The day after Thanksgiving has become the biggest day for holiday shopping but for me it is special because it is the first official day to start playing Christmas music. Growing up there were certain songs that ushered in the holiday season for me. Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” was always the season opener along with Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas“, James Brown’s “Santa Claus Go To Straight To The Ghetto”, The Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town“, Aretha Franklin’s “Winter Wonderland“, and Lena Horne’s “Let It Snow.” Oh, let me not forget The Drifters’ “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas“, The Temptations “Silent Night“, and Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Now every year, I go out looking for old and new Christmas music favorites. This year was a little different because there was less of a selection but I still found some gems. Verve remastered Ella Fitzgerald’s 1960 release “Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas” and added 6 additional tracks and I also got “Ella Fitzgerald Christmas“, a 1967 Capitol release of traditional Christmas songs. I found Lena Horne’s classic rendition of “Let It Snow” on the 1966 “Merry from Lena” album. If you listen closely, you can hear Lena snapping her fingers while the band is playing. Nancy Wilson’s 2001 release “A Nancy Wilson Christmas” is superb and has some great photos of Nancy with her grandchildren. Kirk Whalum’s 2001 release “The Christmas Message” is filled with wonderful music. “Christmas Songs with the Ray Brown Trio” features guest vocalists Dee Bridgewater, Etta Jones, Kevin Mahogany, Vanessa Rubin, and Marlena Shaw. Oscar Peterson’s “An Oscar Peterson Christmas” is a welcome addition. I was playing Roberta Flack’s 1997 release “The Christmas Album” long before the holiday season began and I also got Daryl Coley & Beloved “Christmas Is Here” and I am sure it is going to be good. Hmmmm….with all this new music and other favorites, I may be listening to Christmas music well into February.
Special shout out!! The boy and girl angels were created and handpainted with loving care by my
sister-in-law sister-in-law and dearest niece. They will be coming to the web next year.