By Team Backbeat
By Amber Taufen
By Jon Solomon
By Tom Murphy
By Jesse Livingston
By Alejandra Loera
By Stephanie March
By Tom Murphy
Other discs leap forward into the past. Swingin' Christmas (Rhino) is an up-tempo bell-ringer loaded with smile-inducing ditties such as Louis Prima's "Shake Hands With Santa Claus," Bob Francis's "That Swingin' Manger" and Tex Beneke's "A Root'n Toot'n Santa Claus." Christmas at Rao's (Columbia/Legacy) isn't quite as consistently entertaining, but it does include some oddball highlights, like the Italian-American faves "Buon Natale (Means Merry Christmas to You)," by the Four Coins, and Lou Monte's "Dominick the Donkey," who helps Santa because "the reindeer cannot climb-a the hills of It-a-lee -- hey!" Finally, there's VH1: The Big 80's -- Christmas (Rhino), an unexpectedly droll batch of oddities from the big-hair era. Billy Squier's "Christmas Is the Time to Say 'I Love You'" is a drunken bacchanal, Squeeze's "Christmas Day" delivers plenty of wit, and the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)" would be better only if it mentioned glue sniffing.
That's one way to make it through the holidays.
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