Along with all the other traditions that come with Christmas time – watching your favorite TV specials, getting together with family on Christmas Day, wondering how you ever lived without a pre-lit Christmas tree – one of the best ones involves breaking out the collection of Christmas music.
As a kid, it meant that the Bing Crosby and The Chipmunks Christmas albums make their way out of the buffet draw and take up a month-long residence on my mom’s stereo. Now, it means flipping over to my Christmas songs playlist on iTunes, where Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam and The Chieftains all are a part of the family’s Christmas soundtrack.
Seeing as how Christmas has more beloved songs than any other holiday around, Leeann Ward and I have put together a list of some of their favorite renditions of classic holiday songs. Feel free to add your own personal favorites in the comments section.
Song #1: Twelve Days of Christmas
John Denver & the Muppets
Not a particularly high brow pick, but neither is this Christmas classic anyway. The juxtaposition of Denver’s straight delivery and the Muppets’ goofiness is especially delightful. What’s more, the way Miss Piggy revels in making the typically drawn out “Five golden rings” line even longer than usual is somehow endearing. – Leeann
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
As fun as the song is, even the merriest of people get a little tired of it by the time it gets around to the leaping lords and the dancing ladies. Fleck and company decide to ratchet up the degree of difficulty by performing each day in a different key and a different time signature — AND include some Tuvan throat singing to boot. – Sam
I love Straight No Chaser’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” from their 2008 debut album, “Holiday Spirits”.
…since i’ve been “knowing” leeann one more christmas tradition has entered my life: the country music run-up to christmas. it usually starts shortly after labour day weekend, when she picks some of the new christmas recordings for reviewing and climaxes in the days before christmas with one of those great seasonal features here on country universe.
…not to be missed and as always great fun guys.
Love the John Denver clip; that’s one of my favourite holiday records!
Right up to the point where one guy breaks into I Have a Little Dreidel, the performance actually closely follows a preexisting composition… but the finale to the tune of Toto’s Africa was, of course, genius.
It’s fun to have a partner in Christmas bloggy love this year. Yay for having Sam on board with me!:)
Tom, I’m glad you look forward to the Christmas coverage. More to come next week.
Hi, I love both offerings here on your blog. John Denver and the Muppets are delightful and the Bela Fleck and Flecktones was really really interesting. I’ll bet that was hard to figure out!
Decorating the Christmas tree MUST start with John Denver and the Muppets or it’s just not right! That’s been a tradition for close to 20 years now.
The Muppets song in the above clip is not the same one as the recorded version, but any version that has Animal screaming out “12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING!!!” is a keeper.
I definitely bow to the master when it comes to Leeann and her Christmas music collection. She’s pulled out some keepers that I didn’t even know existed for this list.