Johnny Lee “Santa's Ride” from Phroomf / Santa's Ride 45 single (Diva) —Androgynous lead vocal, the b-side to a single that has an ode to an elf called "Phroomf" on the a-side, penned by the immortal Frank Frank Serritella and featuring Mike Simpson & His Orchestra -- if only all Christmas songs could be like this.Buy it!
Jimmy Charles “Christmasville USA” (Maple Tone 2007) —Originally released in 1961 as a single (the b-side was called "A Little Mouse Called Steve) on the Promo label. A perennial M2M Yuletide favorite.Buy it!
Little Eva & Big Dee Irwin “I Wish You a Merry Christmas” from A John Waters Christmas (New Line 2004) —Written by Carole King & Gerry Goffin and released in 1963 on the Dimension label.Buy it!
The Del-Vets “I Want a Boy For Christmas” from "...Christmas Past" (Westside 1998) —Originally released in 1961 and found on one of the finest Christmas music compilations out there.Buy it!
Bing Crosby “Just What I Wanted For Christmas” from The Crosby Christmas Sessions (Collectors' Choice 2010) N —Obscure 1959 b-side written by Sammy Cahn & James Van Heusen.Buy it!
Ray Charles & Betty Carter “Baby It's Cold Outside” from The Spirit of Christmas (Rhino 1997) —There are lots of great versions of this song but this really is the definitive one. Written by Frank Loesser & recorded in 1962 for ABC-Paramount.Buy it!
Ella Fitzgerald “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Verve 2002) —Reissue of the 1960 Verve release and, in my estimation, one of the top ten Christmas albums ever recorded. Written by J. Fred Coots&Haven Gillespie.Buy it!
The Ramsey Lewis Trio “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Sound of Christmas (Verve 2004) —Music bed. Instrumental from this 1961 reissue & the most soulful version of this song you're likely to hear.Buy it!
Lou Rawls “Christmas Will Really Be Christmas” from Merry Christmas, Baby (Capitol Records 1967) —Written by J.W. Alexander & Ben Raleigh and originally released in 1967.Buy it!
Booker T. & the MGs “Merry Christmas Baby” from Soul Christmas (Atlantic 1991) —Instrumental version of the Lou Baxter/Johnny Moore-penned song recorded for Stax in 1966.Buy it!
Charles Brown “Please Come Home for Christmas” from Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs (King 1961) —1961 song written by Charles Brown & Gene Redd.Buy it!
The Candy Store “Frosty The Snowman” from Snow 2 - The Get Easy! Christmas Collection (Universal 2004) —Phil Spector-influenced track recorded in 1969 for the Decca label.Buy it!
Lisa Mychols “Lost Winter's Dream” (Rev-Ola 2002) —Highly recommended and completely overlooked recording from 2002. Produced by the Wondermints and one of my favorite Christmas recordings from the last ten years.Buy it!
The Beach Boys “Santa's Beard” from The Beach Boys Ultimate Christmas (CAPITOL 1998) —Written by Brian Wilson & Mike Love and recorded in 1964. No session musicians on this track.Buy it!
Carla Thomas “Winter Snow” from All I Want for Christmas Is You/Winter Snow 45 single (stax url 1966) —Amazing 1966 b-side written by Isaac Hayes (who also recorded a version of this song).Buy it!
Detroit Junior “Christmas Day” from Christmas Party with Eddie G. (Columbia 1990) —Written by Detroit Junior and released in 1960 on the Foxy label. This compilation is out of print but if you ever have a chance to pick it up, do it!Buy it!
Beginning of the End “Gee Whiz, It's Christmas” from Snow 3 - The Get Easy! Christmas Collection (Universal 2005) —1971 cover version of the Carla Thomas song recorded in 1971.Buy it!
Jimmy Smith “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” from Christmas Cookin' (Verve 1992) —Music bed. 1964 intrumental. And can this song possibly sound any hipper than this organ-driven recording? OK, maybe the Lou Rawls version but that's about it.Buy it!
Jackson 5 “Up On the House Top” from The Best of Jackson 5: The Christmas Collection (Motown 2003) —Originally released in 1970.Buy it!
The Ronettes “Sleigh Ride” SINGLE (Sony 2009) —2009 remastered version of the 1963 original mono mix. Not just one of the best Christmas albums but one of the best rock albums ever made.Buy it!
James Brown “Sweet Little Baby Boy (Parts 1 & 2)” from The Complete James Brown Christmas (Universal Records 2010) N —Traditional gospel song with additional lyrics & music by James Brown & Nat Jones. Recorded in 1966 for the King label.Buy it!
The Staple Singers “The Savior Is Born” from The 25th Day of December (Fantasy 2007) —Written by Thomas A. Dorsey and recorded in 1962.Buy it!
Sister Lucille Pope & The Pearly Gates “Merry Christmas” from Gospel Christmas Hits (Fuel 2000 2004) —Taken from this fine compilation of Christmas-themed gospel tunes.Buy it!
Danny Kaye “Eat! Eat! Eat!” from Eat! Eat! Eat! / Santa Claus Looks Like My Daddy 78 single (Decca 1951) —A not-often heard track from 1951.Buy it!
The Three Suns “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” from A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas (RCA 1959) —OK, there are arrangements and then there are arrangements. From their wildly-entertaining 1959 album of all instrumentals.Buy it!
