Brian Setzer’s latest release, “Rockin’ Rudolph,” is his first studio Christmas album in 10 years and in my opinion, it’s worth the wait. Setzer, of ’80s Stray Cats rockabilly fame, is joined by an 18-piece orchestra (The Brian Setzer Orchestra) for a hepcat collection of rockin’ Christmas merriment.
This album features mostly classic Christmas tunes but they are orchestrated and arranged in a way that is uniquely Brian Setzer. Brilliantly! The title track is a mix of old and new as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer meets big band with a rockabilly beat and even includes a Peter Gunn-ish build up in its opening riff. Setzer’s vocals really stand out in “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” “Swingin’ Joy” is a swingin’ instrumental version of the traditional “Joy to the World” and it’s my new favorite Christmas song.
“Yabba-Dabba Yuletide” is a fun rendition of the Flintstones’ theme song. It’s jazzed up and the lyrics have been re-worked to fit the yuletide season. If you can’t get enough of this non-traditional Christmas carol when you first hear it (second track), you’re in luck because the last track is an extended version of the song.
Give this CD a listen and you’ll be swinging into the holiday spirit in no time.