John Oates and the Time Jumpers Ask Santa to Be Good to Them
It’s almost Halloween and Christmas songs have already been filling the frosty air with the age-old wishes for a merry holiday filled with good cheer and peace on earth. Lovers of Christmas songs can already choose to fill their pumpkins or stockings with new Christmas albums from Loretta Lynn, Rascal Flatts, John Berry, Jennifer Nettles, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, and Amy Grant (LifeWay Stores have already refused to carry Grant’s collection of songs of the season due to lack of faith-based content); Garth Brook and Trisha Yearwood release their Christmas album on November 11, and these are simply the tip of the Christmas tree.
Today, rocker John Oates releases his new Christmas single, “Santa Be Good to Me,” and it recalls the smoky, sultry, jazz lounge Christmas classics of the past such as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (which has by default become associated with Christmas even though it has nothing to do with Christmas), “The Christmas Song,” and “What Are You Doing This New Year’s Eve?” Oates, who co-wrote the tune with Josh Charles, Steven Davis and Allisa Moreno, wanted to re-create the feel of the jazzy holiday tunes he grew up with, so he collaborated with the Time Jumpers. Andy Reiss’ and Vince Gill’s guitars snake around Paul Franklin’s steel guitar, providing the melodic quilt into which Jeff Taylor wraps his punchy accordion and against which Oates lays his Sinatra-style vocals. It’s a smooth, cozy tune that takes up a typical “don’t-let-me-be-lonely-this-holiday-season” theme, and Oates and the band succeed in conjuring up a plea to old Santa to deliver some relief from the singer’s loneliness: “so old Saint Nick/make my wish come true/bring a white Christmas/don’t make it blue/this holiday season/Santa be good to me.” Oates and the Time Jumpers have created the perfect Christmas song, down to the last musical flourish in the song, where Gill’s and Reiss’ guitars hit that flawless little swing riff that carries the chord upward, brightening the last phrase of the tune.
If you’re searching for a little Christmas magic, “Santa Be Good to Me” sprinkles some of that gold holiday dust all over; a limited edition vinyl version includes “Children Go Where I Send Thee” as the B-side. We can hope that Oates and the Time Jumpers might collaborate again when the Christmas presents are unwrapped and the trees placed on the curb.