Fa La La La La

December 6, 2004 | 59 comments
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It’s shockingly easy to make confessions on the internet, and I can’t resist making one of my own: I love commercial Christmas music stations. You know, the kind that plays “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “The Little Drummer Boy” around the clock from the day after Thanksgiving to the stroke of noon on Christmas Day. This is horrifying, I know, and I fully accept it as evidence of masochistic personality disorder, together with my compulsion to mop the kitchen floor on my hands and knees and my tendency to leaf through books like “Paris Hilton’s Confessions of an Heiress” for minutes on end at Target. I ask for mercy, not judgement.

In my defense, I only indulge in the car, when I can’t listen to my Christmas CDs (no CD player). But my children are almost always in the car with me, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford their therapy bills if I can’t kick my habit now. So in an effort to expand my taste for quality Christmas music, I want to solicit your picks. I’m an omnivore; anything goes.

A few of mine, to get things started:
London’s recording of Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Neville Marriner

Good old “Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir”

A disc put out by Verve, titled “Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas”

A disc I picked up at a grocery store, released by Sterling records and title “Smoky Mountain Christmas,” with lovely arrangements for hammered dulcimer, mandolin, dobro, fiddle and bass.

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59 Responses to Fa La La La La

  1. Nate Oman on December 6, 2004 at 2:24 pm

    The Chieftains’ “Bells of Dublin” Christmas album is great. One of the best recordings of “Once in Royal David’s City” ever…

  2. J. Stapley on December 6, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    I personally like any christmas song/album performed be a jew (Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand, etc).

  3. Rob Garrett on December 6, 2004 at 2:29 pm

    Anything Charlotte Church is spectacular, the Christmas music is just as much so.

    I went to turn the TV off yesterday and on PBS was Josh Groban singing a Christmas song. It was very good and I intend to listen to some clips today to see if it is all so well done.

  4. Kaimi on December 6, 2004 at 2:31 pm

    Well, you can always listen to the Trans Siberian Orchestra. They certainly put a different spin on your everyday Christmas carols.

  5. Russell Arben Fox on December 6, 2004 at 2:32 pm

    Nate’s taste in this case is impeccable. Bells is a great album, and their version, with the Renaissance Singers, of “Once in Royal David’s City” is one of the greatest Christmas recordings of all time. (It makes my list here.)

  6. Ivan Wolfe on December 6, 2004 at 2:33 pm

    The Trail Band has, IMHO, the best Christmas Albums anywhere.
    http://www.trailband.com/

    Or, at http://www.timpanogos.org/cds/catalogPage.html?ID=6
    you can order a Christmas CD that has me (Ivan Wolfe) on it (on TWO TRACKS!!! I not only have my own track #11 – Pat-a-Pan, I also play bouzouki on Tack #2 with Bonnie Jae Egbert).

  7. Kaimi on December 6, 2004 at 2:38 pm

    I know it’s terribly uncool, but the classics — Sinatra, Cole, Como, Crosby, Martin — are very good. Those guys have incredible voices; there’s a reason why Bing Crosby or Perry Como versions of songs are the enduring templates. E.g., Bing Crosby’s White Christmas; Nat King Cole’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, etc.

  8. The Only True and Living Nathan on December 6, 2004 at 2:42 pm

    I like the classic renditions, and I love instrumental renditions, but I swear — if I hear one more overpraised pop diva ruin “O Holy Night” with licks and curliques, I’m heading up into the bell tower.

  9. Kaimi on December 6, 2004 at 2:42 pm

    Amazon.com has listenable snippets of music. Check out Bing Crosby’s White Christmas here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002QWD/ref=m_art_li_1/002-6639008-4324069?v=glance&s=music . You can surf for other listenable snippets, and again I recommend looking into some from the old classic singers like Frank Sinatra and Perry Como.

  10. Shawn Bailey on December 6, 2004 at 3:02 pm

    I second Kaimi’s suggestions re: Crosby & Sinatra. A few years ago, I found a three-disk compilation of Crosby, Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong Christmas songs, mostly from live shows or live radio broadcasts. The sound quality is not perfect–but as a fan of old time radio, I am used to that.

    The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Christmas Caravan” is good fun.

    I have to admit to liking John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain Christmas,” too.

