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Number of The Big Night (2002) Reviews: 1
Forcast snow, with rain, making sleet for the 25th
Reviewer: John Fitzgerald, Human resources staff database assistant December 23, 2002 I give points to The Tractors and their album "The big night" for trying hard to go for the
"old time" sound on the overall with the inclusion of hearty saxes and barber shop
quartet-type backing vocals and (oddly) their "holding back" a little on the rockers has a
positive effect on the album, such as "Bo Diddley Santa Claus" (where normally the title
would tell you all you need to know to be able to ascertain what to expect but "that riff"
isn't as aggressive on this track and therefore makes for a good but slight funk feel to that
track) and the stomping closer "Mary's baby" (as it's not as hard as one might expect in
such a track). "I was a bad boy this year" is a Chuck Berry styled rocker from the pen of
Rick Vito and you can hear his backing vocals good (especially on the chorus) and you
can hear his guitar work good as well mainly in the left speaker through the verses. Other
plus points are an effective version of "Little drummer boy" as, although it may sound like
a version Neil Diamond may have cut, this is not a bad thing and the strings & acoustic
guitar with vocal approach doesn't miss the signature drum track that is usually found in
covers of this classic which is an unexpected treat. However, there are some minor
minuses that water things down a bit. "Bells are ringing" has the best "Christmas feel" of
the tracks on the record but is not particularly memorable. "Santa Claus is back in town"
has a good slow blues feel to it but also suffers from the lack of an effective hook.
Traditional Country fans may enjoy their cover of Willie Nelson's "Pretty paper" and the
"Skip to my Lou..." feeling of "Christmas times a comin'" with it's fiddle & steel guitar
flavorings. The opening "Boogie woogie Santa Claus" is exactly that so no surprise there
and "Run run Rudolph" is the same song as what has been billed elsewhere as "Run
Rudolph run" so another one that falls in to the predictable pit (though with more horns
and less guitars than one would expect in the arrangement). The title track which is an
original from the main member of The Tractors, Steve Ripley, is not far removed from
"Boogie woogie Santa Claus" but a little slower, which may have worked better in
another place in the sequencing. The album is somewhat piano heavy on the full but this
could be a sleeper in years to come to "grow on you". Not bad out of the gate though.