Without Bob Dylan most people would have heard the real Must Be Santa by Brave Combo a Texas polka band

By Stephen Pate – Updated – I’ve been scratching my brains why Dylan released Christmas in the Heart.

I know all the usual reasons but the CD just doesn’t stack up against any norm of Christmas albums. Dylan trying to croon Bing Crosby is too much even for this devoted Dylan-phile. Donating the royalties to feed the poor is nice.

For the 12 days of Christmas, I sprung for Andrea Bocelli’s My Christmas. Now there is a guy who can sing. He’s not quite the swing of Donnie Osmond or Anne Murray but he can lay on the faux opera voice and make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

Must Be Santa, the version Dylan copied from Brave Combo

So what’s with Dylan? I hated The Little Drummer Boy before I heard Dylan croak it out. Then it dawned on me. The whole album is worth the introduction to rocking Texas polka music in Must Be Santa. That’s a sing-along done at Christmas pageants for more than 50 years.

The Brave Combo arrangement is adult fun, rollicking dancing fun with sly lyrics that stretch the religious mood of Christmas to the bacchanal. Parties are part of the celebratory mood. Must Be Santa is the party song at a wild Christmas Party. That’s the mood Dylan strikes with his video which is almost a cookie cutter of the YouTube party video from the real Must Be Santa by Brave Combo.


One song of Dylan imitating Brave Combo is not the real thing. I wanted to buy the Christmas Present CD by Brave Combo but it was too late.  A Christmas CD must be here before Christmas.

I sent the band an email and said “Hey guys, how about making the download free if someone buys the CD?” I got an email back yesterday and they agreed. Until December 28th you can purchase the CD Christmas Present which will come in the mail and download the songs.

I did that and will be putting Must Be Santa into rotation immediately. Break out the egg nog and dance your blues away.

The whole CD is fun. It’s an up-beat break from all those serious Christmas CDs. We Three Kings is samba. Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad gets polka, reggae treatment with grunge guitars. God Rest You Merry Gentleman is Boots Randolph meets R&B. This live performance CD is definitely upbeat. It sounds like the party you’d want to be at before Christmas.

You can get “Christmas Present” as a download from either iTunes or Amazon.com. It’s Christmas, Man! is available from Amazon.com and iTunes. The last time I looked, the price of Christmas Present in Canada was too high. Get it from the States.

Dylan cover singers beware

Dylan is also taking his fans to a new harder style of singing and not with Little Drummer Boy.

Try singing Must Be Santa at full clip. It sounds like Dylan is singing the list in Yiddish. Dylan cover singers, amateur and professional, will have their tongues tied trying to replicate that performance.

I’ve done it, justified one of the perhaps silliest Dylan albums since he crooned “Can’t Help Falling In Love” I can’t get Must be Santa out of my head and confirmed that I hate Little Drummer Boy more than any Christmas song. Bring back Elvis with Blue Christmas please.

Update – this story has been updated. Brave Combo only sell the download from their site. Amazon.com has the CD for sale. The free download is over.

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