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Only 10 More Days Til I Load Up the Xmas CDs

November 16, 2004

For those of you who barely make it through the holidays without trying to strangle a mall Santa, don't worry - I mean at home, not on Folk Alley. We will be sprinkling in some holiday flavor, but for me, the day after Thanksgiving means it's all Christmas, all the time in my automobile (which has been a little touchy lately - nothing a giant helping of nog won't fix). I have a large collection of music, some more beloved than others. Nothing is worse than looking forward to a CD and having it end up being only pedestrian. The bad thing about holiday music is that there are only so many songs to go around - so there are many repeats in my rotation. BTW, my family is not religious, but my dad lives for Christmas (go figure) so the music just makes me feel safe and happy. When I'm feeling down, sometimes I'll sneak a listen to the forbidden sounds in months that don't end in -er.

So here are a few of my (and I stress my) favorites. If I've left something off, make sure and tell me. It's time to start a second wallet of tunes.

Ann's list:
** Kingston Trio - Last Month of the Year (mmm, mmm, good)
** The Roches - We Three Kings (my current favorite)
** Asylum Street Spankers - A Christmas Spanking (naughty)
** Time-Life Treasury of Christmas, vol. 1 & 2 (a little bit of everything)
** The Chieftans - The Bells of Dublin (a gift from my great brother)
** O Christmas Tree (bluegrass for the holidays)
** Ray Conniff & the Ray Conniff Singers - We Wish You a Merry Christmas (spray cheese in a can)
** Dean Martin - A Winter Romance (see above)

Ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at November 16, 2004 4:59 PM


I really like the look of some of those Christmas selections - the Chieftains and the bluegrass for sure. My favourite however is an Emmylou Harris Christmas album - The light in the stable. See if you can have a listen to it.

Posted by: Christine Taylor at November 16, 2004 10:10 PM

Christmas has the greatest musical tradition. Here are a few of my favorite Xmas songs, carols and a favorite holiday CD:

Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill and Donal Lunny -Third Carol For Christmas Day
John Gorka - I Heard the Bells
Wendy Waldman - Corn, Water and Wood
John McCutcheon - Christmas in the Trenches
Any of John Fahey's guitar instrumentals for Xmas
Harvey Reid's CD - The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day.

Posted by: Steve Pawlowski at November 17, 2004 1:47 AM

Don't forget John Denver and the Muppets - A Christmas Together. Cheesy Muppet carols aside, some of the non-familiar carols (i.e., Christmas Eve 1913 and When the River Meets the Sea) are beautiful. Okay, and I will admit to a love of the cheesy Muppet carols too!

Posted by: Lisa Liscoumb at November 17, 2004 10:26 AM

Until last weekend, it didn't feel like winter, but we got about 3 inches if the white stuff. A four letter word that gets dirtier the longer it stays. Christmas music? Hold that until the 12 days after Christmas! Enjoying the sounds here in North Central Massachusetts. Folk Alley is my favorite Internet Stream! Happy Turkey Day to you all.

Posted by: David Gundersen at November 17, 2004 11:08 AM

I totally agree with John Denver and Muppets... they will always be a favorite! Actually, another good one is Sarah McGlaughlin and BNL singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" didn't think I was going to like it as much as I do!

Posted by: Ann at November 17, 2004 11:21 AM

Geez - thanks, Ann. Now I have to buy the BNL CD, too! And then Amazon suggested the new Chris Isaak Christmas CD and I really liked it. I admit to already having the Muppet CD (last year I picked up the entire Muppet retrospective, much of which I had on vinyl until I accidentally dropped the album and broke off 4 songs - stupid records!). And Steve and Christine, I will try to do a blog this week with links so we can all go to Amazon and spend money. Cheers y'all!

Posted by: Ann E VerWiebe at November 17, 2004 2:45 PM

I know it isn't usually listed as folk - but how can anyone get through christmas without "the Hipsters Holiday". This album is worth its salt just for Eartha Kitt singing Santa Baby. And how can you not love Five Pound Box of Money from Pearl Bailey and all those wonderful songs from Louis Armstrong. I know the holiday is here when I hear 'zat You, Santy Clause?

Posted by: Pam Parkinson at November 17, 2004 4:49 PM

I know it's not specifically folk, but Reggae Christmas from Putamayo has been a favorite of mine for years. I just discovered Folk Alley and it's wonderful. Keep up the good work. Joseph Ruback

Posted by: Joseph Ruback at November 18, 2004 3:23 PM

Great selections everyone. Have to admit I got a bit Grinchy when I heard some of the pop stations starting their Christmas rotations two weeks ago (before the candles in the pumpkins were blown out). However, I always look forward to WKSU's Christmas folk music programming.

I'll second the nomination for John McCutcheon's album that contains "Christmas in the Trenches," and add my non-folk nominee, Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.


Posted by: Mike Smith at November 18, 2004 3:24 PM

What? No Nat King Cole? It's not Christmas time until I hear the fanfare at the beginning of "Deck the Halls"! :-)

Posted by: Garrett Fitzgerald at November 19, 2004 1:41 AM

Seeing the comments about John McCutcheon's Christmas in the trenches reminds me that years ago Paul McCartney came out with a video that was exactly the same theme and followed mostly the same story lines. Does anyone know if the two are related in any way? As I recall, they came out within a year or so of each other.

Posted by: Joseph Ruback at November 19, 2004 10:17 AM

Could that be "Pipes of Peace" by Paul McCartney?