  11. Arwyn on December 6, 2004 at 3:03 pm

    I made a post on my blog about Christmas music, and my favorite picks, a few days after Thanksgiving. I couldn’t wait to put it on and start listening to it (and yes, even the commercialized stations are fun…wait, did I say that?!). You can find what I’ve got to say about it here.

    And for the record, I’m with Kaimi on the classics — Sinatra has quickly become my favorite for Christmas tunes.

  12. Ryan Bell on December 6, 2004 at 3:03 pm

    Kaimi, I had no idea that the late great crooners were uncool. Is this true? What has replaced them?

    For myself, I will listen to Bing’s White Christmas album for many Christmases to come, if only to hear the Andrews Sisters singing their “doodle oodle oot, do doot doot” backup to jingle bells, and Bing’s festive exuberance in my all time favorite Christmas song, Christmas in Kilarney.

  13. David King Landrith on December 6, 2004 at 3:09 pm

    Jeez. You people frighten me.

    How can you talk about Christmas Music without mentioning Elvis?

  14. Susan Malmrose on December 6, 2004 at 3:15 pm

    There’s an indie band called Low, with two Mormon members, that has a Christmas album out. Probably not the sort of music you’re used to or looking for, but I have to give them a plug. Here’s a link to it at Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00003G1P3/qid=1102364006/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_4/102-5596702-6675364?v=glance&s=music#product-details

    My favorite Christmas music is Vince Guaraldi’s jazz piano stuff. He’s the guy who did the music for the Peanuts television specials.

  15. Russell Arben Fox on December 6, 2004 at 3:24 pm

    Check out my blog, David; Elvis Presley receives his due. The King’s first Christmas album remains the greatest rock and gospel holiday, bar none.

  16. Greg Call on December 6, 2004 at 3:25 pm

    As a missionary I wore out Ray Charles’ “The Spirit of Christmas.” I’d also recommend Elvis, “Blue Christmas”; Dave Matthews, “Christmas Song”; and Will Oldham’s “Christmastime in the Mountains.” Also, Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Merry Christmas, Baby” off the first “Very Special Christmas” (the balance of that series is pretty weak).

    Here’s a free download of a brand, spanking new (and somewhat strange and moody) Christmas song by a band I like:
    The Walkmen, Christmas Party

  17. Greg Call on December 6, 2004 at 3:31 pm

    And I can’t believe I forgot to mention the terrific duet of Bing Crosby and David Bowie performing Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth in 1977.

  18. Charles on December 6, 2004 at 3:34 pm

    Don’t worry Rosalynde. I’m sure everyone is aware of the Bing (Crosby) in thier own eye before ridiculing the White Christmas in yours. Everyone has thier own Jingle Bell stubmling Rock to over comes. This just happens to be yours. Thankfully, anonymous (Rosalynde Welch) confessions on the internet will assure your privacy during this Hanukwazmas season.

  19. David King Landrith on December 6, 2004 at 3:34 pm

    Russell Arben Fox: Check out my blog, David; Elvis Presley receives his due. The King’s first Christmas album remains the greatest rock and gospel holiday, bar none.

    That’s a big relief. I was beginning to think that you Mormon’s were just a bunch of weirdoes.

  20. Charles on December 6, 2004 at 3:35 pm

    I love those stations too, by the way. Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorites. Although I can’t stand the Christmas shoes song. EW!

  21. MDS on December 6, 2004 at 3:41 pm

    Take 6–He is Christmas

    Windham Hill’s Christmas compilations

    Gayla Peevey–I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

  22. D. Fletcher on December 6, 2004 at 3:44 pm

    It is interesting that most of our Christmas pop standards were written in a 10-year time frame, basically, the 40s. What was it about the 40s? The war, I guess. Anyway, White Christmas, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting (The Christmas Song), Rudolf, Frosty the Snowman, Silver Bells, Winter Wonderland were all written during this time. There was a slight resurgence in the early 60s with the TV specials and songs like Do You Hear What I Hear? But no song since then has become a standard.

  23. Keith on December 6, 2004 at 3:49 pm

    Folks with Good Christmas Music:

    Cambridge Singers
    John Denver (Shawn mentioned this above)
    Joan Baez (Check out her Cantique De Noel–a really nice folk version)
    Kathleen Battle
    Dale Wareland Singers
    Placido Domingo

    I grew up listening over and over to Andy Williams.

