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Christmas With You is the Best – For Andy

christmaswithyue

As I’ve said before, this is the first year I haven’t made personalized mixes for friends, family, and even vague acquaintances. That’s cool, and I’ve really enjoyed creating these themed playlists instead.

But I really did want to make one (Maybe my last one? Probably not.) for my partner, Andy, who has yet to be the recipient of one. This is our very first Christmas together, and he has been amazing in accommodating this weird Christmas music quirk of mine – so much so that he not only encouraged my creation of this blog, but has also been responsible for finding all of the adorable accompanying images.

When I make personalized Christmas mixes I often ask people if they want a specific theme, or if they can at the very least (especially when I don’t know them well) give me a sense of what kind of music they like. Andy did request a ’70’s-ish mix, and in my head and having a pretty good sense of Andy’s tastes, I was thinking about The Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight” as a sort of blueprint. But, you know, I don’t have everything, and it turns out that I am especially lacking in songs that sound like that one. Fortunately, he has very eclectic taste, and also fortunately, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to Christmas music together this season. I know which songs I’ve played for him have really struck a chord and the ones which are now a part of the way we will both remember this first Christmas together.

This one’s for you, Andy. I hope you’ll like the songs I don’t already know you’ll like. Christmas with you is the best.

Everyone else reading this – Thank you! It’s been so much fun doing this! I’m off to celebrate the holidays with family and won’t be posting anymore playlists this season. I hope you’ll enjoy the 11 I’ve posted here this season. I’m pretty sure there’s something for just about everyone. Happy holidays, and see you next year!

Tracklist:

  1. The Long Winters – Christmas With You is the Best
  2. XTC – Always Winter Never Christmas
  3. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects
  4. The Staple Singers – Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?
  5. J. Hines and the Boys – A Funky Christmas to You
  6. James Brown – Go Power at Christmas Time
  7. Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means to Me
  8. Jimmy Butler – Trim Your Tree
  9. Albert King – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’
  10. Johnny Guarniere and Slam Stewart – Santa’s Secret
  11. Raymond Scott – Christmas Night in Harlem
  12. Vince Guaraldi – Christmas is Coming
  13. Steve Gray – Snowman’s Stomp
  14. Jon Graboff – Merry Christmas Baby
  15. Bud Logan – Sock it to me Santa
  16. The Band – Christmas Must be Tonight
  17. Bee Gees – All My Chrismases Came at Once
  18. The Free Design – Christmas is the Day
  19. Mark Kozelek – I Believe in Father Christmas
  20. Dodd Farrelle – Strung Out Like the Lights (at Christmastime)
  21. Sonny James – Barefoot Santa Claus
  22. The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy’s Christmas
  23. The Turtles – Christmas is my Time of Year
  24. Toots & The Maytals – Christmas Feeling
  25. Count Floyd – Christmas Eve in Transylvania
  26. Corb Lund – Just Me and These Ponies (for Christmas This Year)
  27. The Pretenders – 2000 Miles

Christmas Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party

rock-and-roll-xmas-300x300Most of these songs are ones my parents would have danced to, or at least ones that have been written in that style. There’s a little bit of soul and a little bit of funk, but most of these are straight up old rock ‘n’ roll songs and perfect for any Christmas party with a dance floor.

Tracklist (and where you can get these rockin’ songs for yourselves):

  1. The Debonaires – Christmas Time Again
  2. Barry & The Highlights – Xmas Bell Rock
  3. Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  4. Malcolm Dodds – Ich Bin Very Happy (Merry, Merry Christmas)
  5. Debbie & The Darnels – Santa Teach Me To Dance
  6. Blue Moon Special – Kris Kringle Rock
  7. Paul & Paula – Holiday Hootenanny
  8. The Sonics – Don’t Believe in Christmas
  9. Charlie Starr – Christmas Twist
  10. George Jones – My Mom and Santa Claus
  11. JD McPherson – Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights)
  12. Kacey Musgraves – Ribbons and Bows
  13. The Nee – Let’s Turn a Hay Ride into a Sleigh Ride
  14. Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  15. Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock
  16. The Beach Boys – Santa’s Got a New Plane
  17. Irene McNeil – Rock and Roll du Pere Noel
  18. Charlie Rich – Santa Claus’ Daughter
  19. Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run
  20. Fat Daddy – Fat Daddy
  21. Jimmy Butler – Trim Your Tree
  22. Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva – I Wish You a Merry Christmas
  23. Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings – Big Bulbs
  24. Hines and the Boys – A Funky Xmas to You
  25. James Brown – Signs of Christmas
  26. Jackson 5 – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  27. Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas

