The Christmas Jug Band


The Christmas Jug Band (plus Buffalo, minus Hicks) performs at the Paradise Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

Fed up with the usual Christmas musical fare as that holiday nears? Not to worry; help is at hand, thanks to this Mill Valley-based group whose light-hearted approach to the secular events relating to Dec. 25 is a welcome relief to the aural assault awaiting us in the weeks ahead. Even though the jug band doesn’t have a jug player, this reissue of its 2002 recording is stacked with such talents as Dan Hicks and ex-Commander Cody, Elvis Costello and Country Joe McDonald sidemen, all of whom have—as their Web site puts it—been involved in this “momentary lapse of sanity that became an annual holiday tradition spanning 25 years.” The 12-song CD gets off to a rousing start with “Santa Lost a Ho” (he’s got problems and now only goes “Ho, ho” instead of “Ho, ho, ho”) and sets the mood for what follows. Hicks’ charming “Santa’s Workshop” details all the activities taking place at the North Pole while his “These Christmas Blues” describes his trepidation at returning home for Christmas. Maria Muldar and Angela Strehli join up for a lively “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” and harmonica ace Norton Buffalo is featured on “Silent Night.” Terrific stuff!