Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Music

Damsel in Green and Caroline's Waterloo both feature a heroine who can thump out Christmas carols on the piano with great verve - apparently by ear...or from memory.

I love Christmas carols...I like singing in the choir at church - we get to start practicing Christmas songs as early as September some years (yay!)...that said, I don't want to listen to Christmas songs before Thanksgiving - I don't want to get sick of hearing them. I used to buy at least one Christmas CD a year - I love having a variety of styles and songs to listen to. I especially like being able to make my own play lists on my ipod, picking and choosing my favorites from all of my cd's.

I thought it would be fun to share our favorite Christmas tunes (title AND artist). I'm pretty sure I still have a little bit left from my last itunes gift card, and I wouldn't mind spending it on some new holiday songs.

I'll start with a few of my favorites:

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan - a surprisingly great arrangement.
Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) sung by Mormon Tabernacle Choir - my favorite 'belt it out''s so much fun to sing (even though it's not technically a Christmas song). Here's a flash mob version that I just found that is pretty darn awesome.
Go Tell It On The Mountain - Dolly Parton (I especially like it when the tempo increases)...I like to think this helps me get in touch with my Southern roots.
The 12 Days of Christmas - Straight No Chaser (sure it's silly and they never actually sing it straight through (which is a good thing)...I do like me some acapella...))

There are tons more that I love - and one that I'm still waiting for a rendition that I can get behind (O Holy Night - I want it sung by a tenor who can belt it out of the park).

Now it's your turn...what songs help you get in the Christmas spirit?


  1. The Wiggles do a killer 'Angels We Have Heard on High'

    Neil Diamond--I own both his Christmas albums and they are dynamite!

  2. 'Corn, Water and Wood'--I think by Riders in the Sky. Lovely little Christmas cowboy song.

    And danged if Whitney Houston's 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' isn't the only good version anywhere...

  3. Betty Barbara here--
    No, no Betty Keira--Bing Crosby's version of "Do You hear What I Hear" is THE version. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

    Andy Williams-"Most Wonderful Time of the Year".

    I'm also a fan of the Straight No Chaser version of 12 Days.

    Robert Goulet-O Holy Night (my word, that man could sing and sure was a handsome dude).

    Local favorite,(a 1 hit wonder for Dave DeBoy) a very silly song, "Crabs for Christmas"--about a poor Maryland native, stuck in Houston, TX and homesick for Chesapeake Bay crabs. I absolutely need to hear that at least once in the Holiday season.

    And finally, the Snoopy and the Rad Baron Christmas song--makes me cry, every time.

    One of the local lite rock stations goes "All Christmas, All the Time" right after Thanksgiving. It is on constantly in my car.

  4. Betty Barbara, you're a gal after my own heart (and now I want to hear "Crabs for Christmas"...oh, wait...I just did on youtube).

    I just spent about an hour wrestling with iTunes (which was evidently invented by the devil - when he was in a particular evil mood...) - I made a new Christmas playlist...that includes the cd's that were purchased this of them way back in August. I had totally spaced that we bought a Christmas cd at Bar-J Chuckwagon at the behest of my 15 year old son who has quite eclectic musical taste. One of my favorite tunes on it is Jingle Bells - you haven't heard Jingle Bells until you hear Bryan Humphrey do some cowboy yodeling during it...wakes that tired old song right up.

    We have a local acapella group up here in Washington called "The Bobs". Everyone in the group is named 'Bob' whether that's their name or not (rather like being called "Betty" here!). Their Christmas album is a hoot. My favorite is '50 Kilowatt Tree'...check it out.

  5. Betty Laura here. Long time reader - first time poster! Best Christmas songs ever have to include:
    The Peace Carol by John Denver & the Muppets
    Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
    Sleigh Ride by the Boston Pops
    Thistlehair the Christmas Bear by Alabama
    and, of course
    White Christmas by der Bingle

  6. We love most of Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music. Just last night I performed in our local Messiah. It was so inspiring. Here is a link to our version of a flash mob, not quite as organized, and the film isn't the best. I am in the Santa hat, singing soprano.

  7. Betty Barbara here--
    Betty Laura--Yes!! John Denver and the Muppets!!!(HI. Welcome. Don't be shy.)
    I have that CD! Must go put it in the holiday rotation!
    And of course, Mannheim Steamroller--Yeehaw! I remember the first time I heard them back in the early 90's.
    Betty Debbie--'50 Kilowatt Tree' is a hoot--when I have time I shall check out the rest of their songs. Thank you for the tip!

    One more for my list--"Mary's Boy Child"--Boney M version....

  8. I love that Barenaked Ladies God rest ye merry gentlemen/ we three kings. I wish We Three Kinds was in the Hymn book.

  9. Agree Betty Barbara, Bing knocks it out but the two versions are so different that I don't even think of them as the same song.

    @ Betty Laura! De-lurked at last!

