My twelve songs for Christmas, 2013. Twelve is the number of songs on a traditional vinyl LP.
1 Christmas Bells – Bellowhead,
A tip for the top from my favourite band of 2013. The (virtual) B-side is Jingle Bells. Well worth a £1.29 download for the two.
2 Christmas At The Airport – Nick Lowe
From “Quality Street” his Christmas album 2013 adds a touch of humour.
3 Lullay Lullay (The Coventry Carol) – The Witches of Elswick
From “Hell’s Belles” Unasccompanied voices.
4 Tar Barrel in Dale – The Unthanks
The TV broadcast of this first introduced me to The Unthanks. Easy to find on YouTube or download, but not on an album.
5 I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake
6 Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band
Robbie Robertson’s solo version from “Scrooged” is also great, but I think Rick Danko’s voice is special on this song and we roll it out every year. Let’s add the recent cover by the Herb Trotman Band on “Christmas in Alabama”
7 Jingle Bells – Dick Walter, from “One Jazzy Christmas”. We discovered this one last year.
8 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
Seek out the annual David Letterman Show version (link to 2013 version), the 27th Christmas she’s appeared on the show, or just go back to Phil Spector’s Christmas album
9 I Wish You A Merry Christmas – Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva
You can find it on Little Eva compilations
10 Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon
It is on every one of those annual UK Christmas compilations and if you work in a shopping mall, any of these usual suspects would drive you mad, but this one still stands out and doesn’t make me go “Not again!” For a change try John Wetton’s version from the charity “An All Star Tribute to Christmas.”
11 Christmas Can’t Be Far Away – Nick Lowe
Boudleaux Bryant song from “Quality Street” originally done by Eddy Arnold. For a lovely sentimental old late 50s Christmas feel.
12 I Saw Three Ships – Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
Delightfully folky English folk Christmas, along with The Witches of Elswick, Bellowhead and The Unthanks. Did I mention it was a bit folky?