Merry Alt-Christmas Songs

Don’t get me wrong, I like “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” as much as the next guy, but if either happens to shuffle itself up on to my iPod in July, it gets quick-clicked aside by my Next button.  Then again, some Christmas songs, perhaps a bit more obscure ones, are good for year-round listening.  Here are ten of my favorites (alphabetical by artist):

  1. “Christmas Must Be Tonight” by The Band. Off Islands (1977). “…son of carpenter; Mary carried the light…”
  2. “Merry Christmas from the Family” by Diesel Doug & The Long Haul Truckers.  Off Mistakes Were Made (2005).  Robert Earl Keen’s original may be easier to find, but I like this version by this great Maine band.  (You guys need to get back together!)
  3. “Nothing but a Child” by Steve Earle. Off Copperhead Road (1988). “Once upon a time, in a far off land; Wise men saw a sign and set out across the sand.”
  4. “Christmas Morning” by Lyle Lovett. Off The Road to Ensenada (1996). “Now each Christmas morning I set in my chair, And I look at the angels that float through the air.”
  5. “Christmas in Capetown” by Randy Newman. Off Trouble in Paradise (1983). “Darling, don’t talk about something you don’t know anything about!”
  6. “Christmas Wish” by NRBQ. Off Peek-A-Boo – Best of NRBQ: 1969-89. “I listen to the twinkle as it floats my way; it must be the music that the angels play.”
  7. “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders (1983). Off The Singles. “I hear people singing, It must be Christmas time.”
  8. “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits. Off Blue Valentine (1978). “…and I still have that record by Little Anthony & the Imperials, but someone stole my record player, now how do you like that?”
  9. “Christmas” by The Who. Off Tommy (1969). “Peeping around the door to see what parcels are for free… In curiosity.”
  10. “Christmas Katie” by Widespread Panic. Off ‘Til The Medicince Takes (1999).  “Jingle bells, electric lights. They rattle ‘gainst the shopping cart. Even on the 4th of July.”

Happy Listening,  Malcolm Gauld