  24. Ryan Bell on December 6, 2004 at 3:53 pm

    Can we vote on a few of the worst Christmas songs?

    I challenge anyone to produce any Christmas song that creates more horror and disgust in the listener than Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.” It’s simply in a class by itself. And it’s also a very good reason never to risk even one minute listening to the commercial Christmas Music Stations.

  25. D. Fletcher on December 6, 2004 at 3:55 pm
  26. Charles on December 6, 2004 at 4:09 pm

    D –
    I think a lot of those came out in within the time frame you mentioned, is that there was a lot of standards done during those times. I’m not completely sure but maybe the music industry wasn’t concerned with copyrights so much and they just let people record ad nauseum.

    In the 90′s we had Mariah Carey and LeAnn Rhimes. I’m sure there were a few others. Personally I think we will see over the next couple of years a lot more standards being reintroduced by Country artists as well as a few newer contemporary originals. I think this is because country music is on an upward swing in popularity and the artists are more likely to write and sing about personal matters like faith and love.

  27. Curtis Nordstrom on December 6, 2004 at 4:30 pm

    Some Christmas tunes I am currently enjoying in the Maine snow…

    The Blind Boys of Alabama have a delightful holiday disc out entitled “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” I do recommend it. The gents are a hundred years old, but they rule.

    The new-ish Harry Connick Jr. Christmas CD is currently getting some major play by my wife. It’s called “Harry for the Holidays,” which strikes me as egotistical — but hey, the dude can sing. I like this CD fine, but I think his first Christmas offering was better. I can’t recall the name of it off-hand.

    If you can find it, Belle & Sebastian’s Christmas CD (a bootleg recording of their holiday recordings in the UK, on the late, great John Peel’s radio program) is outstanding. They cover James Brown’s “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto” and put together a jazzy “O Little Town of Bethlehem” that richly deserves to be a single… not to mention a rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” complete with animal sound effects.

    I am fond of anything Christmassy by the Vienna Boys’ Choir, which immediately whips me back to those mission Christmastimes in Germany.

    Finally, the Whirling Dervishes’ brilliantly rocking cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” will stay on my faves list until the day I die.

    Merry Christmas!

  28. Ann on December 6, 2004 at 4:40 pm

    I won an online contest by Rolling Stone about ten years ago. One of my prizes was the CD “Nick at Night Christmas in TVLand” which has some wonderful classic tunes. Judy Garland singing “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Johnny Cash singing “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,” Johnny Mathis singing “Oh Holy Night,” (not a diva curlique to be found) and Harry Belafonte singing “Mary’s Little Boy Child” are the highlights. There are some less…worthy songs, such as Robert Goulet singing “This Christmas I Spend with You,” which is actually pretty fun to listen to, because it’s so 60′s.

    I second Vince Guaraladi.

  29. Kevin Barney on December 6, 2004 at 5:00 pm

    I like those stations, too. Here in the Chicago market we actually had two of them going last year. But I now have a cd in my car, so I’ve just been listening to my Christmas cd collection, which is pretty large. Christmas music is my favorite genre, believe it or not. (Sometimes I’ll even sneak an off-season listen, say in June, when no one else is around.)

    I usually start with the more esoteric parts of my collection right after Thanksgiving (the sacred art music, that which is more historical or European or classical), and then migrate to the crooners type as it gets closer to Christmas.

    I certainly third Nate’s and Russell’s choice of The Bells of Dublin. If you like that sort of thing, you would also like a disk I have done by Paddy Maloney (who plays the tin whistle for the Chieftains), which is called Silent Night and is a celebration of Christmas Eve in Rome. Great stuff.

    Some disds that stick out in my mind are

    The Charlie Brown Christmas album, which has already been mentioned (great if you’re a boomer)
    Liona Boyd, A Guitar for Christmas
    The New York City Gay Men’s Choir (A very good disk)
    The Carol Album (an historically oriented survey of carols through the centuries; it has my favorite rendition of The Coventry Carol)

    Have you ever tried listening to Gregorian Chant? I have several Christmas chant disks that are terrific.

    Next Saturday night we are going to Songs of Good Cheer at the Olde Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, which is basically a carol singing party. A Chicago Tribune columnist wrote a piece lamenting how people don’t publicly sing Christmas carols much any more, and so this party was born. Proceeds go to charity; this is like the sixth year they’ve been doing it, and I’ve been to them all. These great folk musicians lead us in the carols; I can’t tell you how fun it is.