Christmas Time’s A-Comin’ – A Country & Bluegrass Christmas

country-blues-300x300Some of my favourite Christmas songs are country and bluegrass songs, perhaps because I didn’t grow up listening to them; even the standards in those genres (such as “Christmas Time’s A-Comin'”) seem relatively new to me. I also grew up in the city, so the idea of a country Christmas seems kind of exotic to me, and certainly easy to romanticize. Though being home for Christmas, and surrounded by those I love, is certainly familiar and the best part of the season, so it’s not like I can’t absolutely relate to many of these songs. I have some pre-Christmas country driving and visiting plans this year, just as long as the weather doesn’t get in the way, and I’m looking forward to listening to this mix as we drive through the snow.

Tracklist (and where you can get these hurtin’ and fiddlin’ songs for yourselves):

  1. Wilf Carter – Christmas in Canada
  2. Stompin’ Tom Connors – Merry Christmas Everybody
  3. Ernest Tubb – Merry Texas Christmas You All
  4. Dale Watson – You Can Call Me Nick
  5. Loretta Lynn – To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
  6. Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers – With Bells On
  7. Hank Snow – Reindeer Boogie
  8. McKenna Mendelsohn – Don’t Give Me No Goose for Christmas Grandma
  9. The Skaggs Family – Hangin’ Round the Mistletoe
  10. Delia Bell & Bill Grant – My Little Silver Bells
  11. Indigo Girls – I Feel the Christmas Spirit
  12. Open Road – Christmas is Near
  13. Rhonda Vincent – Christmas Time at Home
  14. Ricky Skaggs – Christmas Time’s A-Comin’
  15. Chris Hillman – Blue Christmas Lights
  16. King James Band – Call Collect on Christmas
  17. Jeannie Kendall – Smoky Mountain Christmas
  18. Kathy Kallick – Ring the Bells at Midnight
  19. Billy Cowsill & the Blue Shadows – If We Make it Through December
  20. John Guliak – Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas
  21. David Mayfield Parade – They Shined Up Rudolph’s Nose
  22. Buck Owens & Susan Raye – One of Everything You Got
  23. Chet Atkins – East Tennessee Christmas
  24. Faron Young – I’m Gonna Tell Santa Claus On You
  25. Linda Cassady – In Santa Claus a Hippy?
  26. Lynn Anderson – Soon it Will Be Christmas Day
  27. Willie Nelson – Blue Christmas
  28. Robert Ellis – Pretty Paper
  29. Kitty Wells & Johnny Wright – There Won’t be any Tree This Christmas
  30. Kacey Musgraves – Christmas Makes Me Cry
  31. Emmylou Harris – The First Noel
  32. Louvin Brothers – A Shut-In at Christmas

Let It Snow!

snow-300x300IT SNOWED!!! The kind that stays, and covers the ground. I live in Toronto, and we just saw our first major snowfall of the year last night. Streets and lawns and cars are covered in white. It makes for some messy driving but it sure makes those Christmas lights shine more brightly, and those warm blankets and people even cozier when you duck back inside. And it really feels like Christmas is actually almost here. So bundle up and step outside into it or put a fire on and sit by the window, looking out. I hope you’ll enjoy these snow songs while there’s still snow on the ground. It may start to feel that way, but it definitely won’t last forever.

Tracklist (and where you can get these awfully cool songs for yourselves):

  1. Gene Autry – If it Doesn’t Snow on Christmas Day
  2. Simon Panrucker – Snowflakes Falling Down
  3. Marvin Gaye – Purple Snowflakes
  4. Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings – White Christmas
  5. Paul Winchell – Roly Poly Snowman
  6. David Myles – It Snowed
  7. Egger – Snowfort
  8. Ronnie McCoury – Winter Wonderland
  9. John Fahey – Let it Snow, Let it Snow
  10. Mike O’Neill – Frosty the Gold Rush
  11. Ernest Tubb – Blue Snowflake
  12. Loretta Lynn – White Christmas Blue
  13. Good Old War – Snow Falls Down
  14. KASHKA – In the Snow
  15. She & Him – Sleigh Ride
  16. Tony Dekker – Last Winter
  17. Hawksley Workman – First Snow of the Year
  18. The Crew-Cuts – Dance Mr. Snowman Dance
  19. Petula Clark – Where Did My Snowman Go?
  20. Lars Edegran & His Santa Claus Revelers – Frosty the Snowman
  21. Leon Redbone – That Old Christmas Moon
  22. Sleeping At Last – Snow
  23. The Weather Station – Snow Up to My Window

Sexy Santa

sexy-santa-300x300Most of these songs see Santa delivering some unconventional Christmas gifts. Lots of innuendo. Not Santa songs for kids; see my previous mix for those kinds of Santa songs. Not much strong language, so depending on the kind of party you’re planning to attend this season, this mix could be appropriate, as long as you skip the last track.

