Well, it’s that time of year. The time of ho ho ho’s and Christmas cheer. Yes, I know that Hanukkah just began, but for me, and many on the WVKR Executive Staff, the frightful weather signifies Christmas music, that bastion of holiday glory. So in the spirit of the season, I’ve included on this blog some of my personal favorite Christmas albums as well as the Exec Staff’s favorite (and wildly different) albums.
The Chieftains “The Bells of Dublin”
Traditional Irish Christmas music reigns supreme with the Chieftains. This CD makes for a rollicking good time with catchy dance tunes like “The Bells of Dublin/Christmas Eve”, “Skyline Jig”, and “The Dingle Set”, and “A Dance Duet-Reels” and beautiful, haunting songs like “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” (with Elvis Costello!), “A Breton Carol”, the classic “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “The Wexford Carol”. I’ll never forget the look on my young cousin’s face every time a song comes on that she can fake-jig to. Oh, what holiday memories are made of.
Various Artists “Yule Struttin’”
A classy jazz Christmas is too be had with artists like Chet Baker, Dianne Reeves, Count Basie, and Dexter Gordon who take a contemplative, sophisticated approach to Christmas. Don’t miss “Vauncing Chimes”, “Winter Wonderland”, and the two renditions (one vocal, one instrumental) of Thelonious Monk’s “A Merrier Christmas”. Like many other releases from the famed label Blue Note, this is the perfect album for a classy dinner party.
Joel Cohen and the Boston Camerata “An American Christmas”
If you feel like contemporary Christmas music is killing your eardrums, give this CD, subtitled “Carols, hymns and spirituals, 1770-1870”, a try. This premiere chamber ensemble perfectly creates the mood of early America with a comprehensive CD of, you guessed it, carols, hymns, and spirituals that are perfect for any time of day and make for excellent studying music. I really don’t have any favorites, because the album should be listened to as a whole, but my iTunes has stars next to “Pretty Home”, “Slow Traveller”, and “Lullay Thou Tiny Little Child”.
Various Artists “Yule B’ Swingin’ Too!”
More swing than jazz, this compilation of top-notch artists like Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, the Dorsey brothers, and Ella Fitzgerald puts a hip jive into the old classics and adds some new soon-to-be-classics like “Christmas in New Orleans”, “Shake Hands With Santa Claus”, and “Dixieland Band from Santa Claus Land” into the mix. Probably my favorite music to cook a Christmas goose to.
Exec Staff Also Recommends:
Asleep at the Wheel “Merry Texas Christmas, Y’all”
Ella Fitzgerald “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas”
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires “Christmas Party Time in the Tropics”
Phil Spector “A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector”
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass “Christmas Album”
Etta James “12 Songs of Christmas”
Various Artists “In the Christmas Groove” (Currently on our playlist!)
Dean Martin “My Kind of Christmas”
Leave a comment on this post to let us know your favorite Christmas album!
And for a little alternative Christmas joy: Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1lfx7cxVPc&feature=fvw.
Happy Holidays, everyone!