Album of the Week: JD McPherson, 'Socks'


JD McPherson, 'Socks'
JD McPherson, 'Socks: A Christmas Album' (New West Records)

Holiday albums have a rich history. Artists like Johnny Cash, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, The Ventures, Ella Fitzgerald, Sufjan Stevens, Elvis, and Bob Dylan have all recorded holiday records. Most artists will record at least one holiday song somewhere in their career, if not a full album. It seems like every year there is new "go-to" holiday album. Albums like Kacey Musgraves' 2016 effort, A Very Kacey Christmas, and Nick Lowe's stellar, Quality Street from 2013 come to mind.

I think this year's "go-to" winner is JD McPherson's Socks. Okay, I admit that I am a little biased, I'm a massive JD McPherson fan! But this album is a blast! I am quite sure that if I had never heard of McPherson that I would still love this album.

Socks didn't use the typical holiday album blueprint where the artist gives his or her twist on a mainly holiday classics with a couple of new tunes thrown in for good measure. These songs aren't the same old chestnut roasting on an open fire variety. These are all new holiday tunes for 2018, most of them sound akin to 40's, 50's and 60's swing, jump blues and rockabilly. Right in JD and his amazing band's musical sweetspot!

You'll be cutting a rug the moment you put this album on! "All the Gifts I Need" swings like an old Louis Prima tune, and "Bad Kid" rocks like an old Sun Records recording. You can almost hear the late Fats Domino singing "Every Single Christmas".

Speaking of swinging, "Hey Skinny Santa" will have you clapping, giggling, and dancing at the same time! This one wouldn't sound out of place on Hipster's Holiday: Vocal Jazz and R&B Classics, which is my favorite all time Christmas album! Socks manages to bring the ghost of Christmas past to the present.

You can tell JD McPherson is fan of Christmas. Socks swings like crazy! This is the album to put on when you are baking cookies in the kitchen, putting up the tree with a spiked eggnog in hand or the ultimate album to kick that Christmas party up a notch!

I'm hoping JD McPherson comes around again next year to bring these songs to life. The First Avenue show a few weeks took the Scrooge out of me. Pick up a copy of Socks this holiday season. It's a swinging good time!


JD McPherson - Official Site

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