On their Christmas albums, most performers draw upon the existing body of holiday music for their selections, re-creating old favorites in their own style. Country music comedian Cledus T. Judd is no exception on his seasonal album, Cledus Navidad. Acknowledging the humor of Christmases past, he covers Spike Jones' "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" (adapting it into a weak rap parody called "All I Want for Christmas Is Two Gold Front Teef"), Ray Stevens' "Santa Claus Is Watchin' You," and Elmo & Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" (done in an outlaw country-rock arrangement). But while remakes are often the highlights of more serious artists' Christmas albums, far superior to the new attempts to join the pantheon, these songs are the least of Judd's collection. The best tracks are the new ones, starting with "Cledus' Christmas Ball," which has sharp remarks for some current country stars, the wittiest being the swipe at Garth Brooks, poking fun at the star's repeated withdrawals from the music business. ("Garth retired early again, but he'll be back next year.") The other standout is a parody of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," "Tree's on Fire," sung in an impersonation of the Man in Black himself. Of course, the humor gets gross ("Don't Serve Beans") and politically incorrect ("Stephon the Alternative Lifestyle Reindeer") on occasion, but that's to be expected from a country comedian. Judd may not be quite up to his predecessors in seasonal humor, but he's trying and frequently succeeding. There are a lot of laughs here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann