Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This year's list of Dan's Essential Christmas Albums

That's right, kids. I said "albums." Some of you might remember those things, from before the days you 'downloaded' all those songs off the 'interwebs.'

In no particular order. . .

1. Andrew Peterson: Behold the Lamb of God - The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ
- Especially good are "Matthew's Begats," "It Came to Pass," and "Labor of Love."
2. The Chieftains: The Bells of Dublin
- Jackson Browne's "Rebel Jesus" is one of the highlights here.
3. Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Do they make Christmas albums better than this?
4. The Carpenters: Christmas Portrait
- Takes me back to gathering with the family at my aunt and uncle's house on Bainbridge Island, back in the day. And, of course, "Merry Christmas Darling" is an all-time favorite.
5. Diana Krall: Christmas Songs
- To add some jazz sophistication into the mix
6. John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together
- 'cause, you know, it's got both John Denver AND the Muppets.
7. George Winston: December
- In my top three, I'm sure. This album got me through some cold, lonely days on the Canadian prairies.
8. Kenny Loggins: December
- This album grows more on me every year.
9. Harry Connick jr.: Harry for the Holidays
10. Michael W. Smith: It's a Wonderful Christmas
- Poke around this blog long enough and you'll notice I've talked about this album plenty of times. Simply put, it's a solid soundtrack to the holidays.
11. John Rutter (with the Cambridge Singers): The John Rutter Christmas Album
- Classical yet modern, simple yet elegent. A few Rutter songs have become some of my favorite carols, including "Candlelight Carol" and "Angel's Carol."
12. Mindy Smith: My Holiday
- To add a slightly country flavor into the mix
13. David Willcocks and the Kings College Choir: Noel: Christmas at King's College
- A Christmas Eve Necessity
14. Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas (vol. 1-5)
- I did a review on this last month. Go read that.
15. Thomas Moore: The Soul of Christmas - A Celtic Music Celebration
- I picked this up for a buck out of the used CD bin at Rhino Records. One of the best bucks I've ever spent. Ever. Highlights include "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree," "In the Blead Midwinter," and "Christ Child's Lullaby."
16. St. Olaf Choir: A St. Olaf Christmas in Norway
- This one is slowly making it's way upward on my favorites list.
17. Steve Tyrell: This Time of the Year
- For the Christmas Party Soundtrack
18. Sara McLachlan: Wintersong
- I think I would describe this album as "Delicious" - like hot chocolate on a snowy day.
19. John Doan: Wrapped in White - Visions of Christmas Past
- In my top 2 Christmas albums all-time. Seeing him live last year only makes it more enjoyable. His take on "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is beyond exquisite.
20. Brass Mosaic: A Brass Christmas
- What could sound more like Christmas than brass instruments playing ancient and favorite carols?

So how many of those do you own? What albums would you add?


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan,
Your list looks interesting and we have heard some of those and would like to hear selective others.
Here's my list:
Harry Belefonte's Christmas, circa 1962
Alte Weinachtslieder Neu: a small group we heard last year in Leipzig, which places old carols in an impressive jazzesque format with haunting harmonies
Helma Sawatzky's Seasons of Grace: especially Grace Child and Reconciled(I gave you this last year on a tape. Did you listen to it? It's definitely worth a second chance.)
And for a single it's Babby Mason's Shopping List

Anonymous said...

I have 8 of them. I also like Amy Grant's first Christmas album, and James Taylor's "at Christmas". (Susan)