09 December 2009

Christmas Music 12-9-2009

More cassettes:

♥ "Christmas," Mannheim Steamroller
The original! I remember listening to this in 2004, driving from Plymouth to Quincy—we'd keep finding stations playing Rush Limbaugh; when one would fade out another would come up, and all he was playing was this album. From a funky "Deck the Halls" to a jazzy "Good King Wenceslas" to the slow-building "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," and an arrangement of "Silent Night" that will break your heart.

♥ "Wassail! Wassail! Early American Christmas Music," The Revels
This is one of only two albums I have with "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" ("The Huron Carol") which I recall learning in school. A Canadian priest translated the story of Jesus to the Huron people in terms they could understand: Jesus is the son of the Great Manitou and is wrapped in rabbit skins rather than swaddling clothes. Between the songs are a folksy narrative telling the Christmas story and Jean Ritchie's Appalachian memories.

♥ "A Gift of Song," Mason Williams
Mr. Classical Gas himself. Guitar, of course, plus other woodwinds and percussion. Very pleasant "Seventies Sound."

♥ "A Music Box Christmas," Columbia Records
Love this one—sounds like authentic music boxes. I have some Porter "music box" albums that sound like they are actually synthesized music box sound (actually, some of them must be as the songs are modern ones). On this you can hear the twang of the metal along with the tinkling of the tunes.

♥ "Christmas," the Singers Unlimited
Mixed choral heavily featuring women. A staple of beautiful music stations at Christmastime some thirty years ago; I remember most of them being played on WLKW out of Providence.

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