Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Ten Favorite Christmas Albums

Inspired by Naomi Sarah (and because my cold is still addling my brain and I'm failing at writing anything more serious/strenuous -- it's taken me three days to write this post), I am going to share my favorite Christmas albums with you today.  The ones I own and listen to every year, waiting eagerly all through November for it to be the day after Thanksgiving and "legal" to listen to them.  (To be honest, though, sometimes I listen to one or two earlier, when Cowboy is not around to scold me.)

Because it's me, I'm doing this as one of my "ten favorites" lists.  And I know I'm cutting this pretty close to Christmas, but this might actually be good -- you  might be tired of the Christmas music you always listen to, and be ready for a change.  Maybe you'll find something new here you really dig!  Or be reminded of something you'd heard a long time ago and forgotten about.


1.  25th Day of December by Bobby Darin is, as you might expect from Bobby Darin, different.  He has a few traditional songs like "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night," but also a whole bunch of spirituals.  And the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy."  And a couple songs in Latin, which sounds very interesting when sung with a Bronx accent.  My favorite track is his bouncy "Go Tell it on the Mountain," but you can listen to the whole album on YouTube here.


2.  Elvis' Christmas Album by Elvis Presley is the first Christmas album I can remember listening to.  My parents have it on LP, and it became tradition (at my insistence as a tiny person) that we listen to it while decorating our Christmas tree.  I have it on CD and continue that tradition.  My favorite track is "If Every Day was Like Christmas," which Cowboy agrees is basically my theme song.


3.  My Kind of Christmas by Dean Martin is a much more recent acquisition for me -- I've only had it maybe three or four years.  Dino is my second-favorite singer, after Bobby Darin, and his effortless style on this compilation album is perfect for Christmas.  You can listen to the whole album here on YouTube, but the first song is my favorite, the cheerily seductive "Baby, It's Cold Outside."


4.  White Christmas by Bing Crosby is a compilation album I bought when I was in college.  It doesn't actually have my favorite Bing Crosby Christmas song on it (that would be "Do You Hear What I Hear?"), but it does have "White Christmas," and since I'm eternally fond of the movie he's in by the same name, well, this song is very special to me, even if it's not the same version from the movie.


5.  A Family Christmas by the Piano Guys quickly became a favorite for me.  I've really liked them for several years now, and I get such a kick out of their original and enthusiastic arrangements.  My favorite is absolutely their rendition of "Carol of the Bells," which is one of my favorite Christmas carols.


6. An Andrews Sisters Christmas by the Andrews Sisters is a compilation of Christmas songs from them, including several with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.  It's perfect for when I'm in a nostalgic mood.  My favorite track is "A Merry Christmas at Grandmother's" with Danny Kaye.


7. When My Heart Finds Christmas by Harry Connick, Jr. is one of the first CDs I ever bought -- this might even predate my obsession with Bobby Darin :-o  Without a doubt, my favorite track is "Sleigh Ride" -- listening to a sample of this track at a store called Media Play over and over is what convinced me to buy the album as a teen.  You can listen to the whole album here on YouTube, too.


8. A Christmas Album by Barbra Streisand is another one I grew up with -- my mom had this either as an LP or an 8-track tape (do any of you know what that is???), and later we had it as a cassette tape we could play in the car too (miracle of miracles!).  I absolutely adore her juiced-up version of "Jingle Bells," and the whole album is here on YouTube.


9.  Ultimate Christmas Collection by Johnny Cash is another more recent favorite -- I think I bought this after we moved to Tir Asleen, so five years ago or fewer.  It has lots of traditional Christmas hymns and carols on the first disc, and then a second disc that's a recording from 1972 of Johnny and his wife June Carter Cash, his brother Tommy Cash, and a bunch of other country artists -- they share Christmas memories and stories and sing songs together.  My favorite track from the whole collection is "Away in a Manger," but I can't find that version on YouTube, so instead I'll share "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."


10.  Christmas with the Rat Pack by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. is my newest favorite -- I just bought this last year when DKoren was visiting me.  It's a wonderfully mellow, happy collection of Christmas songs by the three of them.  It has overlapping tracks with my Dean Martin collection, so I'll chose a not-Dino song to share here.  I really like this version of Frank Sinatra singing "The Christmas Waltz."


And as a bonus, here's the Elvis Presley version of "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," which is basically my absolute favorite rendition of any Christmas song ever.  It's pedestrian until 1:16, and then... blows my socks clean off.  But it's not on my favorite Elvis Christmas album, wouldn't you know?  But I couldn't not include it.  So I kinda saved the absolute best to share last.


Merry Christmas, my lovely blogging friends!

15 comments:

  1. I know what an eight-track tape is! They're still going strong at my grandma's house!

    Thumbs up for Bing Crosby and Johnny Cash. ;-)

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    1. Emma Jane, when I saw I had a comment from you, my first thought was, "I bet she likes Johnny Cash too!" :-D

      And that's so cool your grandma still has a working 8-track player! I should wrestle my parents' 8-tracks away from them and send them to you. Their 8-track player died when I was like six -- it ate either a Barbra Streisand tape or the Henry Mancini tape I made them play constantly, and that was the end of it. Thirty years ago. But they still have their 8-tracks. Hee!

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  2. Oh man, you are making me feel like I'm so un-Christmas-y! I might be the only one who doesn't actively seek out or listen to Christmas music on my own during the holidays. Probably because I didn't grow up listening to Christmas music at home? It just doesn't occur to me? We had our school Christmas concerts, and Christmas music playing everywhere we went, but at home we only had one record, which was Luciano Pavarotti's O Holy Night LP (which I need to pick up on CD one of these days, as I do miss that one), and that was it.

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    1. Um, well, it's probably also not normal to have like 17 Christmas CDs. There is probably a happy medium, lol.

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    2. I underestimated, DKoren. I bought 2 more Christmas CDs this year, which brings my grand total to 24...

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    3. Hee! That is awesome! That will let you provide us more lovely playlists next Christmas, right?

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    4. Next year, maybe I'll do my top ten favorite specific recordings of Christmas songs!

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  3. Love Dean Martin's voice. My fave 'commercial' album is Josh Groban's'Noel' and for carols, the Cambridge King's College Choir album - on which they sing Darke's version of In the Bleak Midwinter - all-time fave carol.

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    1. Rosie Dean, yeah, I don't get tired of listening to Dean Martin.

      My favorite sacred Christmas album is "A Branch is Growing" by Branches Band, which is on YouTube here.

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    2. Sadly, YouTube won't let me watch it. Maybe because I'm in the UK.

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    3. Aww, that's a bummer. I hate it when stuff is only available one part of the world :-(

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  4. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  5. Merry Christmas, Hamlette!!!!!!! *hugs*

    That Elvis version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" is FANTASTIC--I loved it. Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Merry Christmas, Jessica! I'm glad you like it!

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