One of the unmitigated joys of music collecting is finding that one song you've been hunting for, especially after a long, fruitless search. There are more than a few testimonials from buyers on Amazon regarding the two albums featured today, each of which contains at least one rarity. A Rock 'N' Roll Christmas showed up unheralded for Christmas 1994 with songs from Christmases past, from Chuck Berry in the Fifties (the flip side to his "Run Rudolph Run" single, "Merry Christmas Baby") through to the Nineties and a somewhat rare, self-penned Jon Bon Jovi B-side, all at a budget price. The disc features three of the top Christmas songs from the Super Seventies: Elton John's "Step Into Christmas", Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "I Believe In Father Christmas" (a more bombastic version than Greg Lake's earlier solo version] and The Kinks' punky "Father Christmas". It also features "Christmas Wrapping" which is reason enough to buy it for some people. The disc is a solid listen and HERC's favorite track is the little heard version of Mickey Thomas singing on Elvin Bishop's funky blues "Silent Night" from 1975. As much as HERC loves Thomas's take on the track, he's still looking for the single which has an instrumental version as the B-side.
Four years later, A Rock 'N' Roll Christmas II showed up on the local Target's shelves, which is where HERC acquired a lot of his Christmas music in the Nineties and into the Aughts. Dave Edmunds updated Chuck Berry's classic "Run Rudolph Run" with his own reverent rockin' version from 1982. The disc also marked the first time HERC had found "Christmas Time" from Bryan Adams on a CD (unfortunately not yet available on Spotify in its original single version) as well as Holiday tracks from Seventies rockers Angel ("The Christmas Song") and Sixties duo Paul and Paula ("Holiday For Teens"). This one is a slightly less solid listen than the first disc unless you enjoy really eclectic Christmas music from the Sixties through the Nineties. It's also got Bob & Doug McKenzie's Great White North take on the "Twelve Days Of Christmas" in all of its back-bacon glory.