Sunday, November 28, 2021

Vista Blue - A John Waters Christmas Tribute

You can always count on Vista Blue to come up with fun and interesting ideas for its seasonal releases. For its Christmas 2021 project, VB has checked off the "fun" and "interesting" boxes in a major way.  A John Waters Christmas Tribute is an homage not to the legendary filmmaker but rather to the Christmas compilation he curated 17 years ago. The band's point of view for this tribute is that A John Waters Christmas is way better than most people realize. Yes, it has its strange and kitschy moments (it would have been a letdown otherwise!). But a good portion of this collection of "novelty" Christmas songs is comprised of truly excellent holiday tunes that could be seasonal standards if the larger world knew of them. For this release, Vista Blue has chosen to cover four of the strongest cuts off of A John Waters Christmas: Paul "Fat Daddy" Johnson's 1963 regional favorite "Fat Daddy", Jimmy Donley's 1962 tune "Santa, Don't Pass Me By", Stormy Weather's 1977 side "Christmas Time Is Coming (A Street Carol)", and Rita Faye Wilson's mid-'50s rarity "Sleigh Bells, Reindeer, and Snow". While the band does arrange these songs in the signature Vista Blue style, the focus here is less on interpretation and more on turning people on to some songs that ought to be Christmas classics. The original versions cover the varying styles of rhythm & blues, country, doo-wop, and children's music. Played here as pop-punk songs, they absolutely fit the spirit of the band. As far as tribute records go, this is about as pure as it gets. Vista Blue clearly wants you to hear this EP and immediately seek out A John Waters Christmas. I wholeheartedly second that motion! "Fat Daddy" ought to be a staple of everyone's holiday playlist!

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