Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Music

This Christmas I impulse purchased on emusic a slew of new jingles and jangle to brighten by bough'd halls. After one afternoon of the noels, both Quincy and I were ready to drink ourselves into a spiked-eggnog induced stupor. Still, for at least the first few days, Christmas is my favorite season to indulge in annoying music. (Those of you unfortunate enough to live through my Winter of Drom or Múm-soaked Fall might disagree.)

[I'm a big fan of emusic; they have a fantastic monthly and yearly subscription and a wide selection of strange and indie music, as well as some music that is (gasp) mainstream. All songs are DRM-free and you can download them as many times as you need, from wherever you need.]

First up, it's not Christmas without John Denver and the Muppets. From his duet with Rowlf on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas to the rumpus-room We Wish You a Merry Christmas, I smile like a six year old and welcome the flood of shag-carpet-sitting puppet-watching memories.

Since I never sit still, I also like my Christmas playlists to be a spiked with some swing to keep me moving. The collection Swingin' Christmas released on Membran Ltd. / The Orchard hits the spot. Benny Goodman, Fats Waller, and Louis Prima never fail to deliver that Yule tide zip.

For those quieter, fireside moments, I go to an old standby of mine: John Fahey's album A New Possibility. I find the quick picking and slick runs soothing. I might be alone on that in this house, though.

Sometimes, though, I just need Christmas crack. That's when I dip into Fantasy / Milestone records' classic collection Vintage Christmas. And, you guessed it: from track one (Bing Crosby's Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town the album delivers exactly what all good boys and girls deserve. If there's a perennial not on this album, I don't know it.

Speaking of perennial favorites, the year that The Squirrel Nut Zippers put out Christmas Caravan I was still in NEPA, a few months from graduating myself from college. Every year since it's been dusted off for a spin or two (or thirty). [Too popular for emusic, the link goes to]

Lastly, another modern classic from Fantasy / Milestone records: Christmas Songs. With a name like that, it's either going to be a standard or a flop. I vote that this one is the former, with the likes of Chet Baker and Ruth Brown reminding us what the season is all about: nostalgia. (I heard someone quote this: Family is a group of people who feel nostalgia for the same imaginary place.)

Also in rotation are albums from Low and The Blind Boys of Alabama. I was fortunate enough to befriend someone with a record player and an extensive rare music collection years back, so I supplement the mix with three CDs of rare and strange Christmas classics like Tiny Tim's I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby (quite possibly my favorite Christmas song ever).

Whatever you're listening to, I hope you're enjoying it. For me, I've got about four hours of Christmas music listening left in me, so I'll be saving it up for Christmas eve and day. Or, maybe it's time for another diddy from Doris Day.


-m said...

How you could still need more music after all the Christmas music I handed over, I do not understand. :)

Nonetheless, may I also recommend

my emusic subscription just ran out and I haven't renewed yet. Suddenly that seems like a TON of money to lay down... maybe I'll do it in the new year.

u know who said...

I am so disappointed that you didn't mention "so this is Christmas" by the Late John Lennon..... my fav.. but then.. afterall....