The Starlings

Otherwise known as Phil "Homer Henderson" Bennison and two other guys (Paul Harrington on harmonica, Stan Ridgway-style; Dick Cordes, brushing drums and ringing bells and shaking maracas), the Starlings come bearing a Yuletide EP that clocks in at just more than 11 minutes--perfect, I'd say, given my Jew attention span this time of year can only handle so much goy-oy-oy. It's tempting to label this classic, only because you'll want to play it more than once; take that, Kenny G and Barry M (just got that--hah). Henderson and band strip down and doll up four standards you never wanted to hear again; better still, no vocals to remind you of these songs' rotting roots. "Silent Night" climbs up the Wall of Voodoo that they do so well; "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" is covered in (Gary) glitter (rock and rollll, rockandroll); "Frosty the Snowman" has the blues real bad; and "The Little Drummer Boy" shakes his little drummer ass. A nice gift from a nice man; next year Homer kicks Andy Williams in the jingle balls. Available only at Emeralds to Coconuts Import Clothing, 2730 N. Henderson Ave.

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