It was only weeks ago that tunes like “Monster Mash” and “Igor’s Party” were put away as October and Halloween passed by swiftly, giving way to November and the holiday season.
With many choices for holiday music, there are those that may go the typical route with Bing Crosby or other Christmas favorites.
In today’s music world, it appears that just about anyone or their brother can cut a Christmas album – whether playing on the standards or adding their own touch for the season.
As many songs are time-tested, there are several other options that you can place in the holiday arsenal.
For Christmas in the South, look no farther than Drive-By Truckers and Hayes Carll.
The DBT’s “The Thanksgiving Filter” paints a picture of a heavy-burdened grandmother among other dysfunctional family members on turkey day in the gothic South.
In the same manner, Texas-based Carll sings of emotional, changing family times with situations of heartache, forgotten dressing, good-looking cousins and flannel shirts in “Grateful for Christmas.”
If you can turn the time back to 1968, Atlantic Records released an album entitled Soul Christmas which featured artists like Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter and Booker T. & The MG’s.
The instrumentation and arrangements on this album will make it feel like new with each listen especially when you hear Carter’s “Back Door Santa” and Redding’s “White Christmas.”
If you’re like this writer and still in love with ’90s rock, then Pearl Jam’s “Let Me Sleep” or their take on “Someday at Christmas,” which were released as Christmas singles through their fan club, should have their place on the “X-Mas” mix.
And when it comes to rock 'n’ roll, U2’s “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home” is top-notch whether you’re a fan of Bono and the Irish lads or not.
There’s something to be said about a good story and The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” delivers one well.
For the one who adores their Christmas with a cause, then John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” is a song for the ages.
The Willie Nelson tune “Pretty Paper” could quite possibly be one of the most beautiful and intricate Christmas songs of all time as it was recorded both by Nelson and Roy Orbison.
Playing on similar details, horn arrangements add flavor to any song and Louis Armstrong’s “Zat You, Santa Claus” and the NOLA personality of Kermit Ruffins’ “A Saints Christmas” give a new take on the season.
But when it comes to playing on the heartstrings, there aren’t many who can do it like Ray Charles.
His song “That Spirit Of Christmas” can take the listener through past and future holidays like no other while painting images of friends and family and truly putting you in the spirit.
The song can also be linked back to Christmas Vacation as it is played in the background as Clark Griswold is scrounging through the attic as everyone leaves for the day. Left alone, he finds an old film reel and reminisces over the past years.
If you can pair those two holiday favorites, then that stands alone in my book.
If you go searching for holiday tunes this season, you could be surprised by some of the gems you may find if you dig far enough.