Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

R.J. Carter's picture

Howard Stern used to be the king of all media. But America has selected a new royal family of television, books, and music: the Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana! From an A&E reality series that broke away from not only the pack of scores of Louisiana-based redneck reality shows, but also from every other reality show in history, the cast of Duck Dynasty now rules television. Their images are emblazoned on tee-shirts, lunchboxes, and bobble-heads (and that’s just looking around my office, I’m sure there’s more downstairs). Their biographies and cookbooks have been bestsellers.

So it’s probably not a surprise that their musical offering – a Christmas album – skyrocketed to number one the week of its release. What may come as a surprise is… it’s actually very good! But then, this family has years of experience singing in church, so they’ve had a little bit of practice. However, it’s not just good: it’s really good!

Okay, granted some of the singers are better than others. But you will be startled at some of the performances here. Willie Robertson kicks things off with a rockin’ “Ragin’ Cajun Christmas.” He may not be Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson, but he’s more than passable. On the other hand, patriarch Phil Robertson gets through “Christmas Cookies” with help from George Strait, as Strait sings and Phil speaks the verses, and enjoys a little loving at the end with Miss Kay.

You wouldn’t expect it, but Si Robertson has a turn here where he gets through a song without a single malapropism. He may not be a Thurl Ravenscroft, but then nobody but nobody is a Si Robertson! “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” is done straight, with only a few “Hey”s and “Jack”s thrown into the mix. And let’s be honest, some of these lyrics are some real tongue twisters, which he sails through with nary a trip of the tongue. I sincerely hope the producers thought to make a Seuss-inspired video of this performance from America’s favorite uncle.

But don’t worry – anywhere else Si pops up in this track listing, it’s back to classic Si, particularly when he tries to name the reindeer at the opening of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” or mistakes Santa Claus for Willie in “The Night Before Christmas.”

I’d like to interrupt this review to report a double homicide. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is one of my all-time favorite seasonal songs. Missy Robertson kills it. Jace Robertson murders it. Okay, to be fair, when he actually sings his part, it’s a passable job. And it’s all Duck Dynasty style fun in the first place, so it’s not expected to be a solid Broadway production.

All the Robertsons get a role somewhere. Even the kids get to participate, and there’s a ton of fun to be had here, from “Duck the Halls” (complete with a duck call musical interlude) to “Hairy Christmas.” And there’s a lot of inspiration as well, with Reed Robertson’s rendition of “Camouflage and Christmas Lights” through the final track with “Phil’s Prayer” and “Willie’s Closing” – the only way a Duck Dynasty project should end! However, even though this is a project that utilizes the whole family, this is really a showcase for Missy Robertson, who not only duets with her husband in “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” but also sings with Josh Turner on “That’s Why I Love Christmas,” and solos on the classic standard “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

You don’t have to be a Duck Dynasty fan to enjoy this album. However, if there is a fan in the family, you will definitely make them happy, happy, happy with this selection.

Grade: 
A