by Roy Kasten
Christmas is upon us, and that means inoculating yourself against the relentless onslaught of much of the Christmas carol canon. To save your ears — and to celebrate the seasonal offerings of some local artists — senior music writers Roy Kasten and Christian Schaeffer will count down twelve of the finest holiday jams from St. Louis artists each weekday from now through December 24.
Day 2: The Lucky Old Sons — "Running With Rudolph" (2013)
See also: The 100 Greatest St. Louis Songs
Christmas novelties can be as treacherous as black ice. They're either too slick, too screwed up or simply too stupid to merit more than one pass. "Running with Rudolph," by St. Louis old-school R&B band (dig the fat sax and piano) the Lucky Old Sons, isn't exactly a novelty (the line about pulling a sleigh with a Santa as fat as "Jabba the Hutt" comes close), though it is as fun as a good Christmas lark should be. Plus it pays sly tribute to one of the greatest of all holiday songs, Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run," even as the tune has little in common with Berry's reeling post-rockabilly. With echoes of classic jumping R&B holiday recordings by the likes of Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns, and the Johnny Otis Orchestra, the Lucky Old Sons take that wily reindeer by the horns, ride him hard and put him away snow-covered.
Where you'll find it: A Very Lucky Christmas (2013), a strong seventeen-track holiday album that splits satisfying originals and classic covers, including a pitch-perfect (as in wasted) version of Robert Earl Keen Jr.'s dysfunctional "Merry Christmas From the Family."
Best rhymes: "I've been running so hard to bring the presents to you / Won't you give a little credit where some credit is due / I'm the other reindeer you don't know the name of / Pulling that sleigh, running with Rudolph."
Cocktail pairing: Milk and cookies and a classic '50s Bourbon hot toddy, with a big cinnamon swizzle stick.
See also: The 12 Best Songs for an STL Christmas
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