Review - A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night

Artist: 38 special

Still holding on loosely -- to their teeth -- ancient AOR hicks 38 Special hitch their battered Peterbilts to Santa's sleigh for a downward plow through six schmaltzed-up holiday standards and four unspectacular originals. Most of "A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night" reminds forgetful Blaupunkt fiends just how responsible the Special were for liquefying Southern boogie into Hot-100 pablum in the early '80s. It's hardly a good sign that the title track -- the closest thing here to a genuine hell-raising yule, y'all -- was penned not by the band, but by Survivor survivor Jim Peterik.

Careful perusal of the liner notes reveals that vocalist Donnie Van Zant's deceased mama, Marion, has momentarily supplanted his long-gone brother/eternal meal ticket, Ronnie Van Zant, as the group's corpse celebre. The martyred Skynyrd frontman now occupies the No. 2 position on the dedication roster. God forbid even one Christmas dinner should go by without a member of this family carving up the Free Bird.

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