    Good luck selecting some more Christmas CDs.

  30. Matt Jacobsen on December 6, 2004 at 5:19 pm

    Although they are not of the pop-Christmas variety, I can’t let a post like this pass without mentioning Chanticleer. This a capella 12 male voice choir has several Christmas CDs. I would first recommend ‘Sing We Christmas’ and ‘Our Heart’s Joy’ (newly remastered for 2004). I like their music so much that I can easily listen to it any time of year.

  31. Mark N. on December 6, 2004 at 6:50 pm

    TOTALNathan: if I hear one more overpraised pop diva ruin “O Holy Night� with licks and curliques, I’m heading up into the bell tower.

    Yes, I’ve had it with Mariah Carey’s incurable tendency to stretch every one-syllable word into a two-and-a-half-octave warble. Blech.

  32. Mark N. on December 6, 2004 at 6:52 pm

    Arwyn: Sinatra has quickly become my favorite for Christmas tunes.

    Yes, you just can’t help but get that “warm and fuzzy feeling” all over everytime a singer with reported ties to The Mob starts singing about Christmas. ;-)

  33. Mark N. on December 6, 2004 at 6:54 pm

    MDS: Gayla Peevey–I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

    I just heard that one for the first time a couple of days ago. It was charming. How long has that one been around?

  34. Ebenezer on December 6, 2004 at 7:22 pm

    I’m a big Neoswing fan so I’ll second Shawn Bailey’s recommendation of The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Christmas Caravanâ€?.

    Also check out “Everything You Want for Christmas” from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and “Boogie Woogie Christmas” from the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

  35. Ivan Wolfe on December 6, 2004 at 7:36 pm

    I should also plug Mark Geslison’s (the director of the BYU Bluegrass/Folk Music program) Christmas album:

    http://www.covenant-lds.com/osb2/itemdetails.cfm?ID=996
    A Timeless Christmas (1 CD)

    A Timeless Christmas is a collection of favorite Christmas carols as well as lesser-known international carols. Mark, Geoff and other talented musicians use an array of acoustic instruments to masterfully perform each song. The resulting style is reminiscent of the old world sound . . . Songs include: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, I Heard the Bells, Away in a Manger, O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High, and fifteen more.

    (Full disclosure: Wexford Carol appears on this album and features me on the Guitar. Plus I get a co-arranging credit – Yes, I’m a shameless self-promoter).

  36. Jim F on December 6, 2004 at 7:38 pm

    Mark N.: As one who owns a vinyl copy of Gayla Peevey’s album, the one on which “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” showed up, I’m pretty sure it is from the mid-to late 50s. That’s when I got it, and I don’t think it had been around long then.

  37. MDS on December 6, 2004 at 8:00 pm

    [url]http://soe.hyperchat.com/newchat/u/yummy/~soe/hippoFAQ.htm[/url]

    Looks like it originates in 1953.

  38. Mark B on December 6, 2004 at 8:32 pm

    My brother gave me a CD a year or two ago: The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.

    I like some of their music, but I listened to that one once and put it away forever. I’ll send it to whoever wants it.

  39. Jack on December 6, 2004 at 8:50 pm

    I third Vince Guaraladi.

    Last year I played a montage of tunes from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for our ward christmas party. During my spectacular performance a youngster came right up to the piano and shouted, “christmas is supposed to be about Jesus!!!”. Being a true believer, I wasn’t affected in the least.

    I confess I like John Rutter’s christmas music, especially his “Christmas Star” CD. Generally his music tends to be too much about the arrangement/production rather than the music itself, but inasmuch as christmas has a lot to do with ambience (i.e., lights, colors, sounds, etc), Rutter’s music has a great “christmas” feeling about it.

  40. Chad Too on December 6, 2004 at 9:14 pm

    Seems that Jack and I have a lot in common: I could hardly wait to get down the thread enough to post my choices which are mostly Vince Guaraldi and John Rutter/Cambridge Singers, but now Jack spoiled my fun. Boo. :)

    Having directed far too many Stake Christmas Cantatas in my *cough* ever-accumulating years, there’s always at least one Rutter in every program I put together. Favorites include Angels Carol, Wexford Carol, Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, and the only arrangement of Go Tell It on the Mountain that I ever felt comfortable performing in a Sacrament Meeting.

