Writer and editor displays her work and interests

Christmas Albums We Love

Friday 30 November 2018 - Filed under Music

I carefully hand-picked from our collection of over 150 Christmas albums the ones I feel most strongly should be shared with all music lovers.

Valerie told me about the new Monkees album, Christmas Party. They don’t sound like old guys struggling with some health issues, they sound like fun and enthusiasm. Silver Bells comes from an older album by Davy Jones who died a few years ago.

We love the a cappella fun with Straight No Chaser, especially the song Text Me Merry Christmas from Under the Influence—Holiday Edition.

The European group Boney M sounds like reggae from the Caribbean. I love Mary’s Boy Child. It’s on their Christmas album.

A Very Special Christmas from 1987 features my favorite version of Silent Night, by Stevie Nicks, and many other wonderful adaptations by various artists of that day.

Asleep at the Wheel also features various artists and good Texas country swing on their album, Merry Texas Christmas Y’all. There’s a little Tex-Mex influence too.

It’s hard to pick from Dan Fogelberg’s The First Christmas Morning. The instrumentation and vocals will astound you. It’s Christmas Time and I Saw Three Ships get my votes.

I love barbershop harmony. My classic favorite album by the Gas House Gang from St. Charles, Missouri, is Some Children See Him. Their bass, Jim Henry, a music professor, directs a championship barbershop chorus, the Ambassadors of Harmony. Their Christmas show will be featured on [] on December 8th and 9th performances. The quartet’s Little Drummer Boy and Go Tell It On the Mountain from this album won a cappella awards the year it was released.

Serious music students and devotees will love WinterSing from the Telluride Choral Society. All ages and instrumental styles are represented, along with a guest visit from John McCutcheon performing Christmas in the Trenches.

The Bells of Dublin by the Chieftains captures the British Isles’ influence in a folksy way. You’ll virtually dance to their rhythms. My favorite is probably The Wren in the Furze.

If you’re a music perfectionist, you must hear Deck the Halls by Mannheim Steamroller. Their entire album from 1984—just called Christmas—is the ultimate instrumental experience.

Patty Loveless, from here in Kentucky, has a pure, soulful presentation that will take you to the mountains. Her album, Bluegrass and White Snow, also flaunts the instruments in traditional bluegrass. Harmony is queen. Christmas Time’s A Comin’ and The First Noel only begin the list of my favorites.

In 1997 Roger’s sister Jan dared him to hit the high notes in O Holy Night. That inspired a family Christmas album which we always listen to after Thanksgiving dinner to kick off the Christmas season. It’s yours free for the listening if you choose to download it from the link below. My daughter—who was nine months pregnant—sings Do You Hear what I Hear. I perform my version, a parody, of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. We were raising snakes at the time, and Jaybird pays tribute to our quest for their food. We prepared a special song mentioning the Smith family sisters and brothers which was played at our gathering in Trammel, Kentucky that year.

[Click here to download our album.]

2018-11-30  »  Marilyn Brandt Smith