Christmas Joy from EMI

’Hags’We get a lot of mail here at the Sandalwood Conference room in the Marina Del Rey Courtyard Marriott, but rarely review albums on site. The good folks at Capitol/EMI sent a Christmas sampler package our way some weeks ago. Let us now inspect and dissect the sampler package, disc by disc.

1) Merle Haggard, Hag’s Christmas (Reissue) Holy Jesus, this one is a keeper and I am not being sarcastic. Hags is downright irresistable, a real soft-on-the-inside tough guy singing spot-on stereotypically perfect titles such as “Grandma’s Homemade Christmas Card,” “Bobby Wants A Puppy Dog For Christmas” “Santa Claus and Popcorn” and the standout of the lot, “Daddy Won’t Be Home Again For Christmas” – a nice ditty about a father sending checks to his kids, presumably from jail someplace (Hags was no stranger). Recommended. Buy it here.

2) Christmas with the Chipmunks (Reissue) Who knew you could squeeze 24 additional unlistenable chipmunk holiday songs onto the same cd as the one chipmunk song you’ve actually heard? Be on the lookout for guest appearances from Rankin-Bass Rudolph, Dave Seville and Christ would you please turn that shit off now. Buy it here.

3) A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra (50th Anniversary) (Remaster) I’m probably going to get crucified for this one but here goes. Christmas is not a time for Frank Sinatra or the Rat Pack; I love ’em awful and they make me want to do bad things like drink myself into oblivion, call women “broads” and roll dice on every imaginable surface. Christmas should be reserved for Bing, Jack Jones, Andy Williams, Nat, and maybe a few choirs…maybe even Gene Autry, but not Frank. Sorry Frank, I was never a big fan of the seasonal catalog even before EMI sent us this package. I just don’t buy it and it sounds like you sure as hell don’t, either. Two great songs + 12 doleful dirges that sound as if Frank was blitzed in the studio (again) …seriously, “The First Noel” plays as if it were saturated in pure grain alcohol. Standout Tracks: Jingle Bells, Christmas Seals PSA. Buy it here

4) Slow Jams for Christmas. This cd features Luther Vandross, Faith Evans, and a bunch of other crap. It gives me a headache to think about, this one. Sort of feels like the back seat of a minivan that has kiddie seats in the seat in front of you. The whole thing. Standout tracks: Natalie and Nat “King” Cole digitally-enabled duet “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)” and, for some reason, Lou Rawls’ modernized and nap-inducing “The First Noel.” Eggnog, maestro! Buy it here

5) Dave Koz, Memories of a Winter’s Night
There is just no way I am cracking this one open. No doubt Koz is extremely talented but something somewhere along the way went horribly awry and now you can only hear him on The Wave in the laundromat. Standout tracks: Who knows? Buy it here on your way to the laundromat

One nice thing about being EMI at Yuletide is that you have full access to a massive music catalog for your digital holiday greetings, and you don’t have to worry about EMI suing the shit out of you when you dip into the well for your digital e-card. With that in mind, “Season’s Greetings” from all of us hunched over my keyboard here and, by way of my inbox, EMI and John Lennon. Tomorrow: More reader’s choice polls.

Want to be a part of the pile of CDs in our inbox? Send your submission to: Losanjealous, 11041 Santa Monica Blvd. #402, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We can’t promise a review, but we do promise to listen to everything we receive and act accordingly. If it’s good, we might even listen to the whole thing. Digital submissions always welcomed as well and, in most cases, preferred.