Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Albums

This post is not to tell you about the newest Christmas CD's available this year, but rather to tell you what my all time favorites are that I keep coming back to year after year.   Most of them are special to me because they have songs by some of my favorite artists that aren't available elsewhere. In no particular order, we have:


Produced and arranged by Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty, (The Choir,)  this is more or less the third disc in their "At The Foot Of the Cross" worship series, or so I've always viewed it.  Steve and Derri's original tune "Babe In The Straw" is a highlight, but my favorite is Michael Pritzl and Jenny Gullen's rendition of "Silent Night."

The Broken Christmas

When a CD contains otherwise unavailable tracks by the likes of Undercover, Riki Michele,Adam Again and 4-4-1, you know it's a must have for me.  I bought this one as a new release, along with Sparrow Record's "Christmas," back in 1988, and I don't think a Christmas season has gone by that I haven't played them.  Too many highlights to hit here, but "Born In A Stable" by Level Heads is not only the best song on the disc, it's one of the greatest songs ever written.  Period.

Bruce Cockburn-Christmas

As much as I would disagree with Mr. Cockburn politically and theologically, I have loved his music for years, and when I heard he was releasing a Christmas CD, I couldn't pass that up.  Includes a lot of standards and a lot of obscure seasonal tunes, all performed in Cockburn's usual flawless style.  Bonus points for taking on "I Saw Three Ships," a song not many artists are willing to record.  "Three Ships" has been my favorite Carol for many years, and I can't explain why.  I've never been able to figure out what it's about.  But I've never heard a better performance than this one.

Sparrow Christmas

Whiteheart's "Little Drummer boy."  Enough said.

Okay, the rest of the disc is great, too!  It just wouldn't seem like Christmas without Steve Camp's "O' Holy Night, Michael Card's "What Child is This," and Steve Taylor's wonderfully twisted Mariachi style "Winter Wonderland."  Classic!

Jon Anderson-Three Ships

No, not John Anderson of "Swingin'" fame, but Jon Anderson, lead singer for Prog Rock giants, Yes.  Progressive Rock this isn't, and I have to admit the production is stuck smack in the 80's, but I love this album.  "Where Were You," and "Day Of Days" are beautiful, and his rendition of "O' Holy Night," featuring Sandra Crouch is amazing.  And of course, he recorded my favorite Carol.

First call-An Evening In December

Absolutely beautiful and relaxing Acapella, this is the album that actually introduced First Call, being released a year or so before their "debut" album, "Undivided."

Our Christmas

Sort of a follow up to the popular "Our Hymns" disc, this featured exclusive songs by Michael W. Smith, Mylon Lefevre, Bryan Duncan, Russ Taff and many other then popular artists.  David Meece's first recording of his perennial "One Small Child" steals the show for me.

The Gift-A Colours Christmas

Beautiful instrumental versions of popular Carols,  three tunes by the late great Tom Howard make this one a necessity for me.

Mannheim Steamroller-Christmas

No offense to anyone, but the Steamroller are in a rut.  I'll always love this one, though.

Christmas With George Beverly Shea

Yes, I'm serious.  Bev's voice has a relaxing, worshipful tone that I need sometimes.  Probably also nostalgia from all the Billy Graham Crusades I watched on TV as a kid.  Whatever the reason, I love this album.

Probably won't post anymore until after Christmas, so:

May the love of Christ dwell in your hearts, now and always.


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