Saturday, December 8, 2007

Top five favorite Christmas albums

(not in any particular order)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Starbucks version) - Featuring the "eight-year-old Beethoven kid" named Schroeder on piano, bassist Pigpen, and guitarist Snoopy. Includes such classics as O Tannenbaum, Linus and Lucy, Skating, Fur Elise, and Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, to name a few. I love it.

What other reviewers are saying:

Eight-year-old Psychiatrist Lucy Van Pelt, a self-proclaimed groupie says, "Beethoven - it's always Beethoven. He is going to marry me someday, you know - unless Beethoven keeps getting in the way."

"That Pigpen, he sure can play bass," said Charlie Brown. "I don't know how he can even see what he is doing with that constant dust cloud around him, but he sure can play. I wish I could play something," added Brown.

Handel for the Holidays - A classic culminating in the Messiah, Hallelujah Chorus (track 25). Offered for only $7.98 at Amazon and Borders. With performances by English Baroque Soloists, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Musica Alta Ripa, et al. I can put this on while cleaning or decorating and enjoy all 25 tracks, or what I do a lot of the time is just go right to the end. I'm always trying to jump to the "glory" part. Oh well... Click here to hear and enjoy a sample from>>>

The Blind Boys of Alabama's Go Tell It On the Mountain.

This is the group's first Christmas album in their 60-year history. This 12-song collection features genre-crossing guest vocal appearances by Solomon Burke, George Clinton, Michael Franti, Chrissie Hynde, Shelby Lynne, Les McCann, Me'Shell Ndeg├łOcello, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples, and Tom Waits. There are special instrumental guest performances by Richard Thompson (electric guitar) and Robert Randolph (pedal steel guitar) in addition to a superb studio band, led by organist John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame) with jump-blues guitar ace Duke Robillard and the peerless rhythm section of Danny Thompson (double bass) and Michael Jerome (drums). A percentage of the royalties from the this album are donated to the American Diabetes Association. Truly awesome music.

City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time One of the things I love about this album is that these are really, really talented and uniquely gifted Christian artists who are not copycats of the secular pop genre. The project has selected contemporary artists who are above all worshipful, and who have also immensely contributed to music - Christian and pop. My top picks on the album: Sarah Groves' Child of Love, Terry Scott Taylor's Holy Emmanuel, Jars of Clay's Bethlehem Town, Third Day's Manger Throne, Out of Eden's Do you hear what I hear? and Sixpence None the Richer's Silent Night.

A Merry Little Christmas - Eric Darken produced some really great pop-rock traditional Christmas tunes in 1999. As always with Mr. Darken, these are well produced and expertly played arrangements by Nashville studio singers and musicians. I don't believe it's available any longer for sale, but is really well done. Some of my faves: O Come All Ye Faithful, We Three Kings, O Holy Night, Joy to the World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, The Herald Angels Sing, Go Tell It On the Mountain, I Saw Three Ships, and White Christmas.

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