Christmas comes but once a year, but like a junkie relative who turns up to sleep on the couch, each visit seems to be a longer and more unpleasant intrusion. Having to endure Macca’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” & Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas is for you to shut the f*** up” since October, it certainly puts the Christ back in Christmas every time I walk into a shop.
Fear not vinyl lovers, for here is a feast of alternatives with not a hint of Slade or Wizard to sour the cranberry sauce.
Christmas Carols From St Paul’s Cathedral – The Choir Of St Pauls Cathedral Conducted By Dr J Dykes Bower
Whilst I’m not what you would describe as a religious person, the sound of a Choir recorded in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1967 is so beautiful as to be a spiritual experience in itself, the music masterfully invokes the festive season without the need for descending major scales or the jingling of bells.
Scrooge & Scrooged – Original Soundtrack Recordings
Two completely different takes on one of my favourite Charles Dickins stories. The Wonderful Albert Finney musical version is a film I watch every year and is a genuinely moving and fun adaptation of the book. It features a rare moment of Alec Guinness’ vocal ability, not too dissimilar from Oliver Reed’s musical delights from Tommy. It’s not been re-issued since its release in 1970 due to contractual issues but it’s still available on the second hand market for around £5. The Bill Murray Scrooged album features some fairly good covers, the highlight being Miles Davis, Larry Carlton, David Sanborn & Paul Shaffer performing “We Three Kings Of Orient Are”.
The Beatles Christmas Album
Members of the Beatles fan club would get a flexi disc around Christmas time with various well wishes, songs and skits from the fab four. The 7 discs from 1963 to 1969 were put on a compilation in 1970 for fan club members, my version is an unofficial 2010 pressing on green vinyl. If you want an original 1970 pressing, be prepared to dig deep and watch out for counterfeits.
Squeeze – Christmas Day
Whilst not Squeeze’s finest moment by any stretch of the imagination, for anyone who enjoyed Christmas in the seventies this will bring some memories back and a welcome diversion from Mum playing Wham’s ” Last Christmas” again.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guarldi Trio
For me this is the ultimate Christmas album, festive but without choking on the tinsel. Released 50 years ago in December 1965, this album on the San Francisco based Fantasy label still sounds amazing on this green vinyl re-issue. Give the “Now That’s What I Call A Repetitive Christmas” CD a short vacation and enjoy this wonderful album.
Which just leaves me to wish you all a Merry Christmas, I’ll be returning in the New Year so until then, thank you for reading.