As today is Christmas Eve, here is an especially rare gem by a band with a fitting name. They are called Christmas, and their debut album may just be Canada’s rarest record.
They were initially slated to be called The Society for the Year-Round Preservation of Christmas, but the band from Oshawa, ON, Canada, opted for the slightly less meandering, Christmas. They have been called ‘the Canadian Grateful Dead,” due to their jam-band style of playing, taking the word of their label, Paragon, very seriously when they told them to, “get in a room and jam.”
To be clear, this isn’t Christmas music. It is quite the opposite. The album is rooted in late ‘60s/early ‘70s psychedelia, with a heavy nod towards the aforementioned Grateful Dead and the West Coast sound of the time. According to an interview with guitarist Bob Bryden in 2016, the bands ethos about generally about partying and having a good time, which is reflected in the loose, positive, and relaxed style of the band.
The album is just six tracks, and the first side is a more structured, mid pace affair, leading into an instrumental track. The second side is where Christmas come into their own, with a long, slow burning jam track, Jungle Fabulous taking up the whole side of the vinyl. It’s a psychedelic head trip that punishes you with its hypnotic guitar lines and repetition.
The band were popular in their own town, but outside, the record failed to take off, and neither the band nor label know exactly how many were pressed or sold. Reports vary from less than 50 to a few hundred, but regardless, the album has become a thing of legend, reaching the dizzying heights of around £2000 in online auctions.
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