Other people’s songs: Must be Sanata (and a touch of Hey Jude)

by Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

A list of previous articles from this series can be found at the end of the article.

Aaron: Dylan mentioned that he remembered first hearing “Must Be Santa” on Holiday Sing-Along with Mitch by Mitch Miller & The Gang.

Dylan’s version is a cover of Brave Combo’s 1991 version, from their album “It’s Christmas, Man!”

Dylan played that version of “Must be Santa” on the Theme Time Radio Hour Christmas episode and would later note in an interview that the song “comes from a band called Brave Combo. They’re a regional band out of Texas that takes regular songs and changes the way you think about them. You oughta hear their version of ‘Hey Jude.’”

Tony:  Now Aaron didn’t follow that point up so I have – here is Hey Jude that Dylan was referring to.   And I would add, if you are not impressed by the larking around at the start skip through to 45″ and play from there.  It really is quite fun.  Well, it made me smile.  I love the version of la la la la la la la (etc) at the end.  Lovely rhythmic change.

But back to Aaron’s text…

This is one of those situations in which the video Aaron has found in the USA isn’t available in the UK where I am.  I’m leaving his selection in, and below putting another version I’ve found by the same band which does work in the UK.

Aaron: Here is Bob’s version

Tony: So this sounds pretty much like part two of the version by Brave Combo that I have found works in the UK, so I guess I’m on the right track.   And OK if you are totally in the Christmas spirit, and the water pipes haven’t frozen etc etc then I guess it is great fun.

Perhaps my review this morning is suffering from the fact that last night I drove for 90 minutes in pretty awful conditions to an event only to get there to find it was called off.  Not putting me in the best mood – but I think all these songs are best played with lots of friends around and everyone in the Christmas spirit.  Which of course I’ll get to in time, I’m sure.

Aaron: She & Him recorded their version for 2016 album Christmas Party. Along the way they updated the list of presidents to include Obama and Hillary Clinton (“unfortunately Hillary never became president”).

Tony: The problem with the song is that there is not too much one can do with it – the repeated lines only make sense if performed as in the original, and the “Must be Santa” line can’t really be changed because of the fact that “must” comes in on the second beat of the bar which gives its distinctive sound.  Take that out and the song loses its essence – unless you are doing the Brave Combo style approach where anything goes.

I’m glad I found that one.  Really made me smile.

Previously in this series…

  1. Other people’s songs. How Dylan covers the work of other composers
  2. Other People’s songs: Bob and others perform “Froggie went a courtin”
  3. Other people’s songs: They killed him
  4. Other people’s songs: Frankie & Albert
  5. Other people’s songs: Tomorrow Night where the music is always everything
  6. Other people’s songs: from Stack a Lee to Stagger Lee and Hugh Laurie
  7. Other people’s songs: Love Henry
  8. Other people’s songs: Rank Stranger To Me
  9. Other people’s songs: Man of Constant Sorrow
  10. Other people’s songs: Satisfied Mind
  11. Other people’s songs: See that my grave is kept clean
  12. Other people’s songs: Precious moments and some extras
  13. Other people’s songs: You go to my head
  14. Other people’s songs: What’ll I do?
  15. Other people’s songs: Copper Kettle
  16. Other people’s songs: Belle Isle
  17. Other people’s songs: Fixing to Die
  18. Other people’s songs: When did you leave heaven?
  19. Other people’s songs: Sally Sue Brown
  20. Other people’s songs: Ninety miles an hour down a dead end street
  21. Other people’s songs: Step it up and Go
  22. Other people’s songs: Canadee-I-O
  23. Other people’s songs: Arthur McBride
  24. Other people’s songs: Little Sadie
  25. Other people’s songs: Blue Moon, and North London Forever
  26. Other people’s songs: Hard times come again no more
  27. Other people’s songs: You’re no good
  28. Other people’s songs: Lone Pilgrim (and more Crooked Still)
  29. Other people’s songs: Blood in my eyes
  30. Other people’s songs: I forgot more than you’ll ever know
  31.  Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  32. Other people’s songs: Highway 51
  33. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  34. Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  35. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  36. Other people’s songs: Highway 51 Blues
  37. Other people’s songs: Freight Train Blues
  38. Other People’s Songs: The Little Drummer Boy


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