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The Krayolas create touching holiday classic with "Christmas With My Dad"

The Krayolas create touching holiday classic with "Christmas With My Dad"

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The song starts out with some shaking bells, a bouncing bass and swings into classic Sonny & Cher beat pop, Then the lyrics come in:

“Christmas without my dad/

Will it always be this frickin’ sad?

Christmas without my dad/”

“Christmas without my dad/

What can I tell the world about the man

A cowboy to the end”

So begins “Christmas With My Dad,” a touching, autobiographical song from Hector Saldana and the family band, The Krayolas that’s the best new holiday song I’ve heard this year and proof that Christmas songs don’t have to be cliched recitations about snow, gifts, Santa and his reindeer.

A true family affair, paying tribute to Hector Sr., who died in 2017, verse two comes from Saldana’s brother and Krayolas’ drummer, David. Grandsons, Nicky and Jason (Hector’s sons) sing verse three and play electric guitar, singing about Christmas without my papa:

“Cooked us chicken and rice

When we were hungry

Let me tell you man he was one tough hombre.”

Saldana, who wrote the song and produced the recording, said he made the song a bouncy ‘60s pop number “so it wouldn’t be so sad” and folks wouldn’t “tear up on it.” That didn’t work -- at least on the first hearing.

The Krayolas pressed up some 45s -- their first in 32 years -- backing the new song with a remixed “Christmas Time," a don’t-forget homage to the “wonderful beautiful child” that the Tex-Mex Beatles originally recorded in 1979.

Then they put together a six-cut, five-song EP that includes two versions of “Christmas Time," a couple of previously released songs and another new holiday composition, “Flaco’s Little Red Wagon.”

That would be Flaco Jimenez, the legendary Texas Tornado accordionist, who Saldana went to see play in a San Antonio dive bar in September.

“Afterward, we were hanging out on a back patio and Flaco started telling me a story about a childhood memory of a Christmas gift he loved — a little red wagon,” Saldana wrote in a text message. “He said he wished he could write a Christmas song about where the kid just wants the same little wagon every year under the tree — the same old wagon every year. He was getting real sentimental about.

“So, on my drive home at 2 a,m., I started coming up with a tune in my head and coming up with words. I got home and then tried to figure it out on guitar. I had the whole thing done by 3 a.m.; It just came out quick. It’s very simple. Then, went into the studio on Monday night with Luvine Elias on piano. We just recorded it live on the same room. I was right there next to the piano. It came out real cute.”

You can hear the EP at Spotify or at Soundcloud. 

While you’re there, check out the two other EPs The Krayolas have released in the last year. Titled “Saldana Bros. Vol. 1 and 2” the EPs are filled with the band’s San Antonio take on British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll.

They include some great songs -- like the organ-pushed kiss off “Psychofant” -- “you think you’re Johnny Ramone/you think you’re bad to the bone” and the Nick Lowe-eseque “Sometimes the Bridesmaid, Sometimes the Bride,” and Spanish language numbers, including the smack-him-good “Pinata Trump,” -- there’s an English version that gets the point across for we non-Spanish speakers as well.

Plus there’s a classic bit of music as journalism or history with “Murder at the Taco Lounge,” as former newspaperman Saldana recounts the killing of the owner of a rock ‘n’ roll bar in his establishment while Spurs basketball fans celebrated a win in the 2005 NBA playoffs.

But, don’t miss “Christmas With My Dad"

“Christmas without my dad/

Life goes on, I know that’s what he’d say

Cherish this Christmas day”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott  

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