Thursday, December 22, 2005

Playlist--Special Holiday Edition

Karen Brown
Aretha Franklin, “Joy to the World” on Christmas of Hope (Sony)–This version, sung with members of the Fame Freedom Choir, is a spiritual shout-out that is impossible to listen to while sitting still. I really, really love it.
John Mellencamp, "Teddi's Song (When Christmas Comes)" from --very simple and simplistic but nice message ... how Christmas is about peace all around the world, toys for girls and boys and holding you tight. Works for me.

Lauren Onkey
The Beatles Christmas Albums, 1963-1969
Rev. J.M. Gates, “Gettin’ Ready for Christmas” on Goodbye, Babylon (Dust to Digital)
The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York” on If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Island)
Mack Rice, “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’” on It's Christmas Time Again (Stax)
Bruce Springsteen & The Max Weinberg 7, "Jingle Bell Rock," Asbury Park Convention Hall 12/7/01

Matt Orel
Phil Spector, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (Abkco)
Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy)
I'm also partial to the Nutcracker Suite; one of the first CDs I ever bought included a rendition by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony, on the London label.

John Floyd
Various Artists, Soul Christmas (Atlantic/Rhino)
Phil Spector, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (Abkco)
Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns, "Silent Night"
The Martels, "Rockin' Santa Claus"
The Youngsters, "Christmas In Jail"
Ike & Tina Turner, "Merry Christmas Baby"
Booker T. & the MGs, "Silver Bells"
James Brown's Funky Christmas (Polydor)
The Jackson Trio, "Jingle Bell Hop"
The Orioles, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve"

Dave Marsh
Various Artists, For Kate's Sake, benefit album, produced by Garry Tallent of the E Street Band. Features Steve Earle and Allison Moorer (“Nothing But a Child”), Buddy and Julie Miller, Raul Malo (grand version of "Pretty Paper"), Joe Ely (Dylan's "Winterlude"), Jim Lauderdale, John Prine's "I'll Be Home for Christmas," the reunited (for this project) Jason and the Scorchers doing the unlikeliest "O Holy Night" you'll ever hear, and One Big Happy's now-eternal "Gift Wrapped Boy." Oh, and Rosie Flores singing "Christmas Everyday" while apparently channeling Carla Thomas. Raises money for bone marrow transplantion but the reason you want it is it's the best new Christmas compilation since the first A Very Special Christmas.
Hawaii Mud Bombers, Santa's Wish, (Wizzard-in-Vinyl)--A Swedish band on a Japanese label, the disc pressed in Taiwan, doing Yankee garage rock in English. No wonder Santa only does this shit once a year.
Marah, A Christmas Kind of Town (Yep Roc)--Brings together the Bielanko brothers and their whole family, much of which sounds like it could be busted for CWI (caroling while intoxicated). The Sha-Lita's wacko girl group "Here We Come A-Wassailing" is my particular favorite, but don't forget, "Every traffic cop is a peppermint drop," because Marah sure hasn't.

Various Artists, A Million Dollars of Christmas Doo-Wop (Live Gold Productions)--If you find it, buy it. If you find more than one, buy them all and give them as gifts. This collection is hard to find, but not harder than the original 45s, which are among the rarest Christmas records.
Various Artists, Soul Christmas (Atlantic/Rhino): Of the countless soul christmas compilations, this 1968 album remains the most satisfying. Not a dud in the bunch.
Red Simpson, Trucker's Christmas (Sundazed): As Bakersfield country Christmas records go, this doesn't hold a candle to Buck Owens. I endorse it anyway, some for the decent truckers tunes, more for the irritating, mesmerizing, and completely unnecessary spoken-word introductions to the already straightforward songs.
Various Artists, Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas (Dancing Cat): The colder it gets, the better it sounds. Fireplace highly recommended.
Wally Gonzales, The Christmas Bandido (Roysales): Little-known McAllen, Texas tejano singer busts "Feliz Navidad Grandma", "Christmas Polka", and "Santa Claus y Sus Venaditos." Where do I get this? Used, if you're lucky like me. Otherwise, only at Wal Mart...
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Mr. Heatmiser" from Everything You Want for Christmas (Vanguard)--Who knew that they were born to cover the showstopping tune from a second-rate Christmas special with an explicable hold over the generation (x) that grew up watching it?
Gear Daddies, "I Wanna Drive the Zamboni" from Billy's Live Bait
(Polydor)--Hey, "My Favorite Things" is a Christmas song. Why not this?