Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Time Is Here Again

Well friends, it’s that time of the year. It’s time to go crazy finding the perfect gift for someone special on your Christmas list. It’s time to clean up the house, so you can mess it up when you put up all the decorations. It’s time to make sure you sent all your Christmas cards. It’s time to get sick and tired of hearing Johnny Mathis singing “Winter Wonderland” on the ‘All Christmas’ radio station. It’s time to “yust go nuts at Christmas,” as Yorgi Yorgeson once sang.

My cure for Christmas music blues is to embrace those great Rock & Roll Christmas songs and those off the wall Novelty Christmas records. I also enjoy anything the radio does not overplay. With this in mind, I give you my short list of must have Christmas CDs.

“A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector,” The Phil Spector Christmas Album is the quintessential Rock & Roll Christmas record. In my opinion, it’s the one record this is sometimes overplayed on these ‘All Christmas’ Holiday formatted radio stations. It’s also the record that all other Rock & Roll Christmas records strive to be. Darlene Love sings her classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” The Chrystals, Ronettes, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans will sing their Holiday classics for you. It’ll give you those great Christmas goose bumps.

My next must have pick is kind of a sleeper for a lot of people. It’s Dion’s “Rock & Roll Christmas.” The highlight of this gem is Dion’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town;” he gives Springsteen a run for his money on this one. I love Dion’s versions of “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” as well. This CD rocks.

In 1978, a local station here in St. Louis, started to play a song called “Mary’s Boy Child, O My Lord” from a British group, Boney M. Many people here went nuts over this one. I myself included. I managed to find the single on Sire. Several years later, I discovered “The Most Beautiful Christmas Songs Of The World,” Boney M’s Christmas CD. This one might be a little harder to find; but it’s well worth the search. And that’s half the fun anyway.

“The Beach Boys Ultimate Christmas” is a collection of just about everything the boys from California recorded for the Holidays on Capital, and later on their Brother label. This is the Beach Boys Christmas CD to have in your collection. It sounds better than any other Beach Boys Christmas music on any other CD that I have in my collection. Again, this one brings on the Christmas goose bumps when I hear it.

“The Ultimate Christmas Album” volumes 1 through 6 from Collectables Records should be a part of any decent Holiday CD collection. There are so many great Christmas, and New Years, songs that I can’t mention them right now; so I’ll just point out a few. On Volume 1 you get The Four Seasons’ version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” along with Stevie Wonder singing “What Christmas Means to Me” and Brook Benton sounding a lot like Nat King Cole on “This Time of the Year.” Volume 2 is filled with gems like Andy Williams classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Dean Martin with the best rendition of “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” and an outstanding DooWop version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer” by a group called the Mellodeers. Volume 3 brings Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” and an overlooked gem from Lou Christie and the University of Pittsburgh’s Men’s Glee Club. While I do not have the other 3 volumes in my collection, I’ve seen the track listings and they live up to the first 3 CDs. These six discs can be found at

The last one I mention here is “A Christmas Party with Eddie G.” If you see this CD out there in stores or on the web, and you like light hearted Christmas music, take my advice and buy it. You might want to buy several copies and give them to your friends. There’s lunacy and total Christmas insanity throughout this collection. The highlight on this disc is a Three Stoogies spoof that goes through the entire recording. So "spread out" and find this CD.

Here’s a few honorable mentions on the Holiday CD list.

“Dr. Demento’s Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time” and “Dr. Demento’s Holidays in Dementia;” the titles speak for themselves.

“Christmas “ by Bruce Cockburn is a Folk/Bluegrass masterpiece highlighted by “Mary Had a Baby.”

“Billboard’s Rock & Roll Christmas” is another fine collection of Holiday gems.

There is a certain amount of repetition with some of these collections. That’s a problem whenever you start to collect great music. But, it’s a good problem. You should be able to find this CD on Amazon or some other on-line music store; you should find this classic at Best Buy or other retail stores.

So let me be the one millionth person to say Merry Christmas to all. I know I'm two weeks early, but what the hey!


gritz76 said...

Every year me Father-In-Law plays that Beach Boys album and sings along. Usually after a little bit too much egg nog. Ahh it's only two weeks away!!!

Unknown said...

Playing with my Lionel trains, listening to the Chipmunks Christmas Song and eating homemade cookies.