Not another Christmas Song List!
It happens every year about this time. Someone publishes a list of the best, or worst, Christmas songs. The problem is that there are SO many versions of just about any Christmas song you can think of, and it makes a difference. A big difference. So here is my take on the best versions of the Christmas songs you already love – or hate as the case may be. They are not in any particular order, and there may even be something here that you have never heard!
O Holy Night- Ricky Lee Jones with the Chieftains. Here is the voice of someone who has seen hard times and really needs the hope that this song provides. You can find it on The Chieftains – The Bells of Dublin, released in 1991.
What Child is this, by Brad Paisley. Yes Brad Paisley. It starts with the most amazing acoustic guitar introduction. I would probably like it even better if it was all just guitar.
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Tom Jones with Cerys from Catatonia. This song is getting a lot of push back this year, and I am not saying that it is undeserved. It is a new era after all. And yet, I love this version that can be found on Now That’s What I Call Christmas 2. It perfectly reflects the 1940’s movie that featured the award winning song. I also like the version with Lyle Lovett and Kat Edmondson. It is not really available on a CD, but you can find it on YouTube or Spotify.
Everybody’s Waiting for the Man With the Bag – Brian Setzer Orchestra. This version really swings. Makes you want to move dance. You can find in on Boogie Woogie Christmas, and by does it boogie woogie.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Jack Johnson. From his This warm December album, Johnson gives the old song a fresh take.
Joy to the World – The Roches. How can I not choose a version that includes the line “She rules the world with truth and grace.” In truth, it is hard to choose just one song from the Roches We Three Kings Christmas album. Their beautiful harmonies range from reverential to amusing as they take on a wide range of holiday classics.
Go Tell it on the Mountain- The Blind Boys of Alabama. Gospel and Blues blend together to make this version unforgettable.
Merry Christmas Baby – Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown. More blues than rock, this version has a great sax solo in the middle. You can find this one on A Very Special Christmas . 2
That should be enough to get you rethinking your Christmas listening. Let me know if you have a favorite version of a holiday classic that I should check out.