Curated by Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampWell, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? You know the one… when we’re supposed to be nice to people we spend the rest of the year moaning about behind their backs, stuffing our faces with over-priced party snacks and drinking far too much egg nog and rum punch… Well, we must have been at the latter already, because we’ve decided to bring you a special Christmas edition of the Singles Club, with a selection of some of the rock ‘n’ roll flavoured seasonal musical (and, in some cases, not so lustrous) gems currently doing the rounds. Put it this way: if we’ve had to endure listening to them, then we’re sure as feck gonna make sure you have to do so too…

And to kick off this special festive feature we have been joined by some true rock royalty. No, we’re not talking about Jon Bon Jovi, as the least said about his totally atrocious and cringeworthy rendition of ‘Fairytale Of New York’ the better in my opinion. Now, instead we are graced with the presence of legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who once again has laid down his trademark Stratocaster and picked up his lute and mandolin, this time to go a carollin’ with his Blackmore’s Night project’s latest EP of baroque flavoured Chrimbo tunes, from which this was the first single to be lifted:

Two more rock giants now, from different sides of the generic spectrum, with the first of a trio of collaborations, in the form of the ever-joyful Dee Snider and 2020’s Queen Of The Duets, Lzzy Hale, who share with us ‘The Magic Of Christmas Day’ (socially distanced of course):

Two artists who are no strangers to collaborating, and have featured in these pages many times, are Bowling For Soup frontman Jaret Reddick and The Dollyrots’ Kelly Ogden, who are imploring us to ‘Get This Christmas Right’ (well, BoJo and his cronies certainly haven’t been listening) on this latest slice of pop punk joyfulness:

Our third and final collaboration, and it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without Brummie metal crues Dakesis and Fury coming together to offer their take on a seasonal classic – and so the holidays can officially begin as the two bands tell us that they do, indeed, believe in Father Christmas on the Greg Lake favourite (itself also re-issued this year):

A change in tack now, roup of Singles Club regulars are those rowdy cowboys from the darkest heart of Worcester, the Bootyard Bandits, who have featured here a couple of times – and also one of our coveted ‘Video Of The Week’ awards back in April. Well, they make welcome return to the Club as they bid to take the ‘Christmas No. 1’ slot with this infectiously catchy fusion of rock, country and metal, as always delivered with its tongue firmly in its cheek. To accompany the track, the band have produced yet another hilariously risqué Lego stop motion video, which features an all-star Christmas cast like you’ve never seen before!

More tongue-in-cheek nonsense next, as we take to the high seas in the company of Swedish sea dogs Ye Banished Privateers, who give us their unique spin on a classic Christmas chant, which takes a swing at the classic candy-coated, happy harmony-singing, door-to-door carollers of the pre-Covid era and instead transforms it into the soundtrack to a bunch of drunken pirates breaking down your door, wrecking your home, stealing all your possessions and pissing in your eggnog (err, I thought it tasted a bit funny!):

Talking of all things tongue in cheek, power metal is a genre that can be cheesier than a packet of Quavers, but it also has the ability to extract the piss out of itself, as Blind Guardian prove as they take on the perennial Slade smash ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ complete with a suitably OTT performance video that sees them deliver the icing on the cake:

We keep the pedal to the metal with our next offering, which is served up by Romania’s Scarlet Aura, and their interpretation of another seasonal standard, as they get us dancing along to the ‘Jingle Bell Rock’:

Another change in mood now, as Goo Goo Dolls have taken the airwaves by storm with their ‘It’s Christmas All Over’, which has spawned hit single after hit single since Halloween time… the latest offering is the rather prophetic and timely ‘You Ain’t Getting Nothin’, which may well prove to be true for thousands of kiddies all over the Überverse if Santa can’t beat the various lockdown restrictions and accompanying travel bans:

Well, one way or another, it is going to be ‘Some Kind Of Christmas’, which also happens to be the title of this next seasonal offering, which comes from the wonderful Stop Calling Me Frank, who once again serve up a healthy dose of sax appeal as they transport us to a winter wonderland of gloriously old-fashioned garage rock ‘n’ roll:

The next toon to get us rockin’ around the Christmas tree (yes, herself insisted on putting one up, even though the cat has valiantly attempted to thwart her efforts with his overnight wrecking sprees) is another dose of rum-swilling merriment from NWoCR stalwarts Bad Touch, who have ‘A Gift For You’, me and everyone with a smile on its face and a rather catchy chorus in its heart:

For many of us, it could well turn out to be a ‘Blue Christmas’, but you can always rely on Black Stone Cherry to help us drown our sorrows, turn that frown upside down and get our cowboy boots tappin’, which is exactly what they do with this take on the Elvis classic:

We’re preparing to call last orders, so it’s time for our final triumphant trio of selections from our seasonal advent calendar, and we’re keepin’ it country with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Cory Marks, who rounds out what has been a successful year for him with his version of The Tractors’ 90s’ hit ‘Jingle My Bells’… and it certainly jingled the bells here at ÜRHQ – well, the ones the cat hasn’t destroyed anyway…

Our penultimate selection sees us plunge deep into the realm of garage power pop, as the Heatwaves have teamed up with the imitable, and insanely industrious, Freddie Dilevi to ask ‘What Will Santa Bring?’… well, hopefully it won’t be a dose of the beerbug!

We sign off this festive edition of the Singles Club with a special message from a band who divide opinion – or at least one half of them, as Nathan and Dan of Inglorious channel their inner Darkness with their rambunctious cover of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. Personally speaking, all I want this festive season is for all my friends to be safe and well, and able to share at least some time with their families. It’s been a tough year all ‘round but, hey, we’ve made it this far, and as long as we’re still upright, and have each other to lean on, then that’s all that really matters… Ah, fuck it: take it away Mr James…

Well, that’s your lot for this special festive iteration of the Singles Club. Kevin the barman has disappeared with the last bottle of rum punch, granny has fallen asleep in the corner, Father McCafferty is trying to figure out why the fairy on top of the tree is giving him the brush off, and we’re off to try on those lovely new socks the grandchildren have bought for us.  The Club won’t be open again, virtually or otherwise, until the New Year, so in the best tradition of the season it only remains for us to wish you all a very happy Christmas and we’ll see you, safe and well we trust, on the other side for the first edition of 2021…

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