Essay / Misc.

Christmas Playlists 2

The annual Sanders family playlist/mix tape/CD this year is advent-focused. But in previous years (see this post) we’ve done the genres of country, big band, and even new age. Here’s the new advent mix. And below that you’ll find three mixes from Christmas past: brass, CCM, and the dreaded lounge/crooner.

I reckon this time next year we’ll all be on Spotify premium, but for now I’ve embedded links so you can buy the tracks at Amazon if you want to join the fun.

Advent Countdown An attempt to keep the hallelujahs and jubilations at bay just long enough to focus on songs about patience and expectation. We tried to keep it reverent and even meditative, but not sleep-inducing. A few “he is born” moments snuck in around the edges, but with a little help from the middle ages, Charles Wesley, and our own church (see Songs of Grace) we got a playlist that’ll be a good soundtrack for early December from now on.

1. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Daniel Renstrom)
2. Dayspring (High Street Hymns)
3. Savior of the Nations Come (Kirk Meyer)
4. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Red Mountain Church)
5. Watchman Tell Us of the Night (Giovanni)
6. O Come Divine Messiah (Barra MacNeils)
7. Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies (Mark Roach)
8. Creator of the Stars of Night (High Street Hymns)
9. Gabriel’s Oboe (Santec Music Orchestra)
10. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Songs of Grace)
11. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (High Street Hymns)
12. Holy Emmanuel (Terry Scott Taylor)
13. Of The Father’s Love Begotten (Songs of Grace)

All Brass Christmas A really cheerful and surprisingly diverse set of tracks from bright and shiny brass instruments. One reason it’s such good listening is that these instruments take familiar tunes in strange and abstract directions. No vocalist could do these things with the lines of Christmas songs. Susan (with her fine ear for brass) did most of the work assembling this one. As she says about live brass: “It’s worth the risk.”

1. Silent Night (Peter Breiner)
2. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
3. Gaudete Christus Natus Est (Fine Arts Brass Ensemble)
4. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (London Brass)
5. Short Fantasy on a Catalan Carol (Canadian Brass w/Angel Romero)
6. For Unto Us a Child is Born (Fine Arts Brass Ensemble)
7. O Sanctissima (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
8. In Dulci Jubilo (Ludwig Guttler Brass Ensemble)
9. Troika (Fine Arts Brass Ensemble)
10. The First Nowell (London Brass)
11. Here We Come a Wassailing (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
12. Danse Russe Trepak (US Navy Band)
13. O Tannenbaum (Peter Breiner)
14. Twelve Days of Christmas (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
15. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Brad Smith)
16. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
17. Go Tell it On the Mountain (Canadian Brass)
18. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble)
19. Hallelujah (Canadian Brass)

Warmest Christmas Ever Tilting toward late 90s CCM because of two excellent anthologies (Noel & Your King Has Come), this mix easily embraces Michael Card and Fernando Ortega, plus makes room for the eccentrically traditionalist John Michael Talbot and the maverick Bruce Cockburn (singing in about four languages on one CD). By the way, how is Noel not available on mp3? Let’s go occupy something!

1. Babe in the Straw (Derri Daugherty, from Noel)
2. Winter Song (Fernando Ortega)
3. Les Anges Dans nos Campagnes (Bruce Cockburn)
4. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Jerry Chamberlain, from Noel)
5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Jill Phillips)
6. Of the Father’s Love Begotten (John Michael Talbot)
7. Vicit Agnus (Michael Card)
8. What Child is This (Billy Cerveny)
9. Unto Us a Son is Given (Michael Card)
10. I Saw Three Ships (Bruce Cockburn)
11. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (Jenny Gullen, from Noel)
12. O Come All Ye Faithful (Mandy Ihrig, from Noel)
13. Three Kings (John Michael Talbot)
14. Jacob’s Star (Michael Card)
15. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Derek Webb)
16. O Come O Come Emmanuel (Matthew Smith)
17. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (John Michael Talbot)
18. Adeste Fidelis (Bruce Cockburn)
19. Still the Night (Katy Bowser)
20. Angels We Have Heard on High (Carolyn Arends,from Noel)
21. Go Tell it on the Mountain (Bruce Cockburn)

Christmas Lounge Nat King Cole sets the tone for this mix, edging out sentimental favorite Johnny Mathis, but also beating out heavy hitters like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. We took 26 tracks to make sure we had room for everybody, and we started it off with a Sammy Davis Jr. version of Jingle Bells that cranks the schmaltzy factor through the roof. None of these tracks are what you’d call obscure, but this playlist has more sonic diversity and smoother song-to-song transitions than your local Holiday radio station.

1. Jingle Bells(Sammy Davis, Jr.)
2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Nat King Cole)
3. No Place Like Home for the Holidays (Perry Como)
4. The Christmas Song (Mel Torme)
5. Winter Wonderland (Wayne Newton)
6. Silver Bells (Johnny Mathis)
7. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Nat King Cole)
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Frank Sinatra)
9. White Christmas (Louis Armstrong)
10. Good King Wenceslaus (Bing Crosby)
11. O Tannenbaum (Nat King Cole)
12. O Little Town of Bethlehem (Johnny Adams)
13. My Favorite Things (Edmundo Ros)
14. Silent Night (Johnny Mathis)
15. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Andy Williams)
16. Please Come Home for Christmas (Dion)
17. Let it Snow (Ella Fitzgerald)
18. Away in a Manger (Nat King Cole)
19. Christmas Waltz (Johnny Mathis)
20. The First Noel (Bing Crosby)
21. Christmas Is (Lou Rawls)
22. Frosty the Snowman (Jimmy Durante)
23. All I Want for Christmas (Brook Benton)
24. Sleigh Ride (Ronnie Aldrich)
25. Joy to the World (Nat King Cole)
26. May the Good Lord Bless You (Frank and Bing)

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