Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CD Reviews: "Duck the Halls" and "Slower Than Christmas"

Since we're still in the pre-music-sharing season, I thought I'd instead share my take on "Duck the Halls", the Christmas CD from the Robertson family of Louisiana Duckmen fame, and, most recently, of course, Duck Dynasty.

I had never seen Duck Dynasty until this past Summer, and wondered how the heck a show about a family that made duck calls could be any good.  My kids started watching it, and, unlike they other shows they watch about tattoos, tattoo removal, opening up storage bins, and building aquariums, I actually got sucked in to the phenomenon.  I find Duck Dynasty to be very funny and very entertaining.  Why, you ask?  Well, sure, it's not a reality show.  The situations are "suggested" by the producers.  It's half sitcom and half reality, but it's funny.  The Robertsons have a collective great sense of humor, have natural comic timing, and the looks the teen-aged Robertson kids give are precious.  But the main thing it that it's refreshingly clean.  There are no language bleeps.  No swearing.  No more than the brothers calling each other idiots.  And, every episode ends with the family around the dinner table, with Phil Robertson saying a prayer.  It's good, clean, entertaining TV.

Ok, so, how's the CD?  I like it.  I think it's darned entertaining, and it makes me laugh and smile.  The music is surprisingly good, though there are peaks and valleys.  Is it a timeless Christmas classic?  Nah.  It is fun?  Yes, definitely.  It makes me happy, happy, happy.

Missy Robertson is featured on three of the songs, and has a very good voice, pleasantly delivering on "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", and "Why I Love Christmas".  Sadie Robertson, Willie's daughter, is joined by the other Robertson children on "Away in a Manger" (also featuring the totally awesome Alison Krauss) and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", and gives fine, earnest, and sweet performances.

"Christmas Cookies", with Phil Robertson and special guest George Straight, is a great little song about Miss Kay's Christmas cookies (yep, you guessed it).  It's a happy, fun, and superbly seasonal song, and one of the best on the album.

Let's get back to "Baby, It's Cold Outside", with Missy and Jase Robertson.  Ha!  This one cracks me up.  Jase's mainly spoken performance is funny, just in his delivery and timing.  I love this version of a song that is really hit or miss.  This take is a definite hit (even though it doesn't get "bone-chillin'" in Louisiana).

The biggest surprise is "Camouflage and Christmas Lights", performed by Reed Roberston, Jase and Missy's son.  When I first listened to this, I checked the liner notes to see who the guest singer was.  Reed has a fine voice, the best on the record.  I'd like to hear more from Reed, in more traditional Christmas carols and songs.

And, of course, there's the title track, complete with duck calls replacing the Fa La La La Las.  And, Uncle Si chimes in on three songs, adding his unique vocal talents to the record.

Classic, no.  Loads of fun, yes indeed.

Now, there is one more Duck Dynasty-related Christmas CD that has not gotten the press and hype that accompanied "Duck the Halls".  Mountain Man, one of the best and funniest neighbors on Duck Dynasty, released a Christmas record called "Slower Than Christmas".  Mountain Man has a well-deserved reputation for not moving at too fast a pace.  Nor, talking too fast.  So, "Slower Than Christmas" is themed around Mountain Man's pace of life.

I listened to some of the tracks from "Slower Than Christmas" on Spotify, as a try-before-you-buy.  I didn't buy.  It's a gimmick of an album, and, for me, the gimmick doesn't work.  I couldn't get into this record.  Mountain Man, love ya on the tube, but the record, not so much.

Just my opinions - your mileage may vary :-)

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