Wednesday, February 15, 2006

5 Chinese Brothers - A Window Shopper's Christmas

Back on February 3rd, I ordered several Christmas CDs from and even though I already own a copy of this album (acquired through a trade with a fellow collector), I wanted the full artwork for this CD and upgraded to this copy.

I first saw this album over at and was intrigued by the review at that site:

"This one's been bubbling under my radar for a couple of years and I finally latched onto a copy of this 1997 Christmas classic.

"There's nothing Chinese about these guys, although there are five of them; try rockabilly / folk / country fusion on for size, then consider they wrote all but one of the tunes on this album, and you've got the ingredients for a jumpin' Christmastime.

A fellow collector agreed to a trade and when I saw he had this album, I wanted to hear what all the ruckus was about. The sound is exactly described above and the lyrics are sharp and witty. With such songs like "Rockin' In The Manger" (what if the three wise men took a '57 Chevy and rockabilly beat to the manger), "Missing Miss December" ("Where other girls wore clothes, she wore just Christmas bows..."), and "The Fruitcake Song" (think Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" and the evils of fruitcake!), this album's a definite keeper.

My favorite song on the album is "Dept. Store Santa Claus Strike", a folk ditty based on the great Santa Claus strike and their attempts to union organize all the Santas across the country. Not one thing is missing from this song... injunctions, mediators, even harmonica!

I consider these guys the country equilvilent of They Might Be Giants - if you close your eyes, you'll swear it's the Giants... a pretty good comparison in my book!

According to the Internet, these guys are still together, still doing gigs in Europe, and according to, this album was their last release back in 1997. I sure hope they consider doing another Christmas album!

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...


1 comment:

Tom Meltzer said...

Hey Captain!

I was surfing around checking to see if anyone was talking about my old band when I found your blog. Thanks for your very kind review of our album. I'm sad to report that the 5 Chinese Brothers are no more--we broke up in 1999, in fact, just before my wife and I left New York City to relocate in beautiful North Carolina.

I appreciate the comparision to TMBG--it's apt, and I definitely take it as a compliment. Thanks again, and keep promoting the music you enjoy. We musicians really appreciate it!

Tom Meltzer