In the seasonal single Christmas Bells / Jingle Bells from Bellowhead, snatches of well-known Christmas riffs are linked by trademark Bellowhead instrumentals and Jon Boden vocals, with a particularly strong showing from the horn section.
Christmas Bells is based on the mummer’s play ’Christmas: his pageant play or Mysterie of St. George’, published in 1842. This is an unusual take on the idea of Father Christmas, linking him to the sword and shield-armed St. George and on the way giving a window into a rather odd and magical world.
The second track, Jingle Bells opens unexpectedly with a snatch of ’We Wish you a Merry Christmas’, before diving into a gentle ’Oompah’ rhythm. There’s a sharp split in pacing between a measured verse and a rapid-fire chorus - it’s entertaining for it and rather more lush and dissolute than the typical carol version.Mike Hough
Navigator Records, 1st December 2013
1. Christmas Bells
2. Jingle Bells