Wednesday, December 20, 2006

YeeHaaww...Christmas Time's A-Comin'!

I just happen to be listening to Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys singin' and a-pickin' their way through some bluegrass Christmas tunes, hence the HeeHaw title of this post. Those boys had it goin' on! Great stuff. My Christmas tunage this year has been a fantastic mix of stuff. One of the really gratifying things about opening the Stumpjack has been the number and sincerity of the compliments we've received on our music selections. This is especially gratifying to me because I had to listen to a fair amount of unsolicited opinion about what kind of music I should or shouldn't play, but that's a part of another story for another time.

Here's a smattering of the current favorite Christmas albums (CDs) in rotation:

Dean Martin - "Christmas with Dino"... Awesome CD, not a weak tune in the bunch, and Martin's silky smooth vibrato just exudes warmth. You get the feeling that he really enjoyed recording these songs. I can't seem to bring myself to take this one out of the rotation. This disc gets the most compliments and questions ("Who is this? I've got to get that CD!") than the other Christmas CDs in rotation.

Vince Guaraldi - "A Charlie Brown Christmas"...Is this still the all-time best selling jazz album? It's not a wonder why if it is. The instrumentals are definitely the strongest tunes, while the ones with vocal/choir accompaniment are worthy because of their nostalgic association with the TV special. Simply a beautiful, mellow and incredibly soothing album that continues to stand the test of time.

Ella Fitzgerald - "Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas"...Man, could that girl sing! Vocals as clear and lilting as a handbell choir (a very jazzy handbell choir maybe). The orchestration and arrangements by Frank DeVol on this set of Christmas tunes is just perfect for Fitzgerald. This CD is classy and brassy, baby! One of my favorites.

Charles Brown - "Cool Christmas Blues"...An aptly named disc. This is about as cool, bluesy and smooth as it gets. Brown was truly an original and a great songsmith, and his champaigne-like sparkling piano work combines with his milky, deep vocals to make this easily one of the best CDs in our Christmas collection.

Throw into the mix Christmas CDs by Mel Torme; Harry Connick Jr.; a few Blues, R&B and Bluegrass compilations; "Christmas with the Rat Pack;" some Ray Charles; BB King; a little Celtic stuff; Jon Anderson's "Three Ships;" Jimmy Buffet; Burl Ives (of course); and Alligator Records Christmas compilations...and you've got some great stuff to put you in the Christmas spirit.


Dave said...

Haven't seen it in a long time but I swear that my father once had the Martin CD on LP... Old memories!

David said...

Cool. Yea, somehow the image of playing Dean Martin on a cabinet turntable just seems appropriate. The cd we're playing is a remastered version of the original, including Martina McBride doing the female vocal on "Baby, It's Cold Outside."