Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yuletime Spins

Bob Dylan put out a Christmas CD this year.  Which leads me to a question. Why? 

Don’t get me wrong, I revere Dylan and he can evoke all kinds of emotions in me–but I doubt Yuletide sentimentality is among them.  To be fair, I haven’t heard the Dylan CD and maybe it’ll surprise me, but when it comes to the music of this season it’s hard to squeeze into the rotation in our house.


If you’re a believer, as I am, the traditional Christmas carols and church music are always going to hold a special place for the more contemplative moments, but when it comes time to trim the tree and break out the hot cocoa and eggnog, there’s only one album on our stereo.  We wore out our vinyl copy and are now on the second copy of the CD.  I don’t know how this got to be the one, but it’s been the signal for the festivities to begin for more twenty years now at our house. Peter Paul & Mary’s Holiday Celebration, backed up by the swelling  sounds of the New York Choral Society. It’s an unusual collection, but we all have our favorites cuts and we all know it by heart.


PP&M are the centerpiece, but there’s lots more to work in.  Our daughter-in-law brought her affection for Charlie Brown’s Christmas with her into the family and we’ve all embraced it.


My son usually makes a mix of more contemporarary bands to expose us to something new.  And now, of course, with the Uke craze at our house, there’ll always be a Uke cover to listen to:


Hubby likes baroque Christmas music on one end of the scale and the most kitschy ditties on the other end.  We have a whole collection of hardware-store issue records and CDs that he’s felt compelled to collect over the years while I’d been stockpiling Christmas offerings by James Brown, the Roches, The Tractors, Aaron Neville, James Taylor and Elvis, among others.


Some of my collection I listen to because I love the music, some strictly for the memories.  I like a little country now and then and like Alabama’s Christmas album, since that’s my home state.  My daughter used to love to sing along enthusiastically to a song called “Thistlehair the Christmas Bear,” this when the Rs did not come trippingly off her four or five year old tongue.  Too cute.


I’ve got an old Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney album I like to listen to because my parents’ liked it.  Good memories of LONG ago Christmases.


What about you, what’s your Christmas-Tree-Trimming Favorite?



  2. We always listen to an Empire Brass Christmas CD and another what-if-Mozart wrote Christmas carols CD. But we also decorate Grandma Burke's house and there it's the Carpenter's Christmas CD or bust!

  3. I love the Charlie Brown's Christmas album.

  4. For sentimental reasons, my favorite is a cassette tape of a WBCN Christmas Show in 1987 that has a refreshingly eclectic collection of old standards and modern songs I'd never heard before. Not exactly a Chirstmas Carol, but Stan Freberg's "Green Christmas" is a must-listen-to at least once each Christmas season.