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HO HO WHO: The Sleigher—well this Sleigher (the one who doesn’t hate italics!)—has a confession: He’s Jewish. Now, he still loves Christmas music, but sometimes he reverts to his ethnic heritage and digs up some Hanukkah tunes, even though that experience was mostly ruined by Adam Sandler in the mid-’90s. Anyway: The Slackers! Ska! Hanukkah!
THE CRISPY LATKE: The Sleigher trekked to the suburbs on Sunday for his parents’ annual Hanukkah shindig, and between rounds of stuffing his face with oily potato pancakes, he found himself singing some songs: One of them, fresh in his head from hearing the Slackers’ version, was the ubiquitous Dreidel song—instantly recognizable from its refrain of “Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel/I made it out of clay/When it’s dry it ready/Oh dreidel I will play.” The classics never die.
THE MUSHY LATKE: Only, sometimes, the Sleigher wishes some classics would die. Kudos to the sleeve art, but both sides of this single—a ratchety, fairly straightforward reading of “Dreidel” and a dub version—are plain painful. It’s not the Slackers’ fault. This song was born cheesy, though the band’s syrupy organ flourishes don’t help. To wit: The Sleigher will gladly get drunk with hungry relatives and belt out songs he learned in preschool. He just can’t handle the recorded versions—unless, that is, he’s sloshed on Manishewitz.
CHEER FACTOR: 8/10 on the first night of Hanukkah, 1/10 by the last.
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