Just when you think you’ve heard every seasonal/Christmas/holiday song, some odd B-side comes through the cheap car speakers via WJEF-Jeff 92 or from a pal’s shared Spotify playlist.
So, here’s today’s thread.
Today’s Based in Lafayette Thread: What song – go-to and got-to-have, whether beloved and traditional, offbeat or off-center – should we add to the Christmas playlist?
And a sub-thread: What song you NOT want on that playlist?
As always, be cool to each other when responding. And thanks for reading and supporting the Based in Lafayette reporting project. If you’re new around here and thinking about subscribing, here’s a way to jump aboard.
I always go back to Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney Christmas music. Those pure voices and simple melodies that bring back childhood anticipation of a tree, dad being home, and holiday treats.
I never want to hear The Chipmunks again. Alvin needs to Rest In Peace!
I’m a sucker for the “classics” at Christmas. Anything Bing Crosby puts me in the holiday spirit.
The french carol "Il est né, le divin Enfant" (He is born, the divine Christ child) takes me back to middle school french class where Madame Shearer led us in singing carols. She wore canary red lipstick and had the best singing voice.
I think the Roaches have one of the best Christmas albums of all times.
As high-brow as it sounds, I’m also a sucker for Elmo’s holiday duet with Rosie O’Donnell. (Be kind to me folks; I have other redeeming qualities).
I miss doing my annual Christmas 'Acoustic Blend' on WBAA. I'd pull out beautiful obscurities like the Stanley Brothers' "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,' John Fahey's 'Carol of the Bells,' the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble's version of Leroy Anderson's 'Sleigh Ride,' the Kingston Trio's 'Mary Mild,' Charles Brown's 'Please Come Home for Christmas' and the Staple Singers' '25th Day of December.' I'd break it up with novelties like 'Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,' 'Don't Give Me No Goose for Christmas, Grandma' and maybe a few Homer and Jethro or Stan Freberg specialties. There'd always be something from the Christmas Jug Band and often something suitable for Hanukkah. Of course, I'd close with 'Auld Lang Syne' by the Country Gentlemen or some bluegrass band from the distant past. Programming that Christmas show presented an enjoyable challenge, and I was grateful to share what I found with WBAA listeners.
Since discovering it a few years ago, I have been going back to “Songs for Christmas” by Sufjan Stevens. Sweet and also melancholy.
I always start bopping around to “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses and A Very Special Christmas Vol 1 is a must- play. Of course as an A Cap alum, I listen to our Christmas album every year and at least one run-through of Handel’s Messiah.
I always look forward to hearing "In the Bleak Midwinter."
Josh Groban's "O, Come All Ye Faithful" is phenomenal. His vocal with full orchestra and choir behind him gives me goosebumps. There is a slow building of tension in this version, and near the end with the increasing tympani rolls and the pronouncement by the trumpets, it feels as if the heavens have opened, exactly as it should be. On the flip side of holiday tunes, please omit any version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
Loreena McKennit's God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a great rendition of a family favorite. I'd rather not hear Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas is You.
My must-haves on my playlist are the entire Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack album, The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, Greg Lake's I Believe in Father Christmas, Otis Redding's cover of White Christmas, and Sting's Gabriel's Message. My kid likes Jingle Bells, so I keep Sammy Davis Jr's rendition in the playlist, along Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis and Cheech and Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady, just for fun.
In recent years I've added Hayes Carll's Grateful for Christmas, which I think captures the reality of aging and dealing with the holidays. Tracy Chapman's cover of O Holy Night is very good.
We play Leon Redbone singing Christmas songs...
Some rock and roll for the list: Aspirational: "Happy X-Mas (War is Over)" by John Lennon; "2000 Miles" by the Pretenders; Protest: "The Rebel Jesus" by Jackson Browne and "I Believe in Father X-Mas" by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; Dark humor: "Father X-Mas" by the Kinks; Melancholy: "River" by Joni Mitchell
"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney
Big fan of the Lux Interior Christmas Mixtape. Lots of surf rock, but just classic enough to maintain the nostalgia you want.
Like so many, I’ll go to a particular must-hear recording of a “song,” in this case the incredibly inventive arrangement by jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal of the “Dance of the Reed Flutes” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. [Ted Rosenthal Trio, “Winter Wonderland” (Playscape Recordings, 2013)]
The original couldn’t be any more of a Yuletide chestnut, I know, but this one makes it into…an Afro-Cuban cha-cha-chá! Some great harmonies and orchestration for the piano/bass/drums trio, and a really engaging and humorous mix of moods.
Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass have some great Christmas tunes
Mannheim Steamrollers or Trans- Siberian Orchestra always liven up our spirits
I only have 2. White Christmas by Bing Crosby. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
I’ll add my name to the list as far as loving the classics. Now I get why my Grandma Swisher would tear up when “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby would come on. A few must have additions on my list-I love O Holy Night so some rendition of it, Happy Xmas (War is Over), Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder’s Christmas tunes, Darlene Love Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Please Come Home for Christmas the Eagles, Step Into Christmas by Elton John, Mistletoe, You Make it Feel Like Christmas, Hard Candy Christmas (must have Dolly) and—laugh if you must-but at my house Same Auld Lang Syne is a hit. (My mom loves it) To take off permanently-probably Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer-though my 10 year old self would argue with me. (Memories of my brother and I belting that one out)
While I’m not much of a country music fan, I appreciate the spirit of Amanda Shire’s Christmas album highlighted in this story on WBAA earlier this week: https://www.npr.org/2021/12/20/1065244681/amanda-shires-wants-out-for-christmas?ft=nprml&f=1065244681
“I think it would be a big lie or a sham to just walk through this Christmas stuff and think that everything's perfect,” she shared.
Preach. Especially in 2021. Merry (or at least a decent) Christmas to you all!
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band "Colorado Christmas".
Great suggestions that I want to check out! "Blue Christmas" by almost anyone, John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas", and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." Gene Autry's "Up on the Rooftop" and "Here Comes Santa Clause" bring back happy childhood memories. However, all of my faves are wearing thin from 3 months of grocery store-department store-tv-radio overkill. And please no more"12 Days of Christmas"! Has anybody ever really liked that song?!
The Marquees-Santa Done Got Hip
We Need A Little Christmas from the musical "MAME" should start and end every playlist. And for those of us who grew up on the Southern Border where there are palm trees and no snow, "Feliz Navidad!" is tops. No version of "Little Drummer Boy" should appear on any playlist.
My tongue-in-cheek playlist, The 13th Day of Christmas, https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2S1oyUxhm5WfIsO7ibI5dz?si=d99ab58ad35140e9
LM. I like Apple’s jazzy Christmas playlist
I'm a sucker for a Christmas-adjacent song: "New Sensations," by Lou Reed. "2,000 Miles," by The Pretenders. "I Wanna Be Sedated," by The Ramones.
I really dislike “ Grandma Got Run Over a Reindeer”. It is ,to me just plain wrong on so many levels.
This entire album: