Happy Holidays

Truth be told, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music; gimme the Chairman, der Bingle and a little Andy “Mr. Christmas” Williams, and I’m set. Still, when I saw that alt-country chanteuse Kelly Willis and her husband, Bruce Robison, had released a Christmas album, I was on it like Kris Kringle on a plate of cookies. Willis kicks off the album with a sultry version of “Santa Baby” that comes within a hairsbreadth of the perfection of Eartha Kitt’s version. I wish I could say the same for the couple’s duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which lacks the tipsy naughtiness and urgency of Dean Martin’s definitive take on the standard. On the other hand, Willis and Robison easily wrest “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk (This Christmas)” from the twisted grasp of John Denver, and Kelly’s take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sets a new standard for the classic. If you’ve been a good boy or girl, you deserve to find this in your stocking on Christmas morn.