Each December, new versions of old Christmas classics are ushered into the American soundscape by the hundreds. We hear old songs restored in a myriad of fashions on lite radio stations and every so often, one version lands above the mediocre pile of others and leaves an indelible mark on that holiday season. Where would be today without classic earworms such as Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”?
Well, add New York icon, Kenny Vance’s version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” to that list. The song was originally done in the styling of the blues and was written by old Texas bluesman Charles Brown. Then as the song corkscrewed its way through various musical trends over time, it lost a little of its original soul and became more closely associated with Bon Jovi and the Eagles then it did the blues. A shame to say the least, but luckily with Kenny Vance’s version, the song is born anew and this time around it drips with the kind of understated and pure heartbreak that only a blues chord progression can elicit. Speaking of chord progressions, the standout feature of this cover is the melismatic guitar soloing done by Johnny Gale. His fingers travel loosely up and down the fretboard, improvising alongside Kenny Vance’s smooth, doo-wop inspired vocals, and the pairing makes for a sincere and dignified interpretation of an oft-sensationalized song.
Kenny Vance and the Planotones keep up the holiday throwback style with their official video for the selection as well, off their new holiday album Mr. Santa. The video is simple in plot but dense in style, implementing the kind of animation that once touched the faces of other old Christmas favorites like, well… Frosty, Rudolph, and that adorable boy who wanted to grow up and be a dentist. Hermey. Enjoy the video below.
Be sure to check out Kenny Vance and the Planotones official website .