William Shatner will release his first ever Christmas album on October 26, with ‘Shatner Claus – The Christmas Album’.
Released via Cleopatra Records, it’s Shatner’s second album release this year, following ‘Why Not Me’, an album of country music songs, which came out in July.
Shatner is joined on the album by Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren, Billy Gibbons, Ian Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Henry Rollins, Judy Collins, Mel Collins, Brad Paisley, Artimus Pyle, Joe Louis Walker, Elliot Easton, and Dani Bender.
‘Shatner Claus’ is a rollicking good album, and festively fun – with thirteen holiday classics turned on their head, plus a bonus “Punk Rock Version” of Jingle Bells featuring Henry Rollins making an album of 14 songs altogether. Shatner mostly performs in his signature spoken word style, while his co-stars sing – or play – along, as in the case of British saxophonist Mel Collins on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’.
The album is genre-defying, dashing (and dancing) between jazz, blues, bossa nova, rockabilly, blues, and more, all held together by Shatner’s signature spoken word style. His co-stars similarly get into the the spirit of the album, singing, or in the case of British saxophonist Mel Collins on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’, playing along.
‘Shatner Claus’ gets into the swing of things right from the very first note. Opening track, ‘Jingle Bells’, sees Shatner and Henry Rollins alternate lyrical duties, while the beat increases in tempo. ‘Blue Christmas’ follows, with jangly guitars and a nice little backstory about being stuck in a snowstorm and discovering that Grammy Award winning country singer songwriter Brad Paisley is also there.
Overall ‘Shatner Claus’ is a joy to listen to and it’s hard to choose just one song to declare a highlight, however Rick Wakeman accompanying Shatner on piano for ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’, and Iggy Pop joining him for ‘Silent Night’ must surely be contenders. One thing for certain is that we shall be playing it on a loop in our house this Christmas.
William Shatner is of course one of Hollywood’s most recognisable figures, for his 50 plus year career as an actor, director, producer, writer, and horseman. His career as a recording artist is less well known, but it’s one he’s been maintaining for as long as the other facets of his career, releasing his first studio album way back in 1968. ‘Shatner Claus’ is his ninth studio album, with an additional compilation record, ‘Spaced Out: The Very Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner’ released in 1996, making ten altogether.