04 December 2009

More Christmas Music Recommendations

A couple years ago, I listed a countdown of my most and least favorite Christmas tunes. You can find a roundup of my Top Five lists here. With Christmas soon upon us, I've decided that I should offer you some more holiday music to enjoy.
  • I'm a big fan of Harry Connick, Jr. He's released a few Christmas albums during his career. My favorite of these is When My Heart Finds Christmas. The album recalls some of the great Christmas songs that were recorded during the 1940's and early 1950's by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. While it was difficult to single one song out, I have been able to do so. His rendition of "The Blessed Dawn Of Christmas Day" is one of the most emotionally delivered songs I've heard.

  • Bob Dylan is not a singer. What he is is one of the greatest songwriters to have ever lived. He has penned some of the most iconic American music you'll hear. But he is not a singer. That is what makes his album Christmas In The Heart such a disappointment. The album is too richly produced for his weatherd, ragged voice to stand up to. It sounds like a Traveling Wilburys album without the benefit of having the other Wilburys present to record, which wouldn't be completely possible anyway. Still, there is a pearl amongst these swine, the playful romp "Must Be Santa". Writen in the style of "The International Friendship Song", this tune takes off in pure polka style and doesn't stop until the end (as all songs should, I suppose). I defy you to listen to this without wanting to sing along.

  • Originally released exclusively at Hallmark stores as A Christmas Album and re-released as James Taylor At Christmas, this is yet another album that should be in your Christmas music collection. Like the Harry Connick, Jr. album, it was difficult to pick one song out of so many. But I've settled on "Baby It’s Cold Outside", a duet that pairs James with Natalie Cole. The samba shuffle gives a cozy feel that enhances the playful back-and-forth between James and Natalie. The chemistry between the two singers feels real … you can tell these two had a blast working on this song together.

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