Friday, December 23, 2011

10 Christmas albums that you should at least check out...

Again, another list from 2006, and revisited in 2010. I worked too damned hard on these not to share them again! No additions to the list for 2011. Admittedly, I haven't really looked for anything new this season--no time! But the original list and additions are still pretty good.

First, the honorable mentions: These are additions since 2006. First would be James Taylor's "At Christmas". Probably helps if you're a James Taylor fan though (I am). Another album is The Bobs' "Too Many Santas". Not much on the classics, but they're style of a cappella music is so incredible that I have to at least mention them. If you get the chance to hear their albums where they record pop classics, you'll agree! New to the additions for 2010 is Diana Krall's "Christmas Songs". It's not a new album, having come out in 2005, but it should have been on this list when it first was compiled. I'm just taking care of a lapse in judgment! Lastly--I'm sorry, I love "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" by the South Park gang. It's crude, rude, nasty, but there's a couple of real gems to be found! Now to the original list...
  • 10.- Deana Carter - "Father Christmas" - Deana and her superb guitarist father. No one else. Mostly jazzy guitar with her twangy country voice--it actually works!
  • 9. - Mark Mothersbaugh - "Joyeaux Mutato" - You might not recognize the name, but he was a founding member of DEVO. That means lots of synthesized sounds and just weird music. Very few of these are remotely Christmasy, but there's a Christmas feel to them, and you can almost tell what song it's almost sounding like...
  • 8. - Various Artists - "Merry Axemas, Vol. 2" - This is a follow-up to Volume 1 (duh) of guitar superstars from all types of bands. I believe there might have been a Volume 3, too. One can find Neal Schon, Trevor Rabin, Zakk Wylde, Robin Trower, Ted Nugent, Al Di Meola, etc., etc. No vocals--just instrumentals. Excellent compilation!
  • 7. - Various Artists - "Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas" - Top jazz artists playing Christmas songs. Better than run of the mill. Oscar Peterson, Jimmy Smith, Billie Holiday, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torm√©.
  • 6. - Hollywood Trombones - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - About 20 of Hollywood's best studio and jazz trombonists get together to play jazz and standard arrangements of Christmas classics. Playing a full range of trombones from contrabass trombone to soprano trombone. It's definitely geeky...
  • 5. - Bob Rivers - "Twisted Christmas" - This actually spans 5 albums over the years. Bob Rivers is a radio DJ in Seattle. He's done song parodies for awhile. It was just natural that Christmas songs got the treatment as well! "The 12 Pains of Christmas", "Walkin 'Round In Women's Underwear" (sung to "Winter Wonderland") and "O, Little Town of Bethlehem" (sung to "House of the Rising Sun"--it works!) are some of the numerous memorable songs.
  • 4. - Vince Guaraldi Trio - "A Charlie Brown Christmas" - This is the trio behind all that wonderful music. Very light, easily accessible jazz arrangements, plus the unmistakable "Linus & Lucy". The only thing that would make this perfect would be the inclusion of Linus, reciting the biblical version of Jesus' birth. One of the finest soliloquies on TV.
  • 3. - Spike Jones - "It's A Spike Jones Christmas" - First off, you need to know who Spike Jones is. No way to describe his band, other than you have to experience their style. Novelty, maybe? Secondly, this isn't like any other Spike Jones album. Put together for Jones' family gatherings, it's more like the 40s-style large choral groups singing very tight arrangements. If you're looking for the glug-glugs and slide whistles, this isn't the album. But a very good collection.
  • 2. - Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass - "Christmas Album" - This is vintage early 70s HA&TB. They were very hot at the time, and this is a great collection of songs. My mother bought this album when I was a highly impressionable young brass player, and we have played it repeatedly every Christmas. Even to this day! Thank God it came out on CD!
  • 1. - SHeDAISY - "Brand New Year" - Easily my favorite of all Christmas albums. Fresh arrangements of standard Christmas songs, with a couple of new, original songs. The impeccable vocal stylings of the ladies is unmistakable, and even though they are a country act, this album shows no real signs of that. If you haven't heard this one, it's the ONE album of the bunch that I think you should hear!

3 comments:

Jack and Jill said...

Thanks for posting these! We are big fans of Christmas music, especially the more off-beat stuff. We are familiar with numbers 2-5, and 7 and 8. We will most certainly seek out and listen to the others. And I love DEVO but I had no idea that Mark Mothersbaugh released a Christmas album.

We love Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics. In fact, "Swiss Colony Beef Log" is one of Jill's favorite Christmas songs ever, I kid you not.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I love Christmas music and bought Michael Bublé's album this year

Have a very merry Christmas

No one Special said...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!