Bobby Helms And Johnny Paycheck, A Little Darlin’ Christmas

Kristina Feliciano

By Kristina Feliciano

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
On this southern-fried Christmas collection, the joy of the season collides with hard realities.

The twang on this album is as tart as unsweetened lemonade, which is kind of bizarre for songs about winter wonderlands and a reindeer with a red nose. But that's part of the savory Southern flavor of Little Darlin', and so are the hard-reality themes of unmerry tracks like "Mommy for Awhile on Christmas Day," in which Paycheck explains that even "the Santy Claus down at Sears" thinks the kids need to see their mama, who has a new and separate life since the d-i-v-o-r-c-e. Both Paycheck and Helms were country mainstays, but Helms has the added distinction of having recorded one of the sturdiest renditions of a Christmas classic, "Jingle Bell Rock," a 1957 hit that he revisits here.