Run Run Rudolph video from Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have a very clever music video premiering today for their rockin’ bluegrass cut of Run Run Rudolph, from their new Billy Blue Records Christmas album, Because It’s Christmas Time.

Younger listeners may just think of this song as a holiday classic, while a more mature audience will recall its introduction to the canon of popular Christmas music in 1958 when it was recorded by Chuck Berry. Interestingly, though Berry wrote the song, and it is clearly in his inimitable style, the song is credited to Johnny Marks, who sued Berry as an infringement of his copyright from the song, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Radio Ramblers pull off the essential rock ‘n’ roll guitar vibe with Chris Davis on electric mandolin, though Mullins supplies plenty of bluesy licks on his banjo as well. They turn in a fun version of this familiar number, on which Davis also takes the lead vocal. Their cut starts off Chuck Berry style, the jumps into a bluegrass groove, before ending out as a slow blues.

But the star of the video is the stop action animation by Bryce Free that portrays all the guys in the band as puppets in the characters you see them as in the photo above. We all recognize Joe as Santa, Chris as an elf, Adam McIntosh as Ralphie in his bunny suit, and Randy Barnes as the Grinch, but it took some thought to perceive Jason Barie in his nog-swilling Cousin Eddie get up from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Joe shared a few words about the concept for the music video, and the song itself.

“Bill Monroe recorded Blue Moon of Kentucky in 1946 – eight years later so did Elvis Presley. I’m sure Chuck Berry was picking up what Bill was putting down, too! And, Monroe is a member of the rock n roll Hall of Fame. Then there’s Jim & Jesse, with their famous album of Chuck Berry tunes.

Now we have a bluegrass version of a super-fun Christmas classic, complete with electric mandolin from Chris ‘Buddy the Elf’ Davis, acoustic guitar from Adam ‘Ralphie’ McIntosh, hot fiddle from Jason ‘Cousin Eddie’ Barie, and Randy ‘Grinch’ Barnes laying down a bass groove connecting Bill and Chuck. I’m Santa Claus proudly picking the banjo.

Merry Christmas everyone!!”

Strap in and enjoy this delightfully entertaining video. Well done Mr. Free!

Run Run Rudolph, and the full Because It’s Christmas Time album, are available now from popular download and streaming services online. Audio CDs can be ordered directly from the band.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.