Holiday Angels Working Undercover Volume 2
Track List: Mr. Bingle Jingle (Topcats), All I Want for Christmas is You (Distractions), Children Go Where I Send Them (Big Wheel), Merry Christmas Baby (Rockin' Dopsie), Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (Burgundy), Christmas Everyday (Boogie Men), I Believe in Father Christmas (Topcats), Heat Mizer (Bag of Donuts), Back Door Santa (Soul Shop), White Christmas (Dahlila), The Christmas Song (Harvey Jesus), Santa Baby (Bottoms Up), Schizo-Bells (The Blue Meanies), Winter Wonderland (Wise Guys), Last Christmas (The Strangers), O Holy Night (Vieux Carre), Christmas of '89 (Mixed Nuts), Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Nobles), Merry Christmas Darling (Bobby Cure), Santa Went Down to New Orleans (No Idea), Back Doe Santa (Bucktown Allstars), Christmas Down in New Orleans (4 Unplugged)
For the second consecutive year, Topcats drummer Rob Schulte and his bandmates have coordinated a CD of holiday-themed music by local cover bands to benefit Angel's Place, a non-profit hospice in Metairie that cares for terminally and seriously ill children and their families. "Holiday Angels Working Undercover, Vol. 2" expands and improves on last year's sold-out edition.
The Distractions' classy reading of "All I Want For Christmas is You" is highlighted by the horn section and Melissa McGregor's spot-on vocals. The north shore's Big Wheel rolls out a "Children Go Where I Send Them" burnished by organ, acoustic guitar and rich harmonies. Rockin' Dopsie Jr. settles down for "Merry Christmas Baby" without a single "let me hear you scream!" Burgundy scoots threw a saucy, sax-driven "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Vieux Carre outfits a reverent "O Holy Night" with a robust, easy-listening arrangement. Harvey Jesus unspools an intimate "The Christmas Song". The Boogie Men, The Topcats, Soul Shop, Dahlila Seruntine & the Allstars, Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues, The Strangers, Bottoms Up, The Wise Guys, and The Nobles also deliver worthy entries.
Not everyone plays it straight. Bag of Donuts romps through a suitably irreverent, electric "Heat Miser," from the classic stop-action animation TV show, then downshifts for the acoustic "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coke commercial. The Blue Meanies channel Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley and more on "Schizo-Bells". The clever Mixed Nuts turn Bryan Adams' "The Summer of '69" into "The Christmas of '89" ("I got my first Nintendo, stood in line at Lakeside/Played it until my fingers bled, it was the Christmas of '89). No Idea similarly rebakes Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" as "Santa Went Down to New Orleans".
The Bucktown Allstars' blue-eyed soul "Back doe Santa" and Four Unplugged's second-lined "Christmas Down in New Orleans" finally wrap up this very good time for a very good cause.
Keith Spera - The Times-Picayune Lagniappe - December 5th, 2003
Recorded at The Apartment Studio
(Except :Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Back Doe Santa, Christmas Everyday, and O Holy Night.)
Produced by Buzzy Beano
Executive Producer: Rob Schulte