Los Straitjackets, Complete Christmas Songbook
by Elberton Cisnero
Los Straitjackets is an American instrumental band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee that focuses on instrumental music with a Latino flair. Originally comprised of guitarists Danny Amis (formerly of the Raybeats), Eddie Angel and drummer L. J. “Jimmy” Lester under the name The Straitjackets, the band split up soon after forming, but reunited as Los Straitjackets in 1994 with the addition of bassist E. Scott Esbeck. Unfortunately, Esbeck left the band in 1998 and was replaced by Pete Curry. The current lineup also features Greg Townson on guitar and Chris Sprague on drums. The groups discography ranges from its humble beginnings of The Utterly Fantastic and Totally Unbelievable Sound of Los Straitjackets (1995) to What’s So Funny About Peace Love And… (2017). Their latest endeavor is a holiday release titled, Complete Christmas Songbook available on Yep Rock Records.
Focusing on the torch and twang of Latin flavoring, Complete Christmas Songbook ravels through twenty-seven choice selections of holiday flair. Yes, that’s right folks, twenty-seven. With the longest track at 3:38 seconds, it is put together in an old school radio friendly way. Tunes like “Here Comes Santa Claus,” are given a worldly rockabilly treatment, with searing guitars and hard hitting beats the Latin sound is rocked up and festive in its presentation.
“Que Verdes Son,” typically recognized as “Oh Christmas Tree,” injects a flamenco style acoustic guitar solo, that ignites the mid-tempo tune with authenticity. Embellished with a castanet style beat, the tune cooks along with nostalgia. What holiday album would not be complete without “Silver Bells,” the group approaches it with a bossa beat and beautifully sparse melodic garnishments. An effected chorus swirl on the guitar adds to the dreamy quality of the tune.
The last tune is a hijinks version of “Linus and Lucy,” live. In a Texas Tornado fashion, the group weaves a Tejano y Conjunto rhythm to the classic Guaraldi tune. Looking for that special stocking stuffer, this might be a perfect hit, with an international flair. Proving to your hard to buy for relative, that you are in the know.
- Release Date: October 19, 2018
- Label: Yep Roc Records