Five Christmas records to include in every collection

December 8, 2018

Five Christmas records to include in every collection

A light post for this Saturday as Christmas at The Nest is in full swing and the best Christmas albums are echoing from the living room.

Actually, Christmas kicked off in our house before we even reached Thanksgiving. What can I say? The season brings out the part of me who’s still a kid marveling at the sights, sounds, and flavors of December.

And speaking of the sounds …

Like many of you, my Christmas memories from boyhood are full of music. My parents put an emphasis on it as soon as you scraped last bite of Thanksgiving pie from your plate. Bam! Dad’s got the Christmas music on.

Since there’s been little time this week to write, and there are flurries racing past my office window, here in no particular order are five Christmas albums getting a lot of play at The Nest so far in 2018.

They don’t get old for me (for my wife, however, that’s a whole different story):

1. The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys Christmas Album

This one is, honestly, a new discovery for me.

For years, I’ve passed on the Beach Boys 1964 Christmas album because for me, their sound belongs to summer time. I own a few old, scratchy Beach Boys LPs, and when it’s July, it sounds perfect.

But Christmas? Should I grab my surfboard?

The copy I own, a club edition released in 1988, I purchased out of a bin from my favorite record shop, the Lititz Music Co. Thought I’d give it a try. Glad I did.

The sound’s peppy, and it’s not the Christmas at the beach music I thought it would be. Instead, it’s vintage Beach Boys sound but somehow made perfect for the Yuletide.

2. Ray conniff and the Singers – Christmas With Coniff

One of the classic Christmas albums, there’s not a person in America who wouldn’t recognize the sound.

If you go digging for a vinyl version of this, let me make a recommendation. Search high and far for the original 1959 stereo pressing.

I own two copies of this — the 1959 mono and the stereo copy from the same year. Both sound amazing.

But the mono version does not compare to the experience of stereo. Not even close. Somehow, it’s the same songs but the experience, the sound, it seems different, when the female voices come through the left channel and the male voice on the right.

3. tony Bennett – Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album

Tony Bennett released Snowfall in 1968, and somehow by a stroke of luck, I found a great copy hidden in a crate of $0.50 albums at a local record store.

I handed my two quarters over, ran it home, washed the vinyl, and the stylus brings the magic to life.

This LP pairs well with a glass of white wine.

4. Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas

Duh.

Mine’s in green vinyl. Darn right it is.

5. Lou Rawls – Merry Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho!

I’ve heard Lou Rawls’s voice while walking the mall corridors. I own a CD called Merry Mixmas, where all these classic Christmas songs have been remixed into some crazy laid back and/or Christmas party dance tunes, and Lou Rawls appears.

Therefore, when I found a $3 copy of his album in a local record store, I figured I’d give it a try.

You should too.

This isn’t your Christmas morning album. This is Christmas 1960s R&B at its finest — rhythm, blues, soul, horns, and Rawls’s brandy-like voice.

Dave Pidgeon purchased nearly 400 records since receiving a turntable last year, and is a writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. He hopes his wife and their two sons are enjoying a heavy rotation of Christmas music. You can contact him at dave@writingintheafternoon.com.

More about Dave Pidgeon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *