Looking for a last minute holiday gift for your rockabilly/western country friends? No problem – head over to cdbaby.com and wrap up Christmas for Karling. My favorite Southern California rockabilly gal - the British-born singer-songwriter Karling Abbeygate - has just released her first holiday album and I’m hooked. Although she includes a number of classic holiday favorites (“Jingle Bells,” “The First Noel,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Silent Night”), the original tunes are what makes this album unique.
As soon as you pop in the CD, you know this is going to be a one-of-a-kind Christmas album. It kicks off with the oddball tune “What’s in the Box,” a track Tim Burton and Danny Elfman would be proud of with mystery contents, goofy sound effects, and slightly creepy back-up vocals. Then there’s the Wanda Jackson-esque “Christmas Party,” the perfect soundtrack for getting your eggnog on.
Karling’s pouting, whispery voice on “Santa’s Got a Crush On Me” will remind anyone of Marilyn Monroe’s sexy “Happy Birthday” and you can see how she’s got a hold on the big man in red. But what I adore about the song are Karling’s creative and innovative lyrics about a very naughty Santa and a vindictive, jealous Mrs. Claus. A slightly more twisted and dark version of the classic “Santa Baby,” the humor which laces this track (and others) makes this a holiday record I’m not ashamed to admit plays on repeat in the car.
Karling’s eccentric quirkiness also shines on “Tra La La La La,” a ridiculously fun tune that may even encourage a Scrooge to find some holiday spirit. Perhaps my favorite of the original tunes is the swinging “Honey’s Coming Home for Christmas,” complete with honky-tonk piano. Even the covers have a unique flavor – the cha-cha-cha version of “First Noel,” the clave-laced “Deck the Halls,” and a Celtic rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” (demonstrating some mad bodhrán and mandolin skills) that is a must for all yall’s New Year’s parties.
So if you’re sick of the usual Christmas cover albums, and you’re craving a rockabilly/country soundtrack for your holiday season, this wacky and fun album is a must for you and those on your list. You won’t be disappointed by Karling’s creativity or the tight musical skills of her talented band. Recorded live over the course of three days, the album has an energetic, impromptu, carefree feel (I think I even heard Karling start to giggle after a participant unexpectedly yelled out “give us a kiss” during the live taping of “Auld Lang Syne”). Plus, the proceeds generated are being donated to Save-A-Life Cat and Dog Adoptions, a non-profit, no-kill, all-volunteer animal rescue and adoption organization.
The album is available at cdbaby.com, or head out to one of Karling’s upcoming holiday shows at Big’s in Fullerton on December 21st with Big Sandy (9 pm – FREE!) or at B Ryder’s in Bakersfield on December 23rd (9 pm). Or plan to spend New Year’s Eve with James Intveld, the incomparable Rosie Flores, and Karling and the Kats at Big’s in Fullerton. I’m sure she’ll treat you to her rousing version of "Auld Lang Syne".
So get some egg nog, turn the volume up, and find someone to dance with. Just like Santa, you won’t be able to resist this leading rockabilly lady!