december 2011

Various Artists
Shout! Factory/Astrolux
Released: 2003

For this Christmas, Yulesville is strictly coolsville on 16 ultra-hip interpretations of seasonal standards by a group of artists with impeccable hipness quotients. Leon Redbone offers a jolly ragtime version of "That Old Christmas Moon," Dean Martin croons a genial version of "Winter Wonderland," Julie London snuggles up to a torchy version of "I'd Like You For Christmas," Ann-Margret teams with Al Hirt for a saucy pas de deux on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Duke Ellington puts a bluesy, gentle swing onto Tchaikovsky with a noir-ish, woodwind-rich instrumental interpretation of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (or "Sugar Rum Cherry," as it's titled here), Claudine Longet whispers her way seductively through Randy Newman's atmospheric bit of holiday heartbreak, "Snow," Louis Prima exudes good cheer on a boisterous, brassy rendition of "Shake Hands with Santa Claus," Booker T. and the MG's dip into their Memphis funk bag for a greasy instrumental take on "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and Tiny Tim puts a capper on cool with a merry warbling and melodramatic recitation (in which he sounds remarkably like Bobby "Boris" Pickett of "Monster Mash" fame) of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, Marlowe Morris, Lionel Hampton, Four Piece Suit, the Randy Van Horne Singers, and Holly Cole add to merriment as well, in what is a good time Christmas disc for the ages. — David McGee

Julie London, ‘I’d Like You for Christmas,’ from Wonderland: Yulesville

Wonderland: Yulesville is available at

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
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