‘Tis the Season: Favorite Carols Edition

Playing in the church band, I’m kind of not a fan of most Christmas Carols. None of them are very much fun to play regardless of how important they are in our celebration of the incarnation. That said, there are a few that I always like to hear and sing along with, if not play. There is, of course, Oh Holy Night. I think it done best by Michael Crawford with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Speaking of TSO, nothing they do is bad. When Jewel di…

  1. Arahant

    I like “O Little Town of Bethlehem” as sung by a certain Mr. Rivers and company to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun.”  Heard an excerpt as bumber music years ago and it really blew me away.

  2. Arahant

    I also agree on “O Holy Night,” although not necessarily the performer.  I have a thing for basso, and prefer Ernest Ford’s rendition.

  3. Arahant

    Two more:

    The Carol of the Bells

    I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

  4. Arahant

    Now, when you ask for the ones we hate, I’ll just list everything the music director at church gives to the choir.  Most of them are meta-songs, in other words, people singing about somebody’s singing Christmas carols.  She even managed to find a meta-song for Thanksgiving.  Can’t we just sing the old songs instead of singing about singing the old songs?  Oy!

  5. BlueAnt

    I like to belt out Joy To The World at the top of my lungs whenever convenient in December.  

    My other favorite is The Carol of the Bells, any decent choral version will do.  But it also happens to be the basis of the single modern “update” of a classic song which my curmudgeonly self will accept.  

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version rocks hard enough to be elevated into the Christmas carol pantheon.

  6. Lucy Pevensie

    Just wanted to point out that for us liturgical types, the approaching season is Advent, not yet Christmas.  It’s kind of frustrating to be surrounded by Christmas music all the time, right up until the point where we are supposed to start celebrating Christmas, and then find that the Christmas music is gone from the public sphere.

  7. Gus Marvinson

    Oh Holy Night. But I’ve yet to hear the voice that matches the one in my head–some gal with incredible range, tone, and power, but without operatic bombast. Imagine Karen Carpenter with a three octave range.

  8. The King Prawn
    BlueAnt: Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version rocks hard enough to be elevated into the Christmas carol pantheon. · 5 hours ago

    Indeed. As a guitar player it can be hard to not worship the tone Al Pitrelli gets out of his rig.

  9. Basil Fawlty

    I’ve always been partial to Mannheim Steamroller’s early Christmas albums.  As for music I first heard on Ricochet, Jo-El Sonnier’s Cajun Christmas is great.  And then there’s always Percy Faith’s Music of Christmas for the true traditionalist.

  10. Severely Ltd.

    For me it’s hands down ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’.

  11. Jimmy Carter

    I don’t do Christmas. I don’t get the lights, the dead/fake tree, stockings, obligatory “presents,”….. and all that.

    But… BUT! I do have a very guilty pleasure during this season… [click at Yer Own risk] I can listen to this a thousand times from now until New Years.

    Call Me sick….

  12. Mama Toad
    Lucy Pevensie: Just wanted to point out that for us liturgical types, the approaching season is Advent, not yet Christmas.  It’s kind of frustrating to be surrounded by Christmas music all the time, right up until the point where we are supposed to start celebrating Christmas, and then find that the Christmas music is gone from the public sphere. · 3 hours ago

    Hear hear! Could not agree with you more… Those of us who are singers do have to rehearse Christmas songs during Advent, but we wait until Christmastide to sing them. Some of my favorite Advent songs (not necessarily my fave versions, just links to the songs):

    Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

    People Look East

    Creator of the Stars of Night

    O Come Divine Messiah

  13. Severely Ltd.

    If you think–or rather know–that Jimmy Carter is sick, click like.

    If you think he’s not, well, you’re wrong. Proof at his link.

  14. sawatdeeka

    In regards to Jimmy Carter’s recommendation, this was one of the comments:

    At 1:53 you can see that Boy Geiorge is wearing a mannequin hand in his right sleeve. I wonder why he was wearing one.

    And that’s all I need to know about that link.

  15. Arahant

    Veni, Veni, Emmanuel – Best of the best!

  16. Amy Schley

    Okay, it’s not a Christmas Carol, and it’s certainly not great music, but I have a secret love for “Merry Christmas from the Family.”  It is so very white-trash, but the kind of Christmas gatherings described — where people bring their new boyfriends or kids from their failed marriages, watch the football game, and some of the people are somehow kin, but you’ve forgotten how* — have a lot more to do with my experiences than the ideal found in the traditional songs.

    *I had three Thanksgivings this past week. The first on Sunday was with my mother-in-law, her lesbian half sister, the lesbian who divorced my father-in-law’s brother, and my husband’s twin cousins. The second was with my family — Mom, Dad, sister, one of my aunts and her husband, one of my cousins and her husband, my maternal grandfather, and my maternal grandmother who’s married to my paternal grandfather (he was there too).   The third was with my father-in-law’s family — his oldest step-son hosted, with his siblings, wife, child, step-dad, mom, and her parents. 

    The definition of “family” gets pretty broad around here. :D

  17. Foxfier

    I got a couple of lovely TSO CD’s from the five dollar bin at Walmart, but this is what I’m really looking for: Twisted Sister’s “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful.”  (Skip to 1:40 in to just hear the music.)  Silly, but joyful in the actual singing.  They didn’t mess around with the song, just adapted it to…well… rock.

    My absolute favorite for singing is Da Yoopers’ Rusty Chevrolet.  There are many songs that get the awe of Christmas, and a lot that are traditional, but the gleeful obliviousness just does it for me.

    Pretty much any carol that can be belted out is going to be a favorite.  Any version strangled down so you can’t even touch the sheer Jesus Christ is HERE!!! isn’t going to go over so well.  I’m firmly in the “happy, joyful, yay yay yay Christmas!” side.  Might change when I get older…though, probably not too much.  I use to like the more somber ones…. though “Mary, did you know?” still makes me shudder, especially after Mrs. Darwin took it to bits!

  18. The King Prawn

    I suppose I should mention my least favorite ever Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy. I simply can’t stand it…except for the Jars of Clay Version, musical brilliance.

  19. EJHill

    I stand by what I wrote last year.

  20. BlueAnt
    The King Prawn: I suppose I should mention my least favorite ever Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy. I simply can’t stand it…except for the Jars of Clay Version, musical brilliance.

    The one thing me and Garrison Keillor can always agree on: the scourge that is The Little Drummer Boy must be drummed out of Christmas.

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