A Few of My Favorite Things

Take a look at my Daily Photo

I took this picture of carolers on the steps of the rehabbed Zane School Building during the Collingswood Christmas tree lighting. One of the best things about Christmas is the music. I love Christmas music, both modern and traditional. In my book (missal?), Christmas music is second only to May Crowning songs for cool church music. Oh, like you don't think about these things.

As for the modern music, the missus and I have a tradition of picking up a Christmas CD each year and through the years we have compiled quite an eclectic collection. While I’m not sure exactly what order we picked these albums up in, I can tell you that this tradition goes back so far that the first two are on cassette!

A Charlie Brown Christmas - The Vince Guaraldi Trio. A must have. One of the few Christmas specials to put some serious thought into its soundtrack.

A Christmas Gift for You From Phil SpectorPhil Spector & Various Artists. You know you’re making a musical impact on your kids when your son recognizes Darlene Love’s voice at age four. The Wall of Sound hasn’t held up well on cassette, I need to get this on CD.

The Alligator Records Christmas Collection – Various Artists. A great mix of old-time blues and Creole country. Includes Saffire – the Uppidity Blues Women’s take on modern day holiday blues, "One Parent Christmas."

White ChristmasAl Green. Picked this up because the Reverend Green sings some of my favorite R&B songs. The CD isn’t quite in the same league as “Let’s Stay Together,” but there’s no denying that the guy’s having a ball singing carols.

A Different Kind of ChristmasVarious Artists. My favorite Christmas CD, with only one low point (Fishbone’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”). Lots of great obscure stuff (Syd Straw, the db’s, Poi Dog Pondering) and beautiful songs from Bruce Cockburn and T-Bone Burnett.

Merry Christmas from MotownVarious Artists. Old School Motown, not the new stuff. Not as good as Phil Spector’s Wall of Christmas Sound, but pretty close. Worth it just for the baritone of the Temptations "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer." Also the only way Michael Jackson (as part of the Jackson 5) gets played in our house.

Cool Christmas BluesCharles Brown. – The coolest Christmas vibe this side of the Charlie (no relation) Brown Soundtrack. Includes "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home For Christmas" straight from the original source.

A New Wave Christmas: Just Can't Get EnoughVarious Artists. 80’s pop Christmas music with very few clunkers. A good mix of obscure and favorites. Includes perhaps the greatest Christmas love song of all time, the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl doing "Fairytale of New York". I’m pretty sure it’s the only Christmas song with the line “You’re an old slut on junk” in it, and it’s still one of the most beautiful love songs of all time.

Maybe this Christmas Various Artists. – The Maybe series all seem to have a 50/50 good/bad mix of music, but the good make them worth having. This one is worth it for Ron Sexsmith’s title song and great takes on some classics by Coldplay and Bright Eyes.

Nick at Nite: A Classic Cartoon Christmas - Various Artists. You know, for the kids. Includes great tunes from the Muppets, who weren’t cartoons, but then again neither was Rudolph.

Christmas GumboFats Domino. Original bought from the remainder bin as a bit of a joke, but has become a favorite. A great N’Awlins take on the standards.

When My Heart Finds ChristmasHarry Connick Jr. You know, for the missus. Oh, all right, I admit that when Sinatra’s not available Harry’s just fine. The guy really does have talent and it’s displayed here on a couple of his originals, which sound like they came straight from the 40’s.

Maybe This Christmas TooVarious Artists. Once you get past Avril Lavigne’s fingernails on chalkboard take on "O Holy Night", this is a pretty good CD. Good mix of the beautiful and the goofy.

We still haven’t picked up this year’s CD yet. The obvious choice would be Maybe This Christmas Tree (that’s a pun, not a misspelling) but it doesn’t have a lot of recognizable names for me. Plus it has Pilate, another band I never heard of, doing "Fairytale of New York," which I believe was done perfect the first time and shouldn’t be touched. I’ve long wanted to get a Beach Boys Christmas album, but the missus has always overruled me.

Maybe this Christmas…


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Donna said...

I can't believe I'm considering this, but I'm sorely tempted to pick up Clay Aiken's Christmas cd. I've only heard good things about it. Heard him sing one of the songs on The Today Show this morning, and it was amazing. Just don't remember what it was lol.

Hey, if Loretta Lynn can be your #1 album for the year, I can check out Clay Aiken.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I don't even know who you are anymore.

Pretty unflattering article about Clay in today's Inky.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Donna said...

Ok, I didn't have him pegged as a diva, but the girl can sing


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