The Musical Box (Christmas Edition)
As someone who worked a variety of service industry jobs in my teenage years, I can quite rightly say that most Christmas music is little more than muzak to me. While I zone out the old staples like Bing Crosby and various choirs used as background music at family events, there are a handful of Christmas albums that I can actively enjoy listening to. So for this edition of The Musical Box I'll be exploring holiday music done right.
Say what you will about the "Wall of Sound" ruining music, A Christmas Gift to You is one of the greatest holiday albums ever made. Featuring Darlene Love, The Crystals, The Ronettes and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, the album feels like a classic 60's pop album first and a Christmas album second. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a timeless classic, and a nice reprieve from the usual holiday fare.
This album by early 60's instrumental band The Ventures, best known for songs like "Walk Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O", blends Christmas staples with surf-rock seamlessly. Album highlights include "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" opening with "Wooly Bully" and "Jingle Bells" starting with the "What'd I Say" riff.
While it was released as recently as 2003, no modern Tull album has better recaptured the wild essence of their 70's music better than this one. Featuring a combination of traditional folk ballads and holiday interpretations of classic Jethro Tull songs, the album is festive yet distinctive.
I'm always on the lookout for new listening suggestions (holiday related or otherwise), so please comment with your favorites.