Randy Lewis's "First Listen" article in yesterday's LA Times an interesting comparison of Mr. D's "Must Be Santa," with the fairly obscure "Texas Rock-Polka" group Brave Combo's version from their equally obscure 19 and 91 album “It’s Christmas, Man!” calling the former "directly inspired" by the latter.http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_b ... heart.html
And even more interesting, Chris Willman, over at the "Pepsi Music blog" had this to say...
I was most delighted by Dylan's take on the rarely covered "Must Be Santa"—a polka, and probably the fastest-paced thing Bob has recorded in his 48-year career. The exact style of it was surely influenced by a recording of the song made in the early 1990s by Texas group Brave Combo; as hardcore fans have noted, Dylan played that cover on a Christmas edition of his XM/Sirius satellite radio program... http://new.music.yahoo.com/programs/pep ... christmas/
Mr. D. did play Brave Combo's "Must Be Santa," on the Christmas/New Year's show commenting, "...“They say their mission is to expand the musical taste of their listeners. We have the same mission here on TTRH” Interestingly, Brave Combo also backed Tiny Tim on one of his last recordings.
Reporters Willman and Lewis may both be rabid Brave Combo fans for all I know, and perhaps made the connection independently. But, I think that the "Dylan rep." who held the listening party for the reporters was a certain TTRH associate producer who was feeding them some background for their stories, a very usual and acceptable practice in journalism. Thus, we have in all the articles I've read to date the snippet that Mr. D.'s version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" is a hommage
to the Gene Autry original (and all missed the opportunity for another TTRH connection
) and comparisons to Mitch Miller and Ray Coniff.