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Tuesday 25 June 2024

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I’d Rather Be Merry – Mean Mary.

Oct 22, 2023


Yes, it’s nearly that time of year again! Noddy Holder will soon be telling you that it’s Merry Christmas and everybody’s having fun, and Wizzard will assure you that Santa will put a great big smile on somebody’ face. Warning: Neither of these promises are guaranteed.

But wait! – here’s something that will raise a great big smile – a first festive album from banjo phenomenon Mean Mary ‘I’d Rather be Merry’  is Mean Mary’s tilt at a laid-back holiday album featuring the styles of music she and her brother Frank played and sang as kids in their outback home in Minnesota. This will be album nineteen, starting with  a cassette tape she made at the age of seven.

Her fine, impassioned voice is compelling and her prowess on the banjo is startling – driving, coaxing and encouraging this collection of original and traditional Christmas songs. Folk Americana at its finest. ‘Snowy’, a happy jaunt complete with banjo Christmas chimes, is a joy, and smiles all round for the title track, where hopelessly optimistic Mary spars with her glass-half-empty brother, Frank, on the merits (or otherwise) of the festive season.

Time was when every self-respecting singer, group and band cut a Yuletide album – a sentimental, tear-jerking long-play to be listened and sung-along to beneath paper hats, sparkling deely-boppers and mistletoe, before finally retreating to the darker corners of the L.P. rack for retrieval and dusting down in another year.  A fine album, to be pulled out at festive seasons, with some tracks to be surreptitiously slipped into your regular plays.

Light in a time of darkness. Christmas cheer abounds where the only mean thing about Mary is the accompaniment!

Bob Langstaff.


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