We’ve searched, scoured and uprooted every crevice of the music industry’s Christmas locker this year to deliver some classic festive gems for a very merry celebration. However, one of the greatest finds that the festive period has caused us to stumble upon is a somewhat obscure compilation album released back in 1966, a project that brought together a trio of bands who were at the height of their powers.
The Sonics and The Wailers (and to a slightly lesser extent, The Galaxies), had an innate rawness and a spikiness that was more angular than other guitar-wielding chart-toppers of the time, hence why they would not have been thought of immediately as the kinds of acts to be charged with the task of putting together a Christmas record.
Even with that said, the end result is an album that can be revisited today and still bring a refreshing edge and rockabilly spirit to a time of year that can begin to feel a little bit too mushy for the cynics among us. What’s more, however, the material they put together are simply great tunes. If we were at gunpoint and had to place the three bands in direct competition, it is possibly the more abrasive side of The Wailers that would come out on top, and their contribution ‘Christmas Spirit’ is a real standout.
However, the quickfire, Bob Dylan-influenced sounds of The Sonics are also a great shot in the arm for anyone who has become disillusioned with the conveyor belt of 21st century Christmas tripe that seems to fill the airwaves every year nowadays.
The approach taken by The Galaxies is slightly more straight edge. With sweet harmonies and chirpy-sounding Moog lending themselves to their festive staples like ‘Christmas Eve’ and ‘Please Be Home For Christmas’, it makes for a three-pronged offering of variety that has got our stereo jumping this Christmas Day.
There are a great number of current-day labels who would do well to take the kind of risk that led to this now mostly forgotten split release coming out through Etiquette Records 48 years ago. However, until that materialises, simply kick back, blast Merry Christmas out of the speakers and enjoy a 1960s-infused festive period with just enough bite to get you through until the New Year.
Enjoy the tracks below and, of course, Merry Christmas.