One Fell Swoop “Christmas Island” from Noelathon 2000 cassette (Noeltahon 2000) —Taken from a cassette sold only at the 2000 Noelathon which took place at BBs Jazz Blues & Soups. You're not likely to find this one.Buy it!
Julie London “I'd Like You for Christmas” from Yulesville (Shout! Factory 2003) —From 1957. I feel like I need a cigarette, now.Buy it!
Billy May & His Orchestra “Do You Believe In Santa Claus?” from Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails Part Three (CAPITOL 2004) —1958 song written by Billy May & Alan Livingston. Santa's voice pushes sub-woofers to the limit on this one.Buy it!
Mabel Scott “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” from Hipsters' Holiday (Rhino 1989) —Written by Leon René & recorded in 1948. I can't recommend this Christmas compilation highly enough.Buy it!
The Eels “Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas” from It's A Cool Cool Christmas (Jeepster 2000) —Found on this really strong UK-released Christmas compilation.Buy it!
Hello Saferide “iPod X-Mas (radio edit)” from Oh No...It's Christmas (Razzia 2006) —Written & sung by Annika Norlin and found on this 2006 compilation made up of Christmas & holiday songs recorded by Scandinavian bands.Buy it!
The Raveonettes “The Christmas Song” from The Christmas Song - Single (Beat Dies Records 2011) —Not to be confused with the Mel Torme song. Recorded in 2003 by the band based out of Copenhagan, Denmark.Buy it!
The Ventures “Sleigh Ride” from The Ventures' Christmas Album (Sundazed 1965) —Vinyl reissue of their classic 1965 album originally released on the Dolton label.Buy it!
Rosie Thomas “Why Can't It Be Christmastime All Year?” from A Very Rosie Christmas! (Sing-Along 2008) —2008 Rosie Thomas composition with a very catchy chorus.Buy it!
The Flirtations “Christmas Time Is Here Again” from Sounds Like the Flirtations (Deram 1968) —Terrific 1968 R&B b-side of the Nothing But A Heartache single.Buy it!
Anne Tkach & Andy Ploof “Scrooge Converted” (Unreleased 2009) —An excerpt from a Christmas Carol narrated by Anne Tkach with musical accompaniment by Andy Ploof. Produced by Roy Kasten. It pays to have talented friends.Buy it!
Charlie Rich “Santa Claus's Daughter” from The Country Christmas Collection (Mercury) —Recorded for the Smash label in 1965.Buy it!
Elvis Presley “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)” from If Every Day Was Like Christmas (RCA 1994) —Recorded in 1957 with vocal backing by the Jordanaires.Buy it!
George Strait “Christmas Cookies” (MCA NASHVILLE 2001) —1999 song written by Aaron Barker.Buy it!
Paul Franklin “Jingle Bells” from The Christmas Collection (Stigitar) —Pedal steel Christmas instrumental tour de force.Buy it!
Loretta Lynn “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus” from 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: The Best of Loretta Lynn (MCA NASHVILLE 2005) —Written by Loretta Lynn & recorded in 1966.Buy it!
George Jones & Tammy Wynette “Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus” from Christmas Party with Eddie G. (Columbia 1990) —Great duet recorded for Epic in 1971.Buy it!
Faron Young “I'm Gonna Tell Santa Claus On You” from Christmas On the Range (CAPITOL NASHVILLE 1995) —Written by Thelma Blackmon & recorded in 1953.Buy it!
Roy Smeck “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (Bear Family www.bear-family.de 2004) —Recorded in 1954 & found on this disc with 30 versions of Rudolph. That's a lot of bang for your red-nosed buck.Buy it!
Dean Martin “Winter Romance” from Cool December (Shout! Factory 2003) —Originally released in 1959.Buy it!
Allen Toussaint “Winter Wonderland” from A New Orleans Christmas (Valley Entertainment 1997) —1997 instrumental version run through a New Orleans filter.Buy it!
Johnnie Allan “It's Christmas Time In Louisiana” from Merry Cajun Christmas (SWALLOW RECORDS www.swallowrecords.com 1990) —1987 recording made by the New Orleans artist who has been making records since 1958. He still is performing and singing really well.Buy it!
Laura Nyro “Let It Be Me/The Christmas Song” from Cafe Apres-midi Christmas (EMI 2005) —1990 live medley recording of the pop standard & the Christmas standard. Works beautifully.Buy it!
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas “New Year's Resolution” from Soul Christmas (Atlantic 1991) —Sublime soul duet recorded in 1967.Buy it!
Bobby Darin “Christmas Auld Lang Syne” from Under The Mistletoe (Shout! Factory 2003) —"When mistletoe and tinsel glow / Paint a yuletide valentine / Back home I go to those I know / For a Christmas auld lang syne" Recorded in 1960.Buy it!
The Husky Team “Auld Lang Syne” from Christmas in Memphis SINGLE (Confidential 2002) —2002 instrumental combining Auld Lang Syne with Green Onions. Now, that's a way to bring in the New Year!Buy it!
The Coolbreezers “Hello Mr. New Year” from Hipsters' Holiday (Rhino 1989) —Hey, did you think I was really going to end this with anything else? Recorded in 1957. Happy Holidays and here's to a wonderful 2011, everybody!Buy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
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