    Re: local Christmas songs. Here in the Pacific Northwest we've got a ditty called 'Christmas in the Northwest' which actually makes my bile rise. It isn't even kitschy enough to be that charming 'hey let's all sing along in the car' sort of song. Gah.

  10. Betty Michele here. Used to post last Spring, but spent my summer devoted to the demise of another very dear Betty (Ugly Betty) and only just found my way back to Uncrushable a few weeks ago. Forgot how much I adore this blog!

    Anyway, had to chime in on the Christmas music list. My favorites have to include:

    The entire Charlie Brown Christmas album by Vince Garibaldi (sp?) - it's killing me that I can't find my cd to load on my iPod right now.

    "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby & David Bowie

    "Merry Christmas, Baby" by Lionel Hampton (nothing like a bluesy Christmas song)

    "The Gift" by Aselin Debison (darn song makes me cry every time)

    Have to agree on the Barenaked Ladies' "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" great one

    Plus any Christmas songs song by Bing, Ella, Dean, Frank

    Oh, and "O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas song of all, but like you, Betty Debbie, I don't know of a definitive version. I think Bing is singing the version playing in my head right now, but I have no way to prove that.

  11. I had forgotten about the Bobs! I'm headed to iTunes right after this to download.

    My favorite Christmas album is "We Three Kings," by the Roches. I especially love their versions of "The Holly and the Ivy," and "Good King Wenceslas."

  12. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- very poignant for me. (Don't have a favorite performer; just like the song, esp. the lyrics.)

    In my family, we decorate the tree on Christmas Eve (I know, I know -- my mother's parents were British and my dad simply didn't care) while listening to the Messiah. When I was little, we'd listen to the Bach Christmas Oratorio, but I don't bother. We do listen to the Kings College Cambridge Lesson & Carols, in Betty Henry's hono(u)r -- he's a Kings grad.

    I don't need to listen to Christmas music right away, but I do when I'm writing the Totally Impersonal Christmas Letter, now in its 18th year!

  13. Ha ha, Betty Keira, I know Brenda White, the singer of that song. At the time she was married to our Pastor's son. It is a bit smaltzy, I agree, but there are some wonderful creative, thought provoking arrangements on the album. It's part of our must listen to Christmas recordings. And, I see I forgot to post the link to the recording of the flash mob I was in, not the best quality, on her little phone, but fun. I'm in the Santa hat.

  14. Thanks for the link! I love that you had a symphony playing with your group.

  15. I love the link Betty Barbara! How obliging of you to wear the hat for all your Betty sisters!

    And, yikes about you actually knowing the singer on my least favorite Christmas song!! (I'm mortified and chastened!) Her voice is quite lovely but you can't swing a dead cat around here between November 25th and December 25th without hearing it. ;0)

  16. Omigoodness, so many favorites: First, Johnny Mathis, his entire "Merry Christmas" album, but especially "Blue Christmas." Next, not "only" a Christmas album, but a seasonal one: "December" by George Winston, I love "Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head." Next, in no particular order: "Sleigh Ride" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers; "Fairytale of New York" by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues; "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love; "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. But my very favorite part of Christmas, even more than Christmas morning, is Christmas Eve, at church, singing "Silent Night" with our candles, and watching my over-excited children trying to not drip hot candle wax all over ourselves and the 300 extra people in church that night.

  17. Try "O Holy Night" by Larnelle Harris.

    But blah, blah, blah, Bettys--good ones are easy--but what are the truly BAD recordings of otherwise lovely songs?

    My top vote (you have to hear it to understand): "O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Johnny Cash

    Close second: "My Favorite Things" (although I always gripe about it being classified as a "Christmas song") by Barbra Streisand

    HOWEVER, I have it on good authority that the Jonas Brothers' singing "Silent Night" blows the others out of the water (waaaay too chicken to find out for myself).

  18. Oh Keira, no worries about not liking the song! It gets old after say ...three listens!
    And here is a link to the ABSOLUTELY worst Christmas recording EVER. I'm pretty sure it is a spoof, but oh my. I laughed so hard I almost embarrassed myself, and the local vocal coach almost passed out.

  19. Oh, and Saturday night Dr Lynnderlync and I attended an Oakridge Boys concert. We just loved it, and especially appreciated a pointed statement that it was a Christmas concert, not a holiday concert. They had some really unique and wonderful songs, as well as some traditional favorites. The Oakridge boys have been around since the 40s, although of course the members have changed over the years.

  20. Not to get all political here (never!) but I don't understand the fuss over "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas." What's wrong with acknowledging that some people celebrate a different holiday around this time of the year? The word holiday is a contraction of "holy day" so it's not like godless heathens are getting a shout-out.

    But what really clinched it for me was listening to Muzak at Target yesterday -- it was non-stop Christmas carols and songs, and nearly all of the carols are quite explicit about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We're all cool with that, right? You don't hear Kwanzaa songs, or Channukah carols, and no one complains So why get worked up about "Happy Holidays"?

    Hey, just my two cents, which with inflation is now about .67 cent...