After the first Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist got rave reviews (JPE: EXCELLENT! THIS IS JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! Diane: BEAUTIFULLY ECLECTIC! President Barack Obama: THE TILTING SUDS CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST IS WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO RENEW THE AMERICAN DREAM!), I could not hold back from putting together a second volume. Let’s jump right in:
1. The Only Thing I Want For Christmas – Eddie Cantor – We start with a Christmas song sung by a Jewish singer because this is America and we are cool like that. There is a deeper reading to this song (a Jewish singer performing a song that essentially says “I want to be left alone on Christmas”) but I will lighten up in keeping with the season.
2. Feliz Navidad – El Vez – The Mexican Elvis schtick gets old rather quickly, but this cover (with an arrangement based on Public Image by P.I.L.) is just fine.
3. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley – We follow the Mexican Elvis with Elvis Presley himself. That order does not reflect the esteem in which I hold these artists.
4. Christmas Island – The Andrews Sisters – My grandmother had a stack of Andrews Sisters’ albums, so their music was a prominent part of my youth. They were the World War II era equivalent of Wilson-Phillips, minus the morbid obesity, lap band surgery, and drug abuse.
5. Santa & The Doodle-Li-Boop – Art Carney – I am assuming that plenty of highballs were consumed during the recording of this sing. I do not have any background information on the recording session, but my guess is that Jackie Gleason was the bandleader.
6. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear – BeauSoleil – Nice cajun shuffle arrangement on this traditional Christmas song.
7. I saw Three Ships A Sailing – Marianne Faithfull & The Chieftains – For the longest time, I dismissed Marianne Faithfull as being nothing more than Mick Jagger’s ex-girlfriend, who, although quite attractive, had no real talent to speak of. Having recently listened to the better part of her recordings from the Sixties, I admit that I was wrong about her lacking talent. This song was recorded with the Chieftains several years back, and her world weary voice accentuates the song’s hopefulness.
8. Christmas in New Orleans – Louis Armstrong – Louis Armstrong singing about New Orleans. Yeah, the song is slight, but it doesn’t matter, does it?
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Marah – Did anyone think I would make a Christmas playlist and not have Marah on it? Let’s move on.
10. Christmas Must Be Tonight – My Morning Jacket – This uses the same arrangement as the Band did, and Jim James is not the singer that Rick Danko is, but I still like this version.
11. Here It Is Christmastime – Old 97s – I am not a huge fan of these guys, but I do like this song
12. Winterlude – Joe Ely – While it is technically not a Christmas song, it is Joe Ely singing a Dylan song, and it has a winter solstice feel to it, so it makes the cut.
13. Frosty The Snowman – Flaco Jimenez – Anybody having tamales tomorrow night? I am. It is apparently a Texas tradition, but what do I know, I am from New Jersey.
14. O Come O Come Emmanuel – Belle & Sebastian – This band’s quiet sound is nicely suited for traditional Christmas songs, as you can hear.
15. What Child Is This? – Sarah McLachlan – Including Sarah McLachlan on a playlist usually results in instantaneous revocation of your Man Card, but in my defense, this is a Christmas Playlist, and she does a nice version of this song.
16. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Tift Merritt – I loved Tift Merritt’s first few albums, but have not heard her more recent work. I admit that I was initially drawn to her because she was easy on the eyes, but she has a good blue-eyed soul voice and is an accomplished songwriter. This song’s melancholy feel is perfect for her.
17. Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) – The Ramones – We end with the best rock and roll band to come from New York. Merry Christmas Everyone, No Fighting!
Download the Tilting Suds Christmas Playlist, Vol. II here.