'The Beach Boys' Christmas Album,' Phil Spector's
'A Christmas Gift For You' and Ella Fitzgerald's 'Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.' What do they all have in common? All are from the early '60s. I could list a second tier of favorites, but they would all be from roughly the same period. The point is, even though there have been scores of great holiday songs through the years, I haven't been taken with an album from the season in ages.
Occasionally, an album comes along that becomes a candidate for holiday classic. It does happen. Right now I'm really rooting for Tracey Thorn's 'Tinsel and Lights,' but it's just too early to tell. When Thanksgiving rolls around five years from now, will I be yearning to put it on the turntable? I hope so. Thorn could simply sing the names on the naughty and nice lists and it would be beautiful. In case 'Tinsel and Lights' doesn't make my best albums list (out in a few days!), I wanted to give it a big endorsement now. The possibility of a holiday album on the countdown isn't sitting well with me for some reason.
Here are a few holiday songs you may not hear on alongside the Carpenters and Rascal Flatts on your local 24/7 Christmas station. Had to get in one more dig, didn't I? Enjoy the season!
Belle & Sebastian - Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me (mp3)
XTC - Thanks for Christmas (mp3)
Freedy Johnston - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (mp3)
Marshall Crenshaw - Sock It To Me Santa (mp3)
NRBQ - Jolly Old St. Nicholas (mp3)
Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (mp3)
Apples in Stereo - Holiday Mood (mp3)
Squeeze - Christmas Day (mp3)