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Back-Door Santas

I tore apart the house this morning looking for my copy of Idol Records' 2000 Christmas comp Electric Ornaments, so I could share with you Chomsky's peppy rendition of the gloomy holiday fave "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas. No luck; guess it's off to CD World this morning. (Or there's always iTunes, I guess.)

Instead, all I could find was Big Iron's 1995 collection Honkey-Tonk Holidays, which brings back fond memories; the cover shot of the defunct Naomi's alone awakens the ghost of Christmas past, and he is well hungover. The disc had a troubled history in terms of finding proper distribution (and, hence, an audience); in 1997 then-Observer music editor Matt Weitz wrote about Big Iron bossman Mike Mattocks' learning the music-biz ropes. So here are two tracks from that hard-to-find collection, which features a crapload of broken-up bands from Dallas' recent past: Cowboys & Indians, Liberty Valence (fronted by the great Donny Ray Ford, who coulda-shoulda been a country star), the Mutineers, the Sutcliffs and others. Also here: the Old 97's, proving that, if nothing else, Rhett Miller has a voice made for Christmas carols. --Robert Wilonsky

Bonus MP3s:

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The Old 97's, "I'll Be Home for Christmas"

Donny Ray Ford and Liberty Valence, "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy"

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