Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brian Setzer Orchestra - Dig That Crazy Christmas

Okay... when I went to my local record store last Christmas, this WASN'T the Brian Setzer Christmas CD I was looking for. But there it was and after some well deserved swearing under my breath, I did indeed pick it up. This is Setzer's follow-up to his 2002 CD "Boogie Woogie Christmas" and Brian did something very annoying (at least to my collector's sensibilities) with that album.

Setzer is widely popular in Japan and has released CDs strictly in Japan (just like Alyssa Milano). When he released his first Christmas CD there in 2002, he added on a bonus track - an instrumental version of "Jingle Bells". I added it to my long list of CDs marked "Track down for one song".

Then in 2003, the CD was reissued here in the U.S. for Christmas FIVE different ways:

  • a regular version at most record stores
  • an exclusive version to Wal-Mart (bonus track = "What Are You Doin' New Year's Eve?")
  • an exclusive version to Best Buy (bonus track = "Cactus Christmas")
  • an exclusive version to Target (bonus track = "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow")
  • an exclusive version to K-Mart (bonus track = "Run Rudolph Run")
This was getting confusing (and potentially expensive). How was I going to track down all those bonus tracks? I found the answer online. A Japanese import single from Setzer called "Luck Be A Lady" existed. This EP contains all the bonus tracks from these "exclusives" here in the U.S.. Am I smart or what? With one purchase, then I'd be all caught up.

Not so fast.

For Christmas, 2004 (are you kiddin' me?), Setzer reissued another version "Boogie Woogie Christmas" exclusively at Target. This second Target version contained two bonus tracks - "Santa Drives A Hot Rod" and "Christmas Island"!

I was furious. I was short seven bonus tracks in total and here Setzer is, releasing a whole new Christmas album! A quick scan of "Dig That Crazy Christmas" tells me that the bonus track list is cut down to four: "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow", "Santa Drives A Hot Rod", and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" are on the CD. That leaves "Jingle Bells (Instrumental)", "Cactus Christmas", and "Run Rudolph Run" missing in action.

Confused? Join the club.

If you liked the first album, Brian and his orchestra won't disappoint with this new CD. It's brassy, rockabilly, and a lot of fun. My favorite track is the old Louis Armstrong song "Cool Yule". Nothing against Satchmo, but there aren't too many other versions of this song out there. It's refreshing to hear some new life into a great song that deserves to be heard more often at Christmas.

I expect in a matter of years Setzer will release an anthology for Christmas that gathers all of these tracks together for one big release (including the long lost bonus tracks). The cynical part of me is saying "yeah, then he'll reissue it the following year with new "exclusive" bonus tracks".

Lay off the marketing for a while, Brian!

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection (sans bonus tracks)...


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