 

 

 

Tracklist (and where you can get all these super hot Santa songs for yourselves):

  1. Elvis Presley – Santa Claus is Back in Town
  2. The Ronnettes – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  3. Lil McClintock – Don’t Think I’m Santa Claus
  4. Bo Carter – Santa Claus
  5. Sir Mack Rice – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’
  6. Rufus Thomas – I’ll Be Your Santa Baby
  7. Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa
  8. Fitz & The Tantrums – Santa Stole My Lady
  9. Linni Zaorski – Shimmy on Down My Chimney
  10. Eddy Arnold – I’m Your Private Santa Claus
  11. George Jones – My Mom and Santa Claus
  12. Kay Brown – Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four?
  13. Marah – Handsome Santa
  14. Butterbeans & Susie – Papa Ain’t No Santa Claus (Mama Ain’t No Christmas Tree)
  15. Lightnin Hopkins – Santa
  16. Mojo Nixon – Twas the Night Before Christmas

Santa Songs for Cieran, Rosie, Avery, and EVERYONE

santa-kids-300x300It’s weird not making individual Christmas mixes for people this year, but it’s definitely fun to be able to share so many great songs with so many more people. I’m going to dedicate this mix of kid-friendly Santa songs to the most important very young people in my life: My four-year-old nieces Avery and Rosie, and my brand new, not-even-two-weeks-old nephew, Cieran! I am willing to bet this is his very first Christmas mix. He may not get a lot out of it this year, but I hope he will in the years to come. And for all you jaded folks who don’t feel you’re young-at-heart enough for this mix, stay tuned for next week’s definitely-not-for-children sequel: Sexy Santa!

Tracklist (and where you can get these Ho Ho Ho-liday songs for yourselves!)

  1. The Crystals – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  2. The Hepsters – Rockin’ and Rollin’ with Santa Claus
  3. Patti Page – Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
  4. Debbie & The Darnells – Santa Teach Me to Dance
  5. The Beach Boys – The Man With All the Toys
  6. Soupy Sales – Santa Claus is Surfin’ to Town
  7. Ray Stevens – Santa Claus is Watching You
  8. Big John Greer – Wanna See Santa Do the Mambo
  9. The Exciters – Mambo Santa Mamba
  10. Crankshaft and The Geargrinders – Louisiana Bayou Santa
  11. Sonny James – Barefoot Santa Claus
  12. Les Baxter – Santa Claus’s Party
  13. Lawrence Welk & His Champagne Music Makers – Ho Ho Ho
  14. Bobby Gimby – Santa Claus Rides Again
  15. Sam Ulano – Santa Claus and the Doodle-I-Boop
  16. Louis Armstrong – Zat You Santa Claus
  17. Ella Fitzgerald – Santa Claus Got Stuck in my Chimney
  18. Harry Connick, Jr. – (It Must’ve Been ‘Ol) Santa Claus
  19. Gene Autry – Santa Santa Santa
  20. Tinseltown Players – Santa Claus is Flying Through the Sky
  21. The Chipmunks – Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
  22. Bob Dylan – Here Comes Santa Claus
  23. The New Christy Minstrels – Sing Along With Santa
  24. Chatham County Line – O! Santa
  25. Brenda Lee – I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
  26. The Louvin Brothers – Santa’s Big Parade
  27. Bobby Helms – Captain Santa (And His Reindeer Space Patrol)
  28. Hal Bradley Orchestra – Space Age Santa
  29. Lennon Sisters – Outer Space Santa
  30. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – Hooray for Santa Claus
  31. The Fleshtones – Super Rock Santa
  32. Pointed Sticks – Power Pop Santa
  33. Henry Hall – Does Santa Claus Sleep with his Whiskers Over or Under the Sheet?
  34. Tom Paxton – How Many Cookies Can Santa Claus Eat?
  35. Black Prairie – (Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man With the Bag
  36. She & Him – Little Saint Nick
  37. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Loretta Lynn

Christmas with The Beatles, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

beatles-300x300There are few things I love as much as I love Christmas, but The Beatles definitely make the short list. So what could be better than a Beatles-themed Christmas mix?! NOT MUCH! Some of these songs are classics and a few of them have been forgotten for good reason. They may not all be great, but they are definitely all interesting.

