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Texas Music Christmas Surprise

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For the independent Texas Music lover on your Christmas list, the good news is that there is a plethora (“would you say I have a plethora of them?”) of great choices out there. The one I’m going to pick out for you here is not necessarily my favorite — I couldn’t make that choice with a gun to my head. But it’s by far the one I’m the most happy about. It’s the Thrift Store Cowboys new one, The Great American Desert.

I’ve been knowing these lop-eared pups for something like two years, when they showed up at one of the music festivals, packed into a durn U-Haul moving van. About 20 kids from Lubbock piled out of that van, and promptly started charming the hell out of a bunch of hot, dusty, boozed-up rednecks. Somewhere amidst that gaggle of piercings and belly shirts and wacky hair-dos were six raw but awesome musicians who, when their turn came, proceeded to just tear up the stage. Their energy was, of course, youthful, and that came through in their songs, and it infected most everybody who was there. Everything they did was original, and best of all, everything they did was good. Not just well-played good (which it was well-played, don’t misunderstand) — well-written…well-arranged…whatever you music types call it. “Good” was good enough for me. So I bought their first CD and pretty much burned through it over the last two years. It hasn’t left the visor CD holder in that truck for that two years, and there’s not another CD I can say that about.

Well, The Wife pops in last Friday with a throw-off question – “Oh, by the way…I’ve got the Thrift Store Cowboys new CD. Wanna hear it?” Ummm….HELL YES!!! So she drags it out of her car, and I immediately start listening to it. Weird fact #1: I know all these songs. Nothing sounds new — but DING! I’ve seen them play live probably 10 times in the last couple of years, and they’ve been working these into their sets and sharpening them up before they went into the studio. Probably the best way to pick what songs you want to put down on vinyl (plastic?) for posteritiy — work it out in front of real, live audiences; see what they like; see what you like playing; makes sense to me.

Un-weird Fact #1: the album surpasses my wildest hopes for the band. I feared the sophomore jinx, and that didn’t happen here. TSC have really done an awesome job on this. There are minor quibbles I have with it, like the mixing — I think it sounds kind of muddy and low, but I’ve been playing it on a damn PC or a stock truck CD player AND I’ve been listening to it with some abused 43 year old ears. But, the bottom line here is that they’ve captured the essence of not just their sound, but their Texas roots, most importantly their West Texas roots. Colt’s pickin’ and Amanda’s fiddlin’ are just plain soulful — it’s great late-night, driving-down-a-dark-highway, blanket-of-stars, coyote-howlin’, Marfa-lights spooky country rock — does that make sense to anyone? If it does, then you know what I mean.

So, anyway — go get the CD. It’s available at the utterly invaluable LoneStarMusic.com, and they have samples of all the songs on the album for that doofy Windows Media Player. They also carry TSC’s first album, so get that, too, if you ain’t got it already.

To entice you even further, provided you’ve read this far, I’m hosting a full MP3 version of one of the songs off the CD, “Pictures”, over at the Tiny Bidness website (no one wants to go camping in December, so I’ve got oodles of bandwidth to burn.) I’ll leave it up for a while, as long as the traffic doesn’t burn down the server. And I got full permission from the band to put this up, too, so don’t be busting my chops. Just get the album, babies. Of course, no album can compare with seeing these yootful Texicans live (not IMnotsoHO). They really rock it all out live. So get out there and go see them — you won’t regret it. You’ll be knocked out, I promise. And you’ll be supporting independent music, something you want to do anyway, right?

For those in the Dallas area, they’re playing Dec. 19th at the All-Good Cafe, down in that Deep Ellum. I imagine that I shall make that show. Say the secret word (crawdad), and I’ll stand ye to a Shiner (Bock, not Light).

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About Scott Chaffin

  • Salvador

    Hello Music Lovers!
    I am searching for a copy of a bilingual Christmas called “Canciones de Navidad” by Irma Garza, a Texan, I believe. My family enjoyed her music during the 70’s, but have lost the album and would love to share it with a new generation of kids. Any ideas?
    Thanks and Happy Holidays!
    Salvador Benavides, Los Angeles, CA
    [Deleted. Sorry, no personal contact info please. Comments Editor]

  • Mary Ann W.

    To: Salvador searching for a Christmas album titled Canciones de Navidad by Irma Garza. I, too am looking for this album. I, like you, enjoyed this music as a kid. We still have the album (I think my mom does) but it is so old and scratched, I would love to find another copy. Did you have any luck? Please post answer.

  • http://November23,07 Mildred Parra

    Hi MY Aunt Brought me the Album by Irma Garza Christmas songs. She wanted me to make the record into a cd for her. I did and it came out pretty good! Tita

  • SANDRA

    I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS FOR YEARS!! IT WAS A FAVORITE GROWING UP. IT WAS ON THE FALCON RECORD LABEL AND MY FOLKS GOT IT FRONM A TIA IN TEXAS AND PLAYED IT EACH YEAR TIL IT GOT LEFT AT A CHRISTMAS PARTY AND WAS NEVER EVER SEEN AGAIN! I’D LOVE A COPY OF THIS.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kdecaroli K. Decaroli

    Is there any way I can get a CD copy of Canciones de Navidad by Irma Garza? I am willing to pay for the CD and postage. Please let me know as soon as possible. I know a family in El Paso that has been looking for this for years, ever since their parents sold their record player along with all the family albums.
    Thanks, Kathy

  • Marta

    I am not sure if this is the album I am looking for could you tell me the songs on it. My family had an album with Mamacita donde esta Santa Claus, and I Dreamed I was Santa Claus. I can not remember all of them. Thank you.

  • Mark Reyes

    I would love a copy of the CD of the Irma Garza LP please please tell me how much I grew up with this album and would like to carry on the tradtion please tell me how to contact you

  • Terrie Krause

    wondered if anyone found a cd of “canciones de Navidad” by Irma Garza. I have a tape casstte recording of it but would like a cd. Our family had a vinyl copy of this too from the early 60’s but it was lost when casstte recording was made.

  • Mercedes

    Does anyone know where I can get a cd of the “canciones de Navidad” I grew up with Pancho Claus and would love to share it with another generation. Please contact me [personal contact info deleted] if you know where I can purchase this CD. Thanks

  • Gloria

    My sisters and I have also been looking for a copy of the album hoping to eventually find a cd copy for all of the sisters. I would be willing to pay for a copy of the cd or album. I know it was recorded under the Bronco lable which was a division of Falcon Record Co. out of McAllen. A picture of the album shows the album name as “Regalos Navidenos.”

  • Sandra

    Hi, has anyone had any luck with the Irma Garza Christmas album? Would LOVE to get a copy if you have. So many childhood memories.

  • Julia Hernandez Lynch

    Greetings…we grew up listening to Irma Garza and would decorate our house while we sang all her Christmas songs…we lost the album, but her songs linger in our minds every Christmas…I miss her songs so much..You made my day and year…remembering our Dear Irma Garza…she has left such am impact on us…she is part of our Christmas Traditions…WE LOVE YOU IRMA GARZA!!!!

    FROM “THE HERNANDEZ FAMILY IN DONNA,TEXAS”

  • Belinda

    I grew up with the Irma Garza album too and I would love for my kids to listen to it. I can’t find it and I’ve googled alot. Does anyone know where it’s available???