Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Top 10 Christmas Albums

Well, we had a great Thanksgiving filled with family, food and the lighting of the Lawrenceville Christmas Tree. Oh yeah, it's now officially time to start thinking about Christmas!

Truth be told, I broke out the Christmas music a while back, but I'm really getting all serious about it now. In fact, here are my personal Top 10 Chistmas albums:
  1. Jingle Bell Rock, by Brenda Lee. This is my ultimate favorite. Not only does it rock with classics such as "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," but it also offers some really unique gifts, such as "The Angel and the Little Blue Bell" (my favorite) and "Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day."
  2. White Christmas, by Bing Crosby. Really, this is about as classic as you can get for Christmas. "White Christmas," "Adeste Fideles," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and so many others!
  3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Burl Ives. This has the classic Ives version of "Rudolph," but it also has some of the best Christmas gems ever, including "We Are Santa's Elves" and "We're a Couple of Misfits."
  4. A Charlie Brown Christmas, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. I can't help but think of "Christmas Time Is Here" when I think of Christmas or Charlie Brown. Plus, I love "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Skating."
  5. Christmas With the Chipmunks, Vol. 1, by Alvin and the Chipmunks. This album brings out the kid in everyone from "(All I Want for Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth" to "Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." And Dave's hip version of "The Night Before Christmas" is, well, hip.
  6. When My Heart Finds Christmas, by Harry Connick, Jr., is one of the best Christmas albums ever. In fact, there are times when I even think of tossing it at the top of my list. Highlights for me include his versions of "Ave Maria," "O Holy Night," and "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
  7. Christmas With the Beach Boys, by the Beach Boys. This ultra-cool surf band offers some of the most pleasing Christmas harmonies. My faves include "Santa's Beard," "Little Saint Nick," and "Blue Christmas."
  8. Ultimate Christmas Collection, by Jackson 5. There's nothing like listening to Little Michael belt out "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." There really isn't. But this album also offers presents, such as "Up on the House Top" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," in addition to many others.
  9. Someday at Christmas, by Stevie Wonder. Let's go from one Motown mega-Christmas wonder to another--Stevie Wonder, that is. "Someday at Christmas" is obviously THE song of this album, but I also enjoy his versions of "Ave Maria" and "Silver Bells."
  10. Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas, by Garth Brooks. To understand how good I think this album is, I think you would have to understand just how much I DETEST anything related to Garth Brooks. However, despite my dislike of this well-loved performer, I can't help but love this Christmas album. He really does a great job with tunes such as "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Let it Snow," "Sleigh Ride," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," and others.
Okay, time for a funny Christmas anecdote: Back in high school, around this time of year, I told my brother David about this great new release from the band Tool--the Tool Christmas CD. At the time, I was full of sarcasm, and I thought this sounded so outlandish that David would totally know I was joking. Of course, we both go to the record store together, and he starts to ask the guy behind the counter if they have the Tool Christmas CD. The guy behind the counter is like, "Let me check." And, of course, I had to intervene before things got too far out of hand. I always think that's a funny story, but I also always feel rather bad for unintentionally fooling my brother so close to Christmas. So that's a lesson in not being sarcastic (or you'll end up with a lump of coal in your stocking).

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If you'd rather read about Christmas than listen to Christmas (or love listening to Christmas songs while you read Charles Dickens' A Chritmas Carol), then grab a Kindle for yourself or the ones you love.

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Also, if I'm missing any great Christmas albums on my list, please let me know in the comments below. I'm always looking for some great Christmas tunes.

8 comments:

Margo said...

One of my all-time tops: Harry Belafonte Christmas. It is gorgeous. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is stunning.

margo

Billie said...

I will have to check these out. I have been on the look out for some good christmas albums.

Bruce Niedt said...

Hey, Robert, Happy Holidays! I too am a sucker for Christmas music, and like you, I start before Thanksgiving. You can find my Amazon Listomania list of 35 favorite holiday albums at:

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Music-That-s-Actually-Good-My-Top-35/lm/163039QVZGFNT/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full

Vince Guaradli and the Beach Boys made my list too. The others from my list I'd recommend you check out are the albums from Phil Spector and company, Jethro Tull, Straight No Chaser, B.B. King, Emmylou Harris, The Smithereens, Mindy Smith, Rosie Thomas, and the dB's and friends. And one warning: Avoid Bob Dylan's Christmas album like a bad cup of egg nog.

Walt Wojtanik said...

Mom died Christmas Eve in '86; Dad four days short of her twentieth anniversary in '06. I do not survive Christmas without the music early and often. Robert, between your list and Bruce's, I come close to mine. Not specific order: White Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas with the Beach Boys, Straight No Chaser, Rockapella Christmas, A Jolly Christmas (Sinatra), Barenaked For the Holidays, The Christmas Song (King Cole), Merry Christmas (Mathis),
Christmas Eve and Other Stories (TSO).
But mostly I'll put on Holiday Lounge on Yahoo Radio for the good oldies.

theaikenite said...

Sting!

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I'll have to check out Belafonte, Margo.

Bruce, I noticed that Phil Spector & Co. album and was intrigued. Especially interested in B.B. King and Emmylou Harris as well--and the Smithereens.

Walt, I already enjoy Sinatra and Nat King Cole, but you and Bruce have given two thumbs up to this Straight No Chaser. Very cool.

And Monica, it looks like we've got a very enthusiastic vote for Sting! :) Good stuff!

~Tim said...

Also check out Come Darkness Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas by Mary Chapin Carpenter and One More Drifter in the Snow by Aimee Mann. I haven't written a Christmas music post in a couple years -- looks like it's time for an update!

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I can't believe I've never heard Christmas albums by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Aimee Mann! Will definitely need to hunt those down.