2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
3. It's Christmas In Nu Awlins
4. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
5. Christmas Is A Phone Call Away
6. White Christmas
7. Santa Bring My Baby Home To Me
8. Spend Christmas With Me
9. Tis The Season To Be Loving You
10. Baby, Baby It's Christmas
ARTIST WEB SITE
On the first holiday CD of his career, Gary U.S. Bonds turns up the heat and, as usual, brings the party!
Gary struck gold once again in the 80s. Teaming up with Jersey Shore legends Bruce Springsteen, Little Steven, and Southside Johnny, to name a few, Gary rolled a bit of Asbury Park into his own distinctive style, scoring Top 40 hits with "This Little Girl" and "Out Of Work" and a pair of high charting albums.
While Gary hasn't scored any Top 40 hits in the last 30 years, he remains one of the hardest working performers in the business and is a familiar face along the Jersey Shore. His most recent album was 2009's "Let Them Talk". In December 2011, Gary participated in the annual Hope Concert in Red Bank, New Jersey, joining Southside Johnny, Jon Bon Jovi, and others on stage for a group sing of "Blue Christmas". Back in January of this year, Gary was among the many legends who rocked the house(s) in a pair of Norfolk shows honoring the late Clarence Clemons. And, in June, Gary put on a two and a half hour show at B.B. King's in New York. The occasion? Gary's 73rd birthday! And lest you think that's ALL he's been up to you, I promise I'm just mentioning a few highlights. There is no stopping Gary "U.S." Bonds. You can't even slow him down.
"Christmas Is On!" is Gary's first ever Christmas album, though he did release the single "Call Me For Christmas" in 1967. The title song, written by Paul Zunno, is one Gary originally recorded for a small holiday film "A Merry Little Christmas". The following year saw the film (retitled "The Town That Banned Christmas") released on DVD and Gary took the opportunity to promote both himself and the movie by releasing another song from the film, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", as a free download. The song was a perfect U.S. Bonds vehicle, combining his classic Quarter-to-Three sound with his later Asbury Park influence. There was supposed to be a soundtrack album, but I, for one, never saw it.
Whether or not a soundtrack was ever released, I can imagine that Gary grew at least a little frustrated at having recorded a couple of great holiday tunes that very few people even knew existed. The result--a joy to the world, for sure--is "Christmas Is On!" The album clearly pays a hat tip to Gary's early days with "Christmas In Nu Awlins". And it's fair to think "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is a wink and a nod to the Asbury Park connection, since the song is very well identified with the Boss and the Big Man. Beyond that, we also know that "Tis The Season To Be Loving You" is another Paul Zunno original, as Paul himself released that single a couple of years ago. And, I could be wrong, but something tells me Gary "U.S." Bonds is not giving "White Christmas" the same read as Bing Crosby.
Whatever else is on the record, the presence of Gary's "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is all I need to put this set at the top of my "must buy" list this Christmas. As luck would have it, it'll also be pretty much the first with it's early release date of September 11.