Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Albums

It's no secret that we love Christmas music (and Christmas movies) around our house. We play it almost exclusively from well before Thanksgiving until after New Year's Day. We've even been known to listen to a Christmas song or two in July.

While we enjoy most all Christmas Music, here are my 10 favorites with a few extras thrown in at the end:

10. A Motown Christmas

With Motown's roster back in the day, this album had no choice but to be outstanding. Michael, Stevie, The Temptations The Supremes, Smokey and Marvin knocked it out of the park with this one.

9. Elvis' Christmas Album - Elvis Presley

I remember listening to this on my grandparents' console turntable when I was a kid. Man, does this one bring back memories. I always thought Blue Christmas was about blue Christmas lights, which may explain my fondness for them today.

8. A Very She and Him Christmas - She & Him

This one is a much newer than the others on this list, but it fits right in. This is pure Christmas retro fun.

7. A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra

If you're dressed up at a Christmas party with a cocktail in your hand, what else are you going to listen to?

6. Christmas Portrait - Carpenters

Let's face it, the holidays aren't always perfect. The thing that really made Karen Carpenter stand out from the other great singers of her era was always, for me, that touch of sadness in her voice. These aren't sad songs, but underneath it all, she can make you feel what we all feel from time to time during this season.

5. Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald

You've heard many of these songs in various movies, even if you didn't know it. The title couldn't be more appropriate, and this is one of the most fun Christmas albums out there.

4. White Christmas - Bing Crosby

One word: classic. This is probably the album we play the most around our house, and it (along with any of my top 10) could be my favorite Christmas album on any given day.

3. A Winter Romance - Dean Martin

This one isn't strictly a "Christmas" album, as most of the songs are just about the season of winter. That makes it a perfect listen anytime the weather is cold, so it lets you stretch the Christmas spirit well past the holiday season. Also, check out the cover art. Dean was truly one of the original players.

2. The Beach Boys' Christmas Album

This album feels like a drive along the PCH in Southern California with the top down and the sun out.

1. A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Another gem that puts me smack dab in Southern California. I guess you can guess where I'd want to live if money wasn't an obstacle and I wasn't such a southern boy at heart.

We all know Phil's crazy, but he made a masterpiece here.

Honorable Mentions

Soul Christmas - As a mid-south resident, it was hard not to pick this one as part of the top 10 (especially picking the Motown Christmas above it). It is still one of my favorites, and it gives a little grittier take on Christmas music. Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa is great, but maybe not suitable for the office Christmas party. Otis shines on this one as well.

Elf: Music From The Motion Picture - Honestly, this one is in my top 10, but all these songs are found elsewhere...many of them on other albums in this list.

Christmas With The Rat Pack - Like the Elf soundtrack, this one is a top 10 favorite, but the best songs are found elsewhere on the list.

James Taylor At Christmas - I know, it sounds like a Williams Sonoma store, but who can really hate on James Taylor? When I need some relaxing Christmas tunes, this is my go to.

Songs for Christmas: Sufjan Stevens - Christmas tunes for the hipster in your life.

I know there are many other's I've left off, and many of my favorite songs, like Andy Williams' Most Wonderful Time of the Year and Alabama's Christmas in Dixie, are on albums I really haven't listened to that much. Maybe I'll have to expand the list in coming years to make way for all the Christmas cheer coming out of our speakers this time of year.

Happy listening, and have a Merry Christmas!