Yule Jewles – Theo Bleckmann’s Christmas Playlist
December 20, 2013
It’s that time of year again. You know, when we all mix, mingle and overdose on holiday goodies, and yes, Christmas music. For three or more weeks we have already been bombarded with every kind of Christmas song ever made, anywhere, in the history of music. Quite frankly; I begin to feel a bit of a hangover from the music I so cherish. When that happens, I pull out my collection of Yule-jewels. You know, the Christmas songs that, if played in the right context, can be downright priceless. Today, I would like to share a few of my favorite tunes that haven’t been spun thin.
Holiday Songs and Lullabies – Shawn Colvin
Consider this one a must-play for the holiday season. It’s folksy, sweet and heartfelt. This is Shawn at her best; understated, fresh, and beautifully arranged, her version of “Silent Night” will make you fall silent.
Sing We Christmas – Chanticleer
Chanticleer, the Grammy winning all male acappella ensemble could sing the phone book and bring me to my knees. When they take on the most exquisite Christmas music from all over the world, they get my attention every season. This is Christmas at its absolute best for me. The song celebrates the birth of Christ in a reflective way and with an unparalleled tenderness.
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald
Who better than to put a smile on your face than the sublime Ella Fitzgerald? No can sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer like she did. Ella is a year-round staple in my music, so why stop during Christmas?
An English Ladymass: Medieval Chant and Polyphony – Anonymous 4
Delve deep into Medieval Christmas chants. This collection is such a welcome relief from the hectic commercial music out there and another classic I keep spinning (especially when I spin out of control during the shopping frenzy).
The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
If you are looking for a sing-a-long record, you’ve found it. The voice of an angel singing about angels. What could be better?
CeeLo’s Magic Moment – Cee Lo Green
Motown meets Christmas equals a great time! Looking for music for your Christmas (office) party? Here you are. And after a few too many glasses of eggnog segue right into…
YO, It’s Christmas! – YoYoYo Kids
Hip hop renditions of Christmas songs for kids, methinks, but who needs to know that? It’s silly fun and such guilty pleasure when all gloves, along with Santa’s hats, are off!
Wintersong – Sarah McLachlan
Preston turned me on to Sarah McLachlan and I now love her, too. This is her take on Christmas classics. Her version of Joni Mitchell’s River will make you want to skate on and on.
Let it Snow – New York Voices
Put pep in your step with the great New York Voices vocal group. Great arrangements that put a new spin on old classics that will jazz up dreary, grey days. Be ready to be energized.
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Cliché or classic? The latter! This is another must – every one of these songs says Christmas. Childhood memories and Hollywood movies flashbacks are worth the sleigh bell ride.
Verve Remixed Christmas Remixed
Take Satchmo, Mel Tormé, Jimmy Smith, Ella, Nina Simone, Count Basie. Add beats, electronica and mistletoe. Shake, stir and dance!
Handel: The Messiah – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields & Sir Neville Marriner
Let’s not forget the Rolls Royce of Christmas Music: Handel’s Messiah. And it purrs so beautifully every Christmas at full volume in my house. Great for home-spun living-room-interpretive-dance-routines! No kidding, by the way. Academy of St. Martin’s Recording is one of my favorites (I have a few versions, just because I can’t get enough of this one).
Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens –
Brooklyn folksy hipster meets ye ole Yuletide. Just get your ukulele and glockenspiel and go – your beard looks like Santa’s already. Totes brill.
What are some of your favorite classic or obscure Christmas songs?