Christmas Edition, by Rich Paschall
Last year at the annual SERENDIPITY Christmas Party and Hoedown, we were pleased to bring you our holiday playlists. While the Christmas pudding was singing in the copper, we were singing along with songs from “Christmas Past” (Dead Artists Edition), “Christmas Present” (Living Artists Edition), and “Christmas Yet To Come” (Young Artists Edition).
When the party is over this year and we have switched off the video of the perpetual Yule Log burning in a fireplace, what am I listening to? As I tiptoe gently around Marley’s ghost, I find a few favorite albums already out and ready to play. Before the clock strikes one, I can probably play all of them.
In the corner of the living room is an old record stand. My mother had it as far back as I can remember. It is filled with record albums from the last century. The stand is made of metal and is a bit heavy when empty. When filled with records, it is impossible to move. Many years ago I gave away my mom’s stereo as well as a separate speaker. They were both large pieces of furniture I could not keep. I replaced them with a record player, cassette player combination. On top of that usually sits my “boom box,” a radio/cassette player/cd player I bought sometime last century when such things were popular. This is my music-making corner.
A couple of my mother’s Christmas Albums survive. One has always been a favorite and will start off my list of Christmas albums I own, and you should too.
The Andy Williams Christmas Album. If you are paying attention at the mall or listening to the Christmas music station in your car, you will likely hear a few of these. Some are in constant rotation on the Christmas stations. You can not help but hear them. I bet you can even sing along with Andy’s biggest hits. You can find all of it posted on YouTube. I still listen to this one on vinyl.
The Christmas Attic, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This 1998 concept album of “symphonic rock” is also the basis of their annual Christmas tour. The story, if you can follow it through the songs, is of a young angel sent to earth. I have the 2002 re-issue in CD format. Two years ago, they posted all 17 tracks, one hour, 13 minutes, and 25 seconds of the album to YouTube. The complete concert is also there and a bit longer. Here is one of their best-known selections:
All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan, Kenny Chesney. Country’s answer to Jimmy Buffet rocked out his country Christmas in the sun with this album. Some traditional Christmas songs are mixed in with some original tunes. You can find many of the songs from the 2003 album on YouTube. This is the title tune:
Chicago Christmas, Chicago. This one is also known as Chicago XXXVII. Yes, this 2019 entry is their 37th album and they are still going strong. They have another tour lined up for next year. (I have my tickets, by the way.) Chicago released a mix of original tunes and Christmas standards on their most recent album. All were given the “rock with horns” treatment that they are known for. You can get the CD or listen on a streaming service, but there is no need. They posted all the songs to YouTube right away. Listen for free. Their website will link you to every place you can find it. With everyone stuck at home during the pandemic last year, Chicago issued this one from all of their homes:
Winter In The Air, David Archuleta. This is another collection of originals mixed with traditional tunes. David has co-writing credits on the title tune, which we have talked about when reviewing the album two years ago. Like three of the other albums on the list, you can find all the songs on YouTube. You will want to sing along to Christmas Every Day, another of David’s tunes. I find it to be one of those songs that run around in my head after I hear it.
“…the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the washhouse, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.'” – Charles Dickens
Click on the album titles above and you will find the entire album for four of them. The Kenny Chesney link will take you to the title tune.
See Also: “What Are You Listening To?,” Something Different, Something Eclectic, SERENDIPITY, December 5, 2021.