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I’ve some strict rules in my life, and one of them is ironclad: No Christmas anything until the day after Thanksgiving. On this day, my own family’s tradition has been to put up and deck the tree and home for Christmas, a tradition I’ve carried over into my own homes since striking out. Of course, at that point, it is no holds barred celebration, because if God coming to earth to live a perfect, God-honouring and -glorifying life and then dying an awful death to pay the penalty for my wickedness so that God might declare me righteous is not cause for going all out…what on earth is?
(Needless to say, the “understated Christmas decor” trend is not for me. It’s tasteful, but you can’t miss it around here.)
Anyhow, that rule about no Christmas extends to music, much as I love so much of the Christmas music, both sacred and secular. But surely you, too, have noticed that the Christmas stations have become nauseatingly repetitive, no matter where you may be. And it’s not as if the catalog of Christmas music—in the States, especially—is paltry. It is enormous. You could probably have a station of solely 1930s-40s Christmas tunes and not repeat a single song for many days. But here we are, I can’t stand the thought of Brenda Lee’s party or Karen Carpenter’s Christmas cards anymore (sorry, gals), and long to hear the superb Nat “King” Cole and Bing Crosby sing the other songs
they sang so beautifully, so last year, began buying up Christmas albums.
One of them is “A Magical Christmas*” (it seems I lucked out, paying under five dollars for the set at a used bookstore!), chosen for its blend of the aforementioned sacred & secular and lack of songs Hubby and I can no longer bear. You’ll have to track it down at a used CD or bookstore, but it’s quite worthwhile, so if you see it, snap it up. There were two numbers we both found particularly enjoyable, from the two-dozen plus numbers (only one or two of which we considered clunkers—not a bad percentage!).
One was the opener, “Christmas Medley” by Harry Belafonte, at the top of this post. Lovely, yes? A perfect and enjoyable beginning to the collection, plus, one hears “O Little Town of Bethlehem” so rarely on the radio these days. That said, for us, the real standout happened to be a song one doesn’t usually think of as a Christmas carol, and was once in fact a regularly heard worship song, but one oh so rarely used by worship leaders anymore. But it wasn’t just the song, it was the singer performing it. Kids, it’s Bobby Darin singing “Holy, Holy, Holy”, and it’s beautiful.
Isn’t that marvellous? And we’ve nothing against Darin; it was an unexpected delight. So I hope you enjoyed it, too, and that you also find this CD for well under the apparently suggested seventy dollars. These two tunes alone are worth finding this for, and honestly, I think Darin’s “Holy, Holy, Holy” is worth the price of admission all by itself.
(You also get an Elvis very influenced by doo-wop, some Mario Lanza, of course Bing and Nat and Frank, Dean-o, Ella—albeit one solitary song, but her Christmas albums are all worth having—Doris Day, Peggy Lee—oh, and a fun little novelty song performed by Bing with the Andrews Sisters about toys throwing a party for Santa; the Bing-as-Santa laugh makes it worth a listen.)
I’m not a professional music reviewer, but I do enjoy good music, a laugh, and have gotten old and cranky and therefore cannot stand a majority of the contemporary stuff.
* Affiliate link. Please see my affiliate note at the bottom of the page, but hey—we have to keep our beloved senior collie in treats somehow, yes? 😉