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06 Dec 2018

BY CHRIS JOHNSON

It’s time to pull out those old Christmas albums – on CD, vinyl or cassette – or rush into any department store and find a few Christmas CDs in the sale bins.

Or maybe download a few festive tunes ready to blast through the living room on Christmas Eve and ad nauseam all Christmas Day.

But let’s face it, Christmas songs can get a tad irritating – especially when they are played over and over again in supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls.

So, to counter all the dross being served up in the name of festive cheer, Australian Medicine is recommending a few Christmas albums that have been released over the years and that are well worth listening to.

Of course, don’t go past Bing Crosby’s White Christmas (1986), A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra (1957) or Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957). They are classics for a reason. But there is so much more out there.

Some Christmas albums are somewhat challenging, like Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart (2009). This is actually an exceptionally good album and a genuinely sincere Christmas offering from His Bobness. But for those who can’t stand his ageing croaky singing voice, it might not be uplifting Christmas fodder. For those who can appreciate a master at work, however, this album is gold.

Add some twang to your party tunes with The Ventures’ Christmas Album (1965). This album throws up the very coolest of surfy, instrumental versions of the Christmas classics.

Christmas on Death Row (1996) sounds a little depressing, but it’s not. A compilation released by Death Row Records, it features Snoop Dogg, Isaac Hayes, Smokey Robinson and many others offering funny, peaceful and light gansta renditions of original and reworked Christmas tunes.

Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), needs no explanation. It’s Ella. It’s fantastic!

Get down with James Brown’s Funky Christmas (1995), get solemn playing Christmas with Johnny Cash (2003), cool with The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (1964), and get very laid back with Willie Nelson’s Pretty Paper (1979).

And if you want some beautiful Christmas ballads performed to perfection, Sufjan Steven Presents Songs for Christmas (2006) is a cracker.

There are heaps of Christmas albums out there. Many, like some on this list, have been long forgotten. Some are so very worth looking for.

And if you want to download just one Christmas love song, search for Dan Folgelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne, released as a single in 1980 and subsequently included in his 1981 album The Innocent Age.

 


Published: 06 Dec 2018