I’ll be in Vancouver ’til next Wednesday. To keep you ocupado while I’m gone, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to this yuletide season…

Five Christmas Albums I Can’t Live Without:

1. Etta James / 12 Songs for Christmas

This is so darn good. Every song is a keeper. And Etta does go cheap on the length either, unlike some Christmas albums that are over in 25 minutes, this one runs about 80!

2. Bruce Cockburn / Christmas



Ya, ya… I know, he wrote that Rocket Launcher song, but – unfortunately for Bruce – this may be his best effort. Some encouragement for people who don’t like Cockburn, this was the album that made my wife a fan.

3. Jimmy Smith / Christmas Cookin’



The best jazz Christmas album. Period.

4. The Johnny Cash Family/ Christmas



Accept no substitutes! Any of Johnny’s other holiday efforts are meager compared to this. Unfortunately I think it’s now out of print.

5. Elvis Presley / If Every day was like Christmas



With 20 songs, this is the King’s most comprehensive holiday release, and a bargain at $13.99

Five Christmas Albums I could do without:

1. Anything featuring drama-queens:



I’m talkin’ Celine Dion, Jim Brickman, Manheim Steamroller, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra… these are the devil’s playground. Easy Stomach!

2. Those Very Special Christmas albums just got worse and worse.



Chris Cornell singing(?) Ave Maria is not to be missed.

3. The Sinatra Christmas Album



Uugghh! This and a bottle of Nyquil will put you to sleep ’til the new year.

4. The Barenaked Ladies



Barenaked for the Holidays is too cutesy-pooh for my taste.

5. Christmas with Babyface



Wow, that Reggae-infused Little Drummer Boy may be one of the worst things to ever hit my ears.

Finally…

Ten of my current favorite holiday songs (in no particular order, enjoy!):

10. Christmas Morning – Lyle Lovett

9. Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby

8. Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson

7. Everything’s gonna be Cool this Christmas – The Eels

6. One Good Year – Slaid Cleaves

5. The Last Month of the Year – Fairfield Four

4. Blues for Christmas – Johnny Lee Hooker

3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Big Maybelle

2. Santa Claus go straight to the Ghetto – James Brown

1. Christmas Story – Nashville Bluegrass Band

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Update:

Eric took issue with my having left off The Kinks, Father Christmas. My list is just what’s currently on my plate; but there are many other great songs, and I’d love to hear some of your favorites.

I adore the Kinks, and that song.

Oooh, I thought of another one… If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas, sung by Joe Pesci!

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