In the early 90’s I was afflicted by a buzz for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, brought on by tracks like ‘Spanish Flea’, ‘Tijuana taxi’, ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘Bean Bag'(used as the theme from It’s a knockout) – each one a piece of polite but punchy trumpet pop. The snappy arrangements, the swishy album artwork and being cheap as chips at charity shops made these dusty Mexican nuggets perfect for collecting. But it was almost impossible to find the Holy Grail of Herb albums ‘The Christmas Album’*(with H looking bored in his beard and as convincing as as in store Santa) amongst the Stereo Impact, James Last and TV Theme Tune vinyl – how many versions of Onedin Line – Theme from Spartacus and Owen MD (whatever that was) can you possibly need?
*The Herb Christmas album was eventually released on CD but didn’t live up to the expectation.
As an interim I decided to make do with the CD of ‘Tijuana Christmas’ by the Torero Band/Sound of Brass being sold at Woolworths. What an absolute winner it turned out to be, with the Toreros coming across as the most swingingest Salvation Army band EVER and starring the hardest working bass man at EMI. Using the textbook formula of cheeky key change after every verse, the uptempo thumpers could be themes for Carry On Christmas Specials, the mellow moments are like seasonal instrumental beds for Generation Game ‘Potters wheel’ sequences and as tight and sprightly as anything by Ronnie hazlehust.
Even now, every Christmas this is the first CD out of the Santa sack and onto the stereo at Cloudbase Mondo – ‘Tijuana Christmas’ is now deleted so why not treat yourself to some of these MexiChristmas classics.
Recommended reading for more Christmas Kitch n’ Campery
checkthecoolwax – sack loads of goodies including the artwork for ‘Christmas with Colonel Sanders’
Jeffco Productions – includes the the complete Tijuana Christmas album for download.