The dB’s & Friends spread holiday spirit on ‘Christmas Time Again!’

The dB's CD‘Christmas Time Again!’
The dB’s & Friends (Omnivore)
3.5 stars out of 5

“Christmas Time,” the alt-rock holiday album spearheaded by legendary outfit The dB’s, is truly a gift that keeps on giving … and giving … and giving again. Originally released as the “Christmas Time” EP in 1986, the record was reissued as an expanded edition first in 1993 and again in 2006. Why stop there? The dB’s & Friends are delivering yet another expanded edition of the recording, aptly titled “Christmas Time Again!”

The new version features 22 holiday-themed tunes, including seven new tracks since the 2006 version filled holiday stockings. The bonus tracks are a bit of a mixed bag, with a few standouts — Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy’s “Eight Day Weekend,” Skylar Gudasz’s “The Sounds of Christmas,” Brett Harris’ “Remember (Christmas)” — that more than offset middling entries like Robyn Hitchcock’s “The Day Before Boxing Day” and Lydia Kavanagh’s “It’s Christmas.”

The dB’s are the main contributors here, with four tunes. They score with the title track, “Holiday Spirit,” “Home for the Holidays” and “Feliz Navidad.” Other keepers come courtesy of Whiskeytown (“House in the Hill,” Don Dixon (“I Saw Three Ships”), Alex Chilton (“The Christmas Song”) and Chris Stamey (“It’s a Wonderful Life”). This record is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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