The other day I told you about some of the new Christmas CDs this year.  Now we are going to revisit some recommended holiday albums you may have missed in the past.

Ray Charles – Spirit of Christmas
Sounds awesome, right?  Nope, it’s merely very good.  It was recorded in the 80s, so it doesn’t have the immediacy of Ray’s recordings for Atlantic.  Pick this up if you’re looking for a big band romp through Christmas classics.  Ray is in great voice and the arrangements are strong.  Really strong if you consider when this was recorded.

Ringo Starr – Christmas Collection
This charming CD is pretty rocking in spots.  What record collection is complete without the world’s most famous drummer singing “The Little Drummer Boy?”  With bagpipes!  (Think about it; it makes sense.)

Christmas Jug Band – Uncorked
Christmas Jug Band is a collective of SF-area roots musicians.  Although they have released a number of CDs, this is their best because of the strength of the originals.  It’s perfect for people who dig folk, western swing, or skiffle and appreciate a certain kind of humor.  Many of the songs are supposed to remind one of older jazz or string band music, but the humor is modern.  Most humorous music is for kids, and because it talks down to them, it’s toxic to adults.  Christmas Jug Band is more like Peanuts.  The humor really functions at an adult level without excluding children.  If this sounds appealing to you, head over to and check out the audio samples.

Kings College Choir – pretty much anything
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir might be seen as THE Christmas choir, but Kings College Choir is way better.  Why?  Because the treble parts are sung by pre-pubescent boys instead of women.  You need a bunch of powerful women singers to do Wagner, but that’s just a little too Mall of the Americas for me.  Boys sound like bells or (I almost hate to say it) angels which seems much more appropriate if you are going for a religious experience.  They are all great so pick the one with the carols you like best.  Just be aware that anything subtitled “a lesson and carol service” will be half Bible readings.

Various Artists – Midwinter
This amazing 4-CD collection was released by Free Reed, who are known for their comprehensive British folk-rock box sets.  It contains the artist one might expect: Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, The Watersons, Martin Carthy, The Strawbs, Maddy Prior, Shirly Collins, Jethro Tull, etc.  With this bunch, you’re going to get a bunch of really old English songs with possibly pre-Christian roots.  The set also includes some Americans incuding Loudon Wainwright III, Blind Boy Grunt (Bob Dylan, but you knew that right?), Joan Baez, John Fahey, and even Mahalia Jackson.  The few spoken word pieces range from Robert Frost reciting “Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening” to an excerpt of The Grinch featuring Vincent Price.

I could go on but Rock Dad has some crafting responsibilities.  Let’s open this up to comments.  What favorites or guilty pleasures do you have?

I’ll be back soon with Christmas future.  What the heck could that be?  No idea.