It takes a little searching, but there is some great Christmas music that hasn’t been overplayed over the years. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

It takes a little searching, but there is some great Christmas music that hasn’t been overplayed over the years. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

The Editor’s Desk: For your listening pleasure

Tired of overplayed Christmas music? Here are a few gems you might not know

Last week I mentioned that I’d already started listening to Christmas music, and nothing since then has happened to make me regret the decision. The only issue is that the pool of Christmas songs is somewhat limited, unless you want to branch out into 17th century liturgical music, which I don’t.

Herewith are a few Christmas pieces that are a bit off the beaten track, so might not have you wanting to curse out an elf the moment you hear them. All are available on YouTube (links provided for your listening pleasure).

“We Need a Little Christmas”: The perfect kick-off to the Christmas season, this joyous song from the musical Mame has been recorded by many people. The first and best version is the one featuring Angela Lansbury, who originated the role of Mame in 1965 and won the first of her five Tony awards for the part. If you only know Lansbury from Murder, She Wrote, you’ll find out why she is a Broadway musical theatre legend. https://bit.ly/3IaCoCW

“A Musicological Journey Through The Twelve Days of Christmas”: I used to be adamant that the only tolerable version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was the one by the Muppets and John Denver (https://bit.ly/3o97jrp), but I was wrong. Craig Courtney’s “Musicological Journey” sets each of the “days” in a different musical style, including Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and the March King himself, John Philip Sousa. Check out the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version at https://bit.ly/3I89Ry5.

“Christmas Is A-Comin”: I am second to none in my love for Bing Crosby’s Christmas songs, but even I have to admit that you can have too many repeats of “White Christmas”. If you want a holiday song from Der Bingle that you haven’t heard a gazillion times over, try this one, which is a) a lot of fun and b) has somehow escaped being played to death every Christmas. https://bit.ly/3E6pB26

“Driving Home for Christmas”: If you’re tired of The Carpenters’ “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays”, try this “home” song from England’s Chris Rea. I heard it a lot when I lived in Britain, but it doesn’t seem to get much airplay on this side of the pond, and it’s well worth checking out. https://bit.ly/3rlTszZ

“Merry Xmas Everybody”: This is another holiday favourite in Britain; once December hits you can’t move without hearing this song from veteran British rockers Slade. It’s a bracing anthem that is best played as loud as you can manage without having the neighbours complain. By far the best version to listen to and watch is from 1973, when Noddy Holder and his bandmates appeared on British TV resplendent in clothing and hairstyles that remind us all that the 1970s were the decade that style forgot. https://bit.ly/3rkNKyt

“The St. Stephen’s Day Murders”: If you need a Christmas song that cuts through the schmaltz, try Elvis Costello’s contribution to the Chieftains’ Bells of Dublin Christmas album. Actually, you should get the entire album (you can listen to it all at https://bit.ly/3xFnGPw), but Costello’s song is a welcome change from the usual sugary Christmas song offerings. https://bit.ly/3d6KUoq

“God Bless Us Everyone”: I do not know why this absolutely lovely song from the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol is not better known. In three verses and a chorus it touches on Scrooge’s past, present, and hopeful future in a joyful song which I guarantee you’ll be humming for some time after you hear it. And if you’re looking for a version of Christmas Carol to watch, this is as fine a one as you’ll find, featuring a towering performance by George C. Scott and a superb supporting cast. The song is at https://bit.ly/2ZGu5xr, and the whole film is available at https://bit.ly/3EdNViB.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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