A smooth, soulful Christmas record that gets played at the hippest Christmas parties around. Check out his duet with Stevie Nicks on Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Essentially, Chris Isaak channels the spirit of Bing Crosby into a newer, hipper, swing.
I know the concept of Christmas songs done reggae style would send most folks running for the hills, but remember, Clement “Coxone” Dodd was the spirit of reggae’s roots in Jamaica. His Studio One label put out records by everyone from Millie Small to Bob Marley. His ear for a tune means nothing but festive quality here. A good party album.
What can I say? In an odd way, Elvis’s take on Christmas songs go a long way in revealing what a fantastic singer he was, especially on Blue Christmas, where his soulful intonation carries the day.
2. Various Artists: A Chess Christmas
I had to include this because while the rest of the world was delighting in the novelty value of The Chipmunk Song, original rocker Chuck Berry was trying to stamp out the scourge with 1958’s excellent Run Rudoloph Run. A fine piece of old time rock and roll, and a pleasant diversion from the usual schmaltz on offer.
This soundtrack album is more familiar than your favorite underwear, and yet it never outstays its welcome. It goes with any mood, its arrangements are light and jazzy, and yet inventive. If you don’t love this album your heart must be two sizes too small.
Greg Hood-Morris is a musician living in Cambridge, Ontario. Visit his MySpace page for more information on him and his music.