Charlie Christmas New Album ‘Weird Old Man’ Release

Charlie Christmas may be a new name to you. It reads like a holiday TV special character name, doesn’t it? However, Chuck Crisafulli may ring a bell. Crisafulli is a published music journalist, who has written books about Elvis Presley and the Doors, as well as articles for many national music magazines. Nevertheless, Charlie Christmas is the name under which Crisafulli records. Crisafulli also has a fascinating musical resume, by the way. His credits include music created with Urge Overkill, Moris Tepper and others. It’s under the Charlie Christmas moniker, though, that he’s recorded Weird Old Man, an album of inventive, intelligent rock & roll.

Christmas’s songs address contemporary issues, while the music itself is sometimes an intentional throwback to memorable stylistic moments. “Friend of Mine,” for instance, finds Christmas singing with an obvious Bryan (Roxy Music) Ferry vocal quiver, which is placed over an old school, rollicking guitar groove borrowed straight from the T. Rex sonic template. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is one sincerely fine approximation of Christmas’s inspirations.

Some of these songs sound straight out of real life, such as with “(The Band Can’t Play Your) Wedding Song,” which is so rich in detail, it simply has to be a true story. Others, like “Porno Valley,” are drawn from Los Angeles life. If you haven’t already watched Paul Thomas Anderson’s insightful Boogie Nights, you may not know about the San Fernando Valley’s infamous reputation for being the international pornography hub. A friend once rented a house there, which had mirrors on the ceiling. That seemed strange until she learned this was once a ‘studio’ for porno films. It’s an unusual wing of the entertainment business, the valley.

The album opens with “Place To Stand,” which carries with it a wide-open optimistic tone. Its lyric includes references to the beauty of nature as a reminder about the goodness of life. It’s tough to determine what “Secret Service Pig” is all about, but it’s oh so easy to get lost in the track’s funky psychedelic soul. The groove is a 60s soul workout, not unlike a lot of great old Stax Records releases. The electric guitar solo is reminiscent of Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend heyday. It’s little more than a groove record, but it’s a darn good groove!

Another song is titled “Put It Away (Sexual Misconduct Song),” which is another soulful rocker. It’s a song about sexual consent, which is the new rule of dating. It’s a warning to guys that automatically assume women want to have sex with them. The chorus of, “Put it away,” is a little graphic. However, some guys have a lot of trouble just getting a clue. Christmas, contrasts himself with these clueless ones by stating, “I like to talk with a woman if a woman wanna talk with me.” It seems so simple; just make sure there is consent between two individuals before moving to the bedroom. Nevertheless, there are some knuckleheads that ruin sex for the rest of us. That’s the way it’s always been, sadly.

Don’t be fooled by the titled; Charlie Christmas is no weird old man. He is a smart songwriter, though, with a good grip on rock music history. Most normal folks will appreciate this music.

-Dan MacIntosh