noel"). Their new one is a cover of "Silver Bells". The band says this is Hillbilly Garage style. I think its more Hillbilly than Garage (not that there's anything wrong with that), but feel free to disagree. In either case, SCOTS always put a unique spin on their covers and "Silver Bells" is no exception. I'm sure it's going to get a lot of play from folks like Little Steven this year. Check it out at Amazon or you can get it at SCOTS own "Skidmart".
When Twiggi was beginning her career, Sadiki was settling in Chicago. Once there, he was exposed to more than Reggae (although there is a large Jamaican community in the Windy City). Blues, Funk, R&B, Soul--these would all be incorporated into Sadiki's music. His earliest records, in the mid to late 90s, got critical praise but didn't sell very well. He scored a Jamaican hit in 2001 with "Gal Dem Everytime" and another that was also popular in New York and Florida in 2007 ("Lost Without You"), but his career didn't really take off until he started working with and touring with Beres Hammond. Once again, Sadiki saw his true breakthrough success in Japan. As for earlier Christmas recordings, Sadiki released the digital "Santa Claus" EP in 2013--still available and a good example of Reggae with Soul influence (what's called "Smooth Reggae").
Released on the Skinny Bwoy label (of which Sadiki is currently CEO), "Merry Christmas" is a sweet Smooth Reggae tune that's all about people coming together. "No matter who you may be, everybody is family...and though we ain't got too much here, we find a way to share". Now if we could only find a way to get that sentiment into the hearts of people who want to turn refugees away. Yeah, OK, I've got an opinion. So sue me. Anyway, you can find "Merry Christmas" by Twiggi & Sadiki at Amazon or iTunes.
Technically, Twiggi has another Christmas song out as she provided some vocals for Anthony Leonard Pierre's "Christmas Comes" from "The Black Fruit", released earlier this year.
The group is Three For Silver and their sound is a bit of everything. If Phil Spector was "Kitchen Sink", these cats are Junkyard. When I worked college radio, we actually had a spot for stuff like this. We called it "Category 4". Our Program Director called it "The ON-definable" (he had a bit of an accent). And, just for kicks--cause it's a funny--on Facebook, they call their sound Anti-Americana. Whatever it is, it sure is different. And I like different.
The A side of this double-sided digital Christmas single is "Three Stones For St. Stephen". And you should know that Lucas Warford (the male vocals on the song) is a fan and collector of Christmas music. He's fascinated by Christmas music. He's studied it. (We accept him, one of us. We accept him, one of us. Gooba gabba, goo.....ba..........ga............What, no Freaks fans out there?). The concept of "Three Stones For St. Stephen" is the yin and yang of the holiday that I mention all too often (although I usually speak of joy and sadness as the two sides of the coin). This tune juxtaposes the idealized sincerity of the holiday, its warmth and traditions, with the craziness of the season, the wild party, that feeling that we MUST overindulge because, for God's sake, man, its all coming to an end and who knows if we'll see another one? So you get smooth soulful vocals from Willo Sertain and loud and urgent Tom Waits vocals from Lucas--all over some alternate dimension Salvation Army Preservation Hall Jazz Band. By the way, Three For Silver is from Portland, Oregon, but the tune has a definite New Orleans flavor. Just sayin'.
I did say this was a digital single, but some hard copies (I'm guessing CDs rather than vinyl) will be available at Three For Silver shows. Each will have an absolutely unique one-of-a-kind sleeve featuring hand-drawn artwork from one of the members of Three For Silver (as you can see to your left). So, if anyone's going to be in the Pacific Northwest in the very near future, would you pick me up a copy? Pleeeeease. I ain't too proud to beg.
And, before I actually let you listen to the single from Three For Silver (available on Bandcamp), I thought the group gave us the perfect send off in their Bandcamp notes:
Too long have we suffered under the tyrannical false cheer of Christmas "Classics".
Three For Silver is here to remind everyone of the true spirit of the season....
and the body count is rising.