Monday, December 14, 2009

11 days, 11 Christmas albums

Christmas is only, what, 11 days away?


In no particular order, here are some holiday CDs that share time in my player this time of year. I know a few of these are out of print, but you can always find a copy if you know somebody (wink, wink).

Seasons Greetings, Nathen Page: A personal favorite by an old friend who played some sweet jazz guitar.

Hell It's Christmas, Trailer Trash: A signature holiday event in Minneapoli is the Trailer Trash xmas party at Lee's Liquor Lounge.

Christmas With the Beach Boys: What's a Christmas song without great harmonies?

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas: We'll, you don't actually need harmonies when you have Ella Fitzgerald's voice.

Chris Isaak Christmas: One of the best "Blue Christmas" versions I've heard by a contemporary artist.

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector: I know, but I'm not suddenly going to deny the existence of the Ronettes.

A Dave Brubeck Christmas: I've got five words for you (I think): Cantos para Pedir las Posadas.

The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas: If one gets stuck in the player, I hope it's this classic.

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole: I'm not sure anybody sings "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." and puts you there like Nat.

A Very Special Christmas, various artists: Everybody from Bon Jovi to the Eurythmics, even Stevie Nicks doing "Silent Night."

Mannheim Steamroller, Christmas 1984: The first and considered the group's "definitive" holiday album, it was loaned to me years ago and never found its way back home.

It's heavy on jazz, as I look at this list, but representative of my collection. If I add one this year it'll probably be the Dylan album we've been talking about.

How about you?


  1. No holiday is complete without Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." I couldn't find it on a compilation, so I downloaded it a few years back from iTunes.

  2. It would be a blue christmas without elvis.

  3. The pop/rock world has contributed three awesome Christmas tunes. None of them is especially cheery, but each is riveting.

    3. "2000 Miles" by the Pretenders. With the band's trademark shimmering guitar notes in the foreground, Chrissie Hynde makes you feel her pain as she yearns for her distant lover during the holidays.
    2. "A Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson pisses on the joyous notion of Christmas, asserting that there is too much suffering out there to celebrate.
    1. "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues. Shane McGowan's growl, alternating and combining with the stunning vocals of the late Kristy McColl, spins the tale of a down-and-out couple with shattered dreams. The orchestral backdrop combines beautifully with McGowan's tortured voice. The song is sad and funny, and the fadeout is so gorgeous you never want it to end.

    Mike T.