Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas time is here....

Hello friends! Well, here we are in the midst of the Christmas season. Buying gifts, battling traffic, and for many of us, dealing with a radical change in weather. While working on the next Dan's Garage post, my mind drifted to one of my favorite things...Christmas songs. I'm here with my lovely wife Red, and two of her nieces, and our future daughter in law making chocolates and baking cookies. Now that's what I call Christmas cheer! But, let me get to the crux of this non-musical post. One of the luxuries of being a postman for the University Of Rochester (yes, it's that big), is having a vehicle that's really nice with a CD player so I can listen to WHATEVER I LIKE!!!! But we also have some not so nice vehicles that DON'T have a CD player. Just a plain old AM/FM radio. So when my "nice" vehicle is going through routine maintenance, I'm forced to listen to whatever is on in the vehicle that's given to me. Usually I turn to sports, but since this is the holiday season, I'm tempted to tune in to one of the various 24/7 Xmas stations. This is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard most of the time. Yeah, we're treated to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", and Elvis' "Blue Christmas"once in a while, but lately I've been hearing so much crap, it's unbearable. The worst, is that piece of shit that Mariah Carey sings. I don't know the name of it, and I don't care to. There are various horrible versions of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" too, with some country bimbo. I dunno, Kelly Pickler, or some really bad generic singer warbling over a really overproduced band that most likely wasn't there when she was singing it. Then there's George Michael, and his contribution. I'm not sure of the name of that one either, but man does it suck. Anything by Harry Connick Jr. sucks too. That Sinatra wannabe should stick to wanting to be Sinatra, which he doesn't do very well. I love Ray Charles, but I heard his Christmas album once, and it was horrific. There's also a plethora of "divas" who's singing is totally indistinguishable from one another. They really suck too. That song about the shoes needs to go also. Why would anyone want to listen to that depressing piece of shit at a time when we're supposed to be uplifted????? They must play that crap every hour. I think I'm on a roll here, but let me get to what I really like. Here's Dan's top ten Christmas albums in no particular order....

1. Chet Atkins - Christmas With...
As a guitarist, I've never been a huge Chet Atkins fan. He's just a little too "technical" for me. But this album has such a great feel too it, I became a fan almost instantly. There's some goofy vocal group things going, but overall, it captures the Christmas mood perfectly. Great for putting lights on the tree, or Christmastime home repairs.
2. Los Straitjackets - 'Tis The Season
As a guitarist, I love Los Straitjackets. I saw them in '04 doing their Christmas shows with The Pontani Sisters and Kaiser George, and I must say it was one of the most entertaining shows I've ever been too.
Great for work parties.
3. Christmas Classics (Rhino Records Compilation)
The best "modern" mix of Xmas tunes. The Ventures, The Cadillacs, Roy Orbison, James Brown, and Brenda Lee all appear on this album. I'd have to say, if there's one comp of great Xmas tunes to buy, this is it!
Great for anything.
4. A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records
his was Phil Spector cashing in on Xmas by having his best acts sing Xmas standards. All I can say is I'll never forget hearing The Ronettes sing "Sleigh Ride" when I was a little kid. Every song is a classic.
Great for driving to the mall.
5.The Ventures - Christmas Album
Like Los Straitjackets, this is another fantastic instrumental/rock Xmas tribute. The Ventures take tried and true classics like "I Feel Fine" and "Wooly Bully" and turn them sideways into Xmas classics. Definitely a must have.
Great for happy hour.
6. The Fab Four Christmas Album
Like the Ventures, the Fab Four take very recognizable Beatles songs and tun them sideways into Xmas classics. Very ingenious! Everyone I play this for is amazed.
Great for Jerry's Christmas Party or YOURS!!!!
7. Christmas Cocktails Vols. 1 -3
Be a lounge lizard. Put on your good suit, a skinny tie, shiny shoes, and girls...put your BEST cocktail dress on, invite your best friends over (no jeans please), mix up a pitcher of martinis and throw this on. Nail the lampshades to the lamps please.
Great for getting drunk.
8. 101 Strings - Christmas
So your parents are coming over and they're not "down" with Los Straitjackets??? No problem. Put this on and you'll mellow them out just fine. Actually it's great as far as Xmas albums go. Real traditional stuff.
Great for putting the old folks to sleep.
9. Elvis' Christmas Album 
Yikes I almost forgot this! Elvis puts his stamp on a bunch of greats, and delivers only as Elvis can.
Great for anything.
10. Nat King Cole Christmas
What's Xmas without "The Christmas Song"? I've heard countless versions of this, but no one beats Nat King Cole. Even if every other song on this album was a piece of shit (not that they are), this one song would make it worthwhile.
Great for romancing your woman by the fire. 

There's also a few honorable mentions...
Brian Setzer - Dig That Crazy Christmas
Elf - Original Soundtrack
Mr.Hankey's Christmas Classics
Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas From...
Moody Blues - December
The Ultimate Christmas Album Vols. 1 - 6
Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas

All of these are really good, especially the"Ultimate" collections. Just like "Christmas Classics", they pretty much cover all the bases. You might want to listen to Mr. Hankey alone in the car though. It's not exactly everyone's cup of tea.

So there you have it. Christmas time is here...happiness and for all that children call...their favorite time of year...


  1. Wow!
    Your sentiments about "Christmas Music"
    do seem to match mine. Some of the stuff they want to pass of as "uplifting" --
    Ugh!!! Please turn that off-NOW!

  2. I agree with Exeter... If you like funk and soul at all, you may like this mix I did last year.

    The track listing can be found here:

    I tell you, it sure beats the bejesus out of what's on the radio these days :)

    Can't wait for vol. 13... Keep on doing your thing, and have a great and safe holiday.

    Peace and blessings.


    i wish you a merry xmas!!!!

  4. Dan, Just wanted to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous New Year. Your compilations have really been a lot of fun. Thanks for all you have shared and look forward to the next installment. All the best. Mike