A Ding Dong Daddy Christmas (CD Reissue)
The Three Suns
Real Gone Music 2015
Review by David Bowling
The booklet that accompanies this reissue of the Three Suns Christmas album begins; “The Three Suns’ 1959 holiday platter might be called A Ding Dong Daddy Christmas, but ding dong daddy merely begins to describe this wild, woolly, and wacky seasonal romp.” OK, now hold that thought.
Guitarist Al Nevins, accordion player Morty Nevins, and organist Artie Dunn formed the Three Suns in 1939. Their commercial peak was 1945-1960, when they had numerous hit singles and sold millions of albums.
They were primarily an instrumental group, who added various musicians and odd instruments to their recordings and concerts. Their sound was rooted in the pre-rock and roll era of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. They had a basic traditional approach on most of their recordings except for 1959’s A Ding Dong Daddy Christmas.
Even by 1959 standards, the album was quirky. It is sort of a bizarre predecessor to the Manheim Steamroller. Many of the songs are a bit off-kilter, and when you add in chimes, tubas, and an assortment of other instruments, you have an oddly effective album of background music.
There is a sonic version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Who knows what Irving Berlin thought of their zany cover of his classic “White Christmas.” They reach back to 1915 for a tuba laden “Russian Sleigh Song.” They even throw in the “Chipmunk Song” for a rare appearance on a Christmas album.
The Three Suns were basically a late 1940’s lounge act that made good. Their brand of creativity may not be for the 21st century but if you want to climb into the Christmas time machine and travel back to 1959, then this may be an album for you.