    Funny story from the year I sprang Donkey Carol on the choir: As the singers opened the music for the first time I directed their attention to the time signature; 5/4. Every voice let out a gasp or a sound of surprise except my pianist who shrieked out “COOL!” and began to play.

    My wife would play Christmas music year round if I didn’t declare a moratorium (at least when I’m in the room) from Jan 1 to Halloween. I was hoping for Thanksgiving, but I had to compromise.

    Her recent project was to rip every Christmas CD we have into the computer so she could pick her favorites and create a playlist to run through the stereo 24/7. It has more than 500 songs on it.

    To quote Charlie Brown, “I’m doomed!”

  41. Kevin Barney on December 6, 2004 at 9:45 pm

    Another good album is The Roches, “We Three Kings.” Incredible harmonizations.

  42. Bob Caswell on December 6, 2004 at 11:30 pm

    Mark B,

    Jethro Tull Christmas?! I get first dibs; I’ll risk being gullable for this one, email me at bobcaswell at fiber dot net, I’ll gladly pay for shipping. What can I say? I’m intrigued even if I end up not liking it.

    By the way, I totally agree with Ryan Bell (heaven forbid!) on his ultimate worst Christmas song pick; I hate that song!

    And another thing, has anyone mentioned Bare Naked Ladies version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”? It’s one of my favorites.

  43. Jack on December 6, 2004 at 11:51 pm

    How about some PDQ Bach?

    “Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John” is hilarious! It’s all about the careful placement of the comma. “Throw the yule log on, uncle John” is adjusted to: “Throw the yule log, on uncle John”. Other phrases such as: “Hear the hall clock strike, uncle John” and “Put the pickle down, uncle John” are gut busting when the comma is similarly adjusted.

    There are other fun songs from PDQ such as “Good King Kong” and “O Little Town of Hackensack”.

  44. Will on December 6, 2004 at 11:59 pm

    I love Take 6′s He is Christmas recording. Their six part vocal arrangement of “Hark the Herald Angel Sings” is one of the most inspiring modern versions out there.

  45. Lisa F. on December 7, 2004 at 12:18 am

    Chanticleer has created a beautiful Christmas album.

  46. Russell Arben Fox on December 7, 2004 at 7:20 am

    “Has anyone mentioned Bare Naked Ladies version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’? It’s one of my favorites.”

    Bob, I only heard that version for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and its already on my list as one of the best Christmas recordings I’ve ever heard. Truly, a wonderfully fun and thoughtfully upbeat take on the material; it’s an instant classic for sure.

    “I love Take 6’s He is Christmas recording. Their six part vocal arrangement of ‘Hark the Herald Angel Sings’ is one of the most inspiring modern versions out there.”

    Will, thank you for reminding me of this! I knew there was at least one Christmas recording I’d forgotten. He is Christmas isn’t one of my favorite albums, but I completely agree that their version of “Hark” is postively angelic, a must-have.

  47. Shannon Keeley on December 7, 2004 at 11:47 am

    Wow, great idea Rosalynde. We are sorely in need of some new Christmas music, and now I’ve got some decent suggestions, so I won’t have to go out and buy Jessica Simpson’s new Christmas album! (Am I the only one that has seen that damn commercial like two hundred times? “Special duets with Jessica and Nick, and Jessica and her sister Ashly!� Puke. Gag. )
    OK, and since I’ve already brought up Jessica and Nick, this leads me to another Christmas related topic. . .Christmas TV specials. Did anyone see the Jessica and Nick special? Not like any of you would actually admit to watching that! (Excpet Steve Evans, who I’m sure watched every minute.) Well, I caught about five minutes of a sketch where they both got their tongues frozen to a pole. Again, puke, gag. What happened to the awesome Christmas TV specials of yesteryear? I seem to remember lots of good muppets specials and an annual screening of “Charlie Brown Christmas� and “The Grinch.� Seems like the only stuff they make now is crap like the Jessica & Nick Christmas special. How sad.

  48. Kristine on December 7, 2004 at 12:19 pm

    Actually, Chanticleer has done about five spectacular Christmas albums, which will all get plugged in my much nerdier paean to the music of the season, coming later this week.

