Various Artists

Bah Humbug: The Alternative Christmas Album

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Tired of the same old Christmas tunes with their trite sentiments and familiar clich├ęs? Need a break after a 12-hour shopping marathon fueled by greasy fast food? Then Bah Humbug: The Alternative Christmas Album, with its jaundiced carols and irreverent slaps in the face of tradition, might just be the remedy. Robin Laing's "The Man That Slits the Turkey's Throats at Christmas" (somebody's gotta do it) tells the first-person tale of the man who makes sure that fresh birds will be available at the local grocery store, while Bill Barclay transforms "The Twelve Days of Christmas" into a raucous drinking song. Every cynic will relish Eric Bogle's skewering of all things sacred in "Santa Bloody Claus." Who promises sniveling kids presents to pacify them? Who makes parents' lives miserable by setting unrealistic expectations? Who's responsible for holiday shoppers maxing out credit cards? Santa Bloody Claus, of course. One imagines that as fun as all of this is, it should come with a warning: "language on this recording may offend children, conservatives, and born-again Christians." There are number of mellower moments on Bah Humbug that balance out the program. Enoch Kent sings the relaxed "Christmas Comes but Once a Year" and Loudon Wainwright III presents the socially tinged "Christmas Morning." Anyway one programs these tracks on the CD player, Bah Humbug promises to lift the spirits of anyone who's sick to death of holiday overkill.

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