NJ band the Grip Weeds capture the mod 60s in their album ‘Under the Influence of Christmas’

Album Review

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Review: The Grip Weeds’ album Under the Influence of Christmas-November 10, 2023 (Reissued under Jem Records)

I received the Grip Weeds’ Under the Influence of Christmas CD just in time for the holidays. Since I was unfamiliar with the New Jersey band, I had no idea what to expect. They are on the Jem Records label, which tends to favor retro-sounding music. 

I popped the CD into the player, and within the first 10 seconds of “Christmas Dream,” I was hooked. One of the ’60s British Invasion bands could have easily penned the song. Truly. Listening further, the tunes “Santa Make Me Good” and “Christmas, Bring Us,” both originals, have the harmonies, harmonica, and guitar sound of the Who. Also, the Grip Weeds had a ‘little help from their friends’ in their cover of the Pretenders’ “2000 Miles.” Mark Lindsey of Paul Revere and the Raiders and members of the Smithereens, the late Pat Dinizio, and Jim Babjak, provided guitars and vocals.

Much to my chagrin, there is a litany of original songs and the Grip Weeds’ take on traditional tunes like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sings.” Some tunes like “A Christmas Song” feature a flute, giving the music an authentic Jethro Tull sound. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “I Believe in Christmas” sounds fuller and better than ever. “Welcome Christmas” is a rock version of the familiar Who-Ville song from the How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

In a nutshell, the Christmas CD is not your run-of-the-mill, melancholy “Silent Night” album. It features bouncy, upbeat songs with a Brit Pop feel, that will take you back to the Carnaby Street mod era or perhaps the Mersey Beat sound. Can you dig it?







Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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