Posted by: Pam Parkinson at November 19, 2004 12:29 PM

One of my old faves - The Christ Child Lullaby. Never heard Judy Collins' version, but she has the lyrics on her site

Another old favorite The Cherry Tree Carol lyrics at featuring a jealous Saint Joseph.

And yes, I too still love the Muppets Christmas with John Denver.

Posted by: Barb Paegelow at November 19, 2004 12:31 PM

Iwould suggest John Fahey's "A New Possibility" An album of Holiday guitar insturmentals.

Posted by: Rick Brown at November 19, 2004 1:48 PM

I am a Christmas music junkie (also guilty of listening off-season). As the proud owner of over 60 Christmas CDs, plus numerous inherited LPs and cassettes, I have to say that John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together is my alltime favorite. The Kingston Trio Last Month of the Year - yea, baby! I also love the Roger Whitaker Christmas Album. Although he is considered more of the easy listening genre, his album has original songs with great acousitc guitar arrangements.

Posted by: Melissa Langnes at November 19, 2004 4:58 PM

Looks like you have most of the "greats" lined up, Anne. I just have one addition ( if possible). Last year (I think) there was a Christmas special on PBS featuring the Vienna Boys' Choir ...It was awsome, whether you know German or not. Surely, at least a few of the most familiar could be played during the season. Any chance?

Posted by: Thomas at November 20, 2004 5:33 PM

Bring them on! I'd love to hear them. Christmastime is my favorite time of year.

Posted by: Christopher Childs at November 23, 2004 12:06 AM

up north of the border we don't wait as long as you folks down south ofthe border do to get the Christmas tunes out and playing. Considering most people only listen to them for one month of the year but listen to every other kind of music all year round it's hard not to like any Christmas music at all whether it be secular or religious.

Posted by: mark crawford at November 23, 2004 3:10 PM

How about some hammered dulcimer from Maggi Sansone? She has produced several Christmas CD's. Sounds of the Season's Christmas Eve Reel is 'reely' fun! Thanks WKSU - by the way, Doc Watson and David Holt were OUTSTANDING!

Posted by: Dan Moss at November 23, 2004 11:05 PM

Yes! I second Maggi and her dulcimer! The "Reel" is great.

Posted by: Thomas at November 24, 2004 8:36 AM

Jim just got in the new Cherish the Ladies Christmas CD ("On Xmas Night") and he let me preview it. It is EXCELLENT! I'm also ordering the Barenaked Ladies. They've been doing alot of acoustic stuff lately and I want to see if there's something we can add to Folk Alley. I like the idea of folk music becoming trendy with the rockinistas.

Posted by: Ann E VerWiebe at November 24, 2004 10:08 PM

Please add "Greetings of the Season" by Shelby Flint (1984) from Chris Williamson's "Snow Angel" album. John Denver and the Muppets is a big favorite with us here in the U.P., too. Enjoyed listening to WKSU while living in Ohio.

Posted by: Judith Bennett at November 24, 2004 11:14 PM

It ain't Folk, but my favorite seasonal song has to be Spinal Tap's "Christmas with the Devil". Elves in leather...I listen to it every year. Timeless.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at November 25, 2004 8:22 AM

I've got a few great ones for you.....
-the whole Charlie Brown Christmas CD
-First Christmas - Stan Rogers
-River - Robert Downey Jr.
-Song for a Winter's Night - Gordon Lightfoot
-Have a Merry Little Christmas - Tori Amos
-I Believe in Father Christmas - E,L & P
-Chritians and the Pagans - Dar Williams
-Two Thousand Miles - Holly Cole Trio
-Christmas Eve - Spirit of the West
-To Drive the Cold Winter Away - Loreena McKennit (whole album)
-And of course Rudolph by Burl Ives

We're making christmas albums as presents for family this year (actually 2 - one taditional, the list above is the non-traditional)

Posted by: Jenna Fickes at November 26, 2004 11:48 PM

Has anyone heard Jewel's "Joy - A Holiday Collection"? It is a new much-played addition to my collection, which also includes that Muppets CD.

Posted by: Tom Pavlidis at November 27, 2004 6:05 AM

Someone mentioned "The Cherry Tree Carol" which I agree is wonderful. A great version on a great album is on the Peter, Paul and Mary holiday album. For my not exactly folk recommendations, I like "Old Toy Trains" by Roger Miller and, my current favorite, "Driving Home for Christmas" by Chris Rea.

Posted by: David Kirkham at November 29, 2004 6:41 AM

John Fahey's "Christmas Guitar" has been a favorite of mine since finding it about six years ago. Most all cuts are great but "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" stands out in my mind as does the slide guitar version of "Silent Night."

Posted by: Jeff Chambers at November 29, 2004 4:45 PM

Looks like a great line up - can't wait. My favorites include "December" by Kenny Loggins, "Roger Whittaker Christmas Album" by Roger Whittaker, "Come Rejoice, a Judy Collins Christmas" by Judy Collins, and "Silent Night" by Lisa Lynne (celtic harp).

Posted by: Leeann Santasieri at December 3, 2004 8:57 AM

The Roches "We Three Kings"
John Fahey "A New Possibility"
Bruce Cockburn "Christmas"
These are the only three Christmas CDs anyone needs.

Posted by: John Connell at December 7, 2004 3:43 PM


Posted by: Dennis Hedgepeth at December 13, 2004 1:32 PM

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