Various Artists - Just In Time For Christmas (1990)

I would like to belatedly thank the person who posted a response on this blog last year, making me aware of a Christmas song by Klark Kent (a.k.a. Stewart Copeland) which did not appear on the Kollected Works CD. The song “Yo Ho Ho” was part of a 13-track various artists CD called Just In Time For Christmas, which was released in 1990 on the now-defunct I.R.S. Records. Those who appreciate the rest of the Klark Kent repertoire will enjoy this comical Yuletide song as well. If I didn’t know better, I would think that Copeland’s jokey vocals on the song were mimicking the style of Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler.

There are other enjoyable items on the CD as well, by other artists who recorded for the Miles Copeland-run label. This collection generally eschews the classics and covers that fill current holiday CDs in favor of originals, although there are some familiar tunes here, including a sincere minimalist treatment of “Silent Night” and a reverent Steve Hunter guitar instrumental of “We Three Kings”. The CD also offers an electronica variation on “Hark” (as in “The Herald Angels Sing”) and a complex mashup by parodists Dread Zeppelin of Spike Jones’ “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” with Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” and Led Zep’s “How Many More Times”. The Jules Shear-led band called Reckless Sleepers provided an agreeably warm take on William Bell’s “Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday”.

Most of the rest of the tracks are originals. The dB’s sprightly folk-rock ditty “Home For The Holidays” is not related to the well-known classic of the same name. Deborah Holland, who worked with Stewart Copeland in a trio called Animal Logic, contributed “It Only Comes Once a Year”, an uplifting song that found its way onto in-store satellite broadcasting networks. Tracks from Squeeze and Timbuk 3 succeed moderately well at pseudo-hip humor, but Wall Of Voodoo’s bad-taste contribution is rather excessive. Also, Rebel Pebbles’ “Cool Yule” suffers from too much girl-group cuteness.

Just In Time For Christmas could definitely serve as a quirky alternative to the current crop of holiday CDs. It’s out of print, but is worth searching out for fans of pre-grunge alternative rock, especially those who feel that they must own that rare Klark Kent track.

Various Artists “Just In Time For Christmas” (I.R.S. X2 13052) 1990

Track Listing:

1. SQUEEZE – Christmas Day
2. REBEL PEBBLES – Cool Yule
3. KLARK KENT – Yo Ho Ho
4. TORCH SONG – Hark
5. RECKLESS SLEEPERS – Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday
6. STEVE HUNTER – We Three Kings
7. THE dB’s – Home For The Holidays
8. MOLLY JOHNSON & NORMAN ORENSTEIN – Silent Night
9. DEBORAH HOLLAND – It Only Comes Once A Year
10. TIMBUK 3 – All I Want For Christmas
11. KENNEDY ROSE – More Than One Night A Year
12. DREAD ZEPPELIN – All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
13. WALL OF VOODOO – Shouldn’t Have Given Him A Gun For Christmas

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