 

 

 

Tracklist (and where you can find these Beatles-inspired and Beatles-performed tunes for yourselves):

  1. The Beatles – Everywhere It’s Christmas
  2. Dora Bryan – All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle
  3. Ringo Starr – The Christmas Dance
  4. George Harrison – Ding Dong Ding Dong
  5. Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime (live)
  6. The Beatles – Saturday Club Christmas
  7. The Fab Four – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  8. Gary Ferrier – Ringo Deer
  9. Ringo Starr – Dear Santa
  10. Paul McCartney – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reggae
  11. The Beatles – Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
  12. Judy & The Duets – Christmas with The Beatles
  13. The Beatles – Christmas 1964
  14. Ringo Starr – Pax Um Biscum (Peace Be With You)
  15. The Fab Four – Jingle Bells
  16. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

The Reason for the Season

jesus-300x300Perhaps another kind of warning ought to be issued for this mix: These songs are almost all about Jesus. Most of these are versions of traditional carols that I love, and that don’t always make their way onto mixes for my largely secular audience. Some of these songs are newer songs about Jesus, and some are less about his birth than they are about the spirit of the season, but they’re all at least a little bit and mostly quite religious. They are all lovely, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

 

 

 

Tracklist (and where you can get these seasonal spirituals for yourselves):

  1. Vince Guaraldi – Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. The Barra MacNeils – O Come Divine Messiah
  3. David Francey – Good Christian Men Rejoice
  4. The Clancy Brothers – When Joseph Was an Old Man
  5. Folk Angel – Angels We Have Heard on High
  6. REM – Jesus Christ
  7. Greg Simm & Kelli Trottier – Good King Wencesles
  8. Tony Trischka – Precious Child
  9. The Cox Family – Go Tell it on the Mountain
  10. Nick Lowe – I Was Born in Bethlehem
  11. Bruce Cockburn – Mary Had a Baby
  12. The New Christy Minstrels – Sing Hosanna, Hallelujah
  13. The Heavenly Gospel Singers – When Was Jesus Born?
  14. Mark Kozelek – O Come All Ye Faithful
  15. Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Seven Joys of Mary
  16. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  17. The Heavy Blinkers – Silence Your Drum
  18. The Polyphonic Spree – Silent Night
  19. Yo-Yo Ma – Joy to the World
  20. Bert Jansch – In the Bleak Midwinter
  21. John Fahey – What Child is This?
  22. Punch Brother – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  23. Emmylou Harris – The First Noel
  24. Robin & Linda Williams – Quiet Christmas Morn
  25. Ron Sexsmith – Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  26. Kate Rusby – Hail Chime On
  27. Dave Matthews – Christmas Song
  28. Tracy Chapman – O Holy Night
  29. Sufjan Stevens – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Heavy Christmas

heavy-christmas-300x300If you’re easily offended you might want to skip this playlist, but if you’re looking to get out of Christmas dinner this might be a helpful tool. There is some swearing and blasphemy. Mostly, though, these are great songs that celebrate the holiday spirit with just a little more volume than you might be used to.

 

Tracklist (and where you can happily ruin your hearing further):

  1. Spinal Tap – Christmas With the Devil
  2. The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
  3. Rob Rivers – Jingle Hells Bells
  4. Alice Cooper – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  5. Opiate for the Masses – Christmas Evel
  6. Blood Sausage – Fuck Christmas Fuck Santa Fuck You
  7. From First to Last – Christmassacre
  8. NOFX – Xmas Has Been Xed
  9. Punchline – Icicles
  10. DDT – Captain Morgan’s Christmas
  11. The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)
  12. Huntingtons – It’s Always Christmas at my House
  13. The Rhythm Pigs – Sleigh Ride
  14. The Fleshtones – Hooray for Santa Claus
  15. The Maynards – The Maynards’ Christmas Wish
  16. Evaporators – Who Are You?
  17. Glam Chops – Count Down to Christmas
  18. Sufjan Stevens – Mr. Frosty Man
  19. The White Stripes – Candy Cane Children
  20. Thee Knight of Thrashe – Santa Claus (Here He Comes)
  21. Dirt Merchants – Jingle Bells
  22. Captain Cutlass & the Stormcrows – Yo Ho Ho Ho
  23. Whirlees – The Grinch
  24. Jemani – That There Was Christmas
  25. Jet – Back Door Santa
  26. Lemmy Kilmister, Billy Gibbons & Dave Grohl – Run Rudolph Run
  27. Jason Farr & Darrin “Big D” Laidman – Christmas Time in Hamilton

