Shawn Colvin, Squirrel Nut Zipper
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Shawn Colvin, Christmas Caravan, ...

Christmas Caravan

There comes a time to put away childish things… and then to take them up again, in celebration of one’s own elfin charges. ”We will rock you, rock you, rock you,” sings not-so-rockin’ new mom Shawn Colvin in the very quiet ”Holiday Songs and Lullabies” (Columbia), recorded while she was pregnant with her first child. A babe in these woods couldn’t ask for a better birthday present than an album that offers props to both Maurice Sendak and Vince Guaraldi.

Colvin’s already proven herself an interesting interpreter of other pop writers, but we’ll have to wait for another occasion to hear her ”Christmas Song”; the choices here tend toward ”In the Bleak Midwinter,” ”The Christ Child’s Lullaby,” and ”Close Your Eyes.” You don’t even have to be a junior-league insomniac to luxuriate in the sweet somnambulism; anyone needing a tonic for December shopping and bickering might take her up on it. A-

Colvin’s is one of the year’s two most eclectic major Christmas releases. The other would be the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ ”Christmas Caravan” (Mammoth), a highly likable, if not always especially memorable, set of mostly original material from the ”Hell”-raising revivalists.

Their tastes run from a lively Dixie ”Sleigh Ride” to a bluegrass-ballad retelling of O. Henry’s ”Gift of the Magi” to the lonely, self-explanatory ”A Johnny Ace Christmas.” Best is one of only two covers on the disc, the sexy and all too rarely revived ”Winter Weather.” B

Christmas Caravan
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