JUST SAY NOEL

THIS YEAR'S CHRISTMAS DISCS PROVIDE SOME ROUGH SLEDDING.

Equally enjoyable is Blues, Mistletoe, & Santa's Little Helper, on the Black Top label. This roadhouse-friendly collection (complete with cover art capable of making Gloria Steinem heave up her cranberries) draws on the work of well-known veterans such as Earl King ("Santa, Don't Let Me Down"), worthy scenesters like Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets ("Sam's Christmas Blues," "Lonesome Christmas") and off-kilter participants along the lines of Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff and the Well-Hung Ornaments ("Blue Christmas"). Some of what's here is merely workmanlike, but it's worth the price of admission to own "Sandy Claw Stole My Woman," in which singer Bobby Parker laments, "I thought Sandy was a good man/ But I guess you can't trust nobody."

Now there's a lesson you can use all year long.

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