Christmas in Love

love-xmas-300x300Being lonely on Christmas has its melancholy charm but there is nothing like being in love at Christmastime, and I am totally in love this year. So I’ve compiled a bunch of really great songs about just that. I listened to all of these songs countless times when I wasn’t in love and they were great songs even then, but this year they’re just the best. I hope those of you I brought down with my last playlist have stuck around for this one, and that those of you who enjoyed revelling in that kind of spirit can get behind this playlist, too. I promise I’ll be more neutral in the future.

 

 

Tracklist (and where you can get these super rad songs for yourselves)

  1. Bobby Sherman – Love’s What You’re Getting for Christmas
  2. Louis Prima – Shake Hands With Santa Claus
  3. Julie London – Warm December
  4. Harry Connick, Jr. – When My Heart Finds Christmas
  5. Little Isadore & the Inquisitors – Christmas of Love
  6. Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever – Best Little Christmas
  7. The Tycoons – Every Other December
  8. The Rosebuds – Hold Me Tight
  9. The Real Tuesday Weld – Song of December
  10. Tom Hooper – Christmas Kiss
  11. Jimmy Butler – Trim Your Tree
  12. Felix Gross – Love for Christmas
  13. Batson and Chase – Lay Around and Love on You
  14. Nick Lowe – (Just to be With You) This Christmas
  15. Keegan DeWitt & The Sparrows – Christmas Light
  16. Sufjan Stevens – Christmas in the Room
  17. Rhett Miller with Sydney Wayser – Christmas is Coming
  18. Dean & Britta with Sonic Boom – He’s Coming Home
  19. Good Lovelies – Hurry Home
  20. Stompin’ Tom Connors – Kiss Me the New Year In
  21. Eddy Arnold – I’m Your Private Santa Claus
  22. Jenna DQ – For Christmastime
  23. Old 97’s – Here it is Christmas Time
  24. Linda Duemo – This Christmas Time
  25. Hawksley Workman – Merry Christmas (I Love You)
  26. The Head and the Heart – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  27. Drew Holcomb & The Neighbours – Everything’s Changed at Christmas But You

Alone for Christmas

lonely-christmas-300x300These are a bunch of songs to cry, drink, or curl up in a ball too. With my first mix, I’m trying to appeal to Christmas music haters. I love Christmas, but I also know what a rough time it is for so many people who feel isolated and overwhelmed by the persistent and grating holiday spirit. Being alone on Christmas can be a drag, but revelling and identifying with other people who share that experience can totally help, or at least obsure the sounds of those goddamned jingle bells.

 

Tracklist (and where you can get these kickass songs for yourselves):

  1. Grey Cup Sunday – Jim Bryson
  2. I’ll be Walking the Floor This Christmas – Ernest Tubb
  3. Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas – Pondertone with the Blue Grass Boogiemen
  4. Blue Christmas – Matt Andersen
  5. Strung Out Like the Lights (At Christmastime) – Dodd Farrelle
  6. Xmas in the Jailhouse – Ox
  7. Ex Miss Right – Rockhouse Brothers
  8. The Ice of Boston – The Dismemberment Plan
  9. Just Because It’s Christmas – Skiffle and the Piffles
  10. Dear Santa – Mr. Little Jeans
  11. (It’s Going to be a) Lonely Christmas – Marshall Crenshaw
  12. Nothing Left to Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue) – The Both
  13. Last Winter (Featuring Chris Shannon) – Charlotte Cornfield
  14. A Dollar Short of Happy – Nick Lowe
  15. Just Me And These Ponies (For Christmas This Year) – Corb Lund
  16. Christmas Angel – Stompin’ Tom Connors
  17. Pretty Paper – Bill Ostrander
  18. Mary – Lou Barlow
  19. Sings a Christmas Song – B.A. Johnston
  20. Could’ve Been Summer – Maggie Chapman
  21. River – Joni Mitchell
  22. 2,000 Miles = Mark Kozelek
  23. Happy Hanukkah – The Burning Hell