  49. Russell Arben Fox on December 7, 2004 at 12:24 pm

    Cool! I look forward to your post Kristine; while I love our holiday music collection, and can talk about it at length, I recognize that it’s quite middlebrow. Nothing wrong with that, but looking higher never hurts either.

  50. Frank McIntyre on December 7, 2004 at 12:26 pm

    OK, speaking of Christmas Specials, these are made up, but very funny.

    This, on the other hand, was not made up.

  51. Jonathan Green on December 7, 2004 at 1:14 pm

    Remember those classic stop-motion animated Christmas specials? I think a high point has to be “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” which has Santa joined to Mrs. Claus in common law marriage without benefit of clergy but with assembled forest creatures as witnesses. I’m not making this up. I assume it made sense at the time (1970).

  52. Will on December 7, 2004 at 1:18 pm

    Jazz: Along with the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas music, I recommend Wynton Marsalis’s Crescent City Christmas Card. Sophisticated and fresh arrangements. Except for Kathleen Battle’s rendition of Silent Night — that goes on the worst list.

  53. Russell Arben Fox on December 7, 2004 at 1:27 pm

    Jonathan, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is indisputedly the best of all those crazy stop-motion Rankin/Bass productions. Fred Astaire narrated; Mickey Rooney voiced Kris Kringle. Who can forget the evil toy-hating Bavarian despot, Burgermeister Meisterberger? And it wasn’t just the assembled forest creatures who witnessed their wedding; “the Lord” was their too, at least according toe Astaire’s narration. I was always impressed by that injection of Christianity into the special. Clearly, overall its much superior to the overrated “Here Comes Santa Claus” (i.e., the Heatmiser-Coldmiser one) or, worst of all, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which even Burl Ives couldn’t save from being utter dreck.

  54. kris on December 7, 2004 at 1:36 pm

    This year’s favourites (some Canadian content here other than the Barenaked Ladies)

    Chor Leoni (a men’s choir from British Columbia) “Yuletide Fires” ; (http://www.chorleoni.org/recordings/yuletide.html)

    Musica Intima (also from B.C.) , “Nativite ” You can sample here:
    (http://www.musicaintima.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/page.inside/pageID/4AC97691-8379-4A54-9BC051AB7B04A779/index.html)

    (A Classical Kids Christmas (from the group that brought you “Beethoven lives Upstairs)((http://www.childrensgroup.com/sections/classical/content_ck_christmas.html)

    Looking forward to the nerdy post on Christmas music Kristine — O magnum mysterium is my favourite!

  55. William Morris on December 7, 2004 at 1:40 pm

    I actually own the VH1: Big 80′s Christmas album from Rhino records.

    The reason, of course, is because it contains the best secular Christmas song ever: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) by The Ramones.

  56. Susan Malmrose on December 7, 2004 at 1:52 pm

    That Ramones tune is certainly an excellent one, but if we’re talking rock’n’roll/pop Christmas music, we can’t forget the Waitresses – “Christmas Wrapping,” Prince – “Lonely Christmas” and “Father Christmas” by the Kinks.

  57. Russell Arben Fox on December 7, 2004 at 1:54 pm

    Hey, I should get that. Partly because it would replace my old, taped copy of Hall and Oates “Jingle Bell Rock,” but mostly because of the McKenzie Brothers’ “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Oh man, that’s something we haven’t even touched yet–Christmas humor. Billy Crystal’s “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” anyone?

  58. William Morris on December 7, 2004 at 3:12 pm

    It’s a fun album.

    And, yes, the McKenzie Brothers piece is quite funny. The lyrics are hiliarious, but what crackes me up most is the rinky-dink keyboard used to back-up their (and I use this term loosely) singing.
    —–

    On the topic of holiday humor. Count me as one of those that finds Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” hilarious.

  59. slothdog on December 8, 2004 at 3:39 pm

    A couple of local artists with decent Christmas albums:

    Peter Breinholt: Noel (very traditional, acoustic)
    Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband: The Gift

    A little more “out there”:
    Red Letter Day: A Synthpop Christmas for some electronic Christmas tunage. (The singer of Intuition, who nails a somewhat laid back version of “O Holy Night” here, happens to be LDS. Actually, you can download an mp3 of that track from Amazon.)

    I’ll also second the recommendation for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, since they’re new to me this year. Make sure to read the stories behind the CDs, especially The Lost Christmas Eve. Good stuff.

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