Merry Christmas, Baby

staplesingersxmasYou may have missed this one: I recently compiled forty of the greatest Christmas albums of all time for the Rolling Stone website. I wanted to include albums that rewarded repeated plays, not wacky Yuletide novelties–which means that I didn’t include Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart, even though I really wanted to use my “Miracle on Positively Fourth Street” joke. I enjoy all the albums on this list, and I can strongly recommend the top ten. Ella Fitzgerald’s album (my number-one selection) is a wonder, and was previously unknown to me, but the record I’d particularly like to call your attention to is our number-three choice, the Staple Singers’ 1962 album, The 25th Day of December. It’s sparely arranged–four voices doing gospel vocals, guitar, drums, and organ–and it’s jaw-droppingly great. (I don’t know why it’s such an obscurity–maybe because it was out of print for a couple of decades?) At any rate, I hope the list turns you on to some music you don’t know–and if you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have an extremely happy one. And no matter what, I wish you an amazing 2014.

posted 23 December 2013 in Articles, Outside and tagged , . no comments yet

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