14 December: Clarence Carter: Back Door Santa

Published December 14, 2016

Time for something soul-y with a touch of the blues - or is it blues-y with a touch of soul? You be the judge as Clarence Carter sings 'Back Door Santa', first heard on a single released in 1968.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

13 December: Andy Williams: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Published December 13, 2016

To me, 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' by Andy Williams, with its jubilant jazz-waltz arrangement, sounds like the promise of the wonders of the holiday season. Christmas doesn't always live up to that promise, but that doesn't mean you can't let yourself be swept away in dreams about it for a few minutes.

The song was first issued in 1963 on The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

12 December: Davitt Sigerson: It's A Big Country

Published December 12, 2016

Davitt Sigerson's 'It's A Big Country' was first released on ZE Records' 1981 Christmas album. Although the arrangement isn't especially Christmas-y it's still a great song about the problems of living in a vast continent like America where your friends and relatives might not be as near to you as you'd like during the holiday season.

Listen on Youtube or Spotify.

11 December: Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra: The Christmas Song Cha Cha

Published December 11, 2016

This year's Advent Calendar kicked off with a cha cha, so after yesterday's somewhat doleful ballad, let's perk things up with another cha cha. I'm sure this arrangement wasn't what Mel Tormé had in mind when he wrote the melody for this song, but it's great all the same.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

10 December: Frank Sinatra: Whatever Happened To Christmas?

Published December 10, 2016

I love the songwriter Jimmy Webb and have compiled my own 3-CD box set of my favourite songs of his. One of the tracks on it is this 1968 recording by Frank Sinatra of 'Whatever Happened To Christmas?', which I believe is the original version. It was released on the album The Sinatra Family Wish You A Merry Christmas that same year, which also features performances by Frank's children.

I seem to remember reading an interview with Jimmy Webb where he told the story of having dinner with Frank Sinatra to discuss the recording of an entire album of Webb songs. But Webb's father was also there, and Sinatra and daddy Webb got caught up in comparing memories from their younger days, so the discussion about the album, and indeed the album itself, never happened. What an anecdote!

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

09 December: The Mills Brothers: Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town

Published December 09, 2016

Some truly great singing from The Mills Brothers in today's Advent Calendar post. The song is very familiar but their swingtastic version, from their 1959 album Merry Christmas, may not be. I dare you not to tap your foot when you hear this.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

08 December: The Glad Singers: Good King Wenceslas

Published December 08, 2016

Enough with the rockers of the past two days of Advent Calendar posts. Here are the incomparable Glad Singers with their swinging interpretation of 'Good King Wenceslas'. Utterly irresistible.

Listen here.

(An earlier Glad Singers Advent Calendar tune is here.)


07 December: Nick Lowe: Christmas At The Airport

Published December 07, 2016

I don't go to many concerts these days, but I do read the reviews from time to time. Nick Lowe performed here in Stockholm the other night and one of the reviews highlighted his 'Christmas At The Airport', originally released on his 2013 album Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family, which I knew of but hadn't bothered checking out. What a lovely recording! And the video is cute too.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.














06 December: Bob Seger & The Last Heard: Sock It To Me Santa

Published December 06, 2016

Let's up the energy levels a bit in today's (tonight's) advent calendar post. Here's some Detroit rock from half a century ago with Bob Seger & The Last Heard: Sock It To Me Santa. Play loud or not at all.

(If the Youtube link above doesn't work, try Spotify.)



05 December: The Hollyridge Strings: Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock

Published December 05, 2016

Why did anyone bother going to free-form jazzers and LSD-soaked psychedelic rock bands in their search for wild experimentation and mind-blowing avant-garde musical experiments? Didn't they realise that it was already there to be explored in the so-called easy-listening music beloved by the suburbia they so desperately wanted to escape from? Just listen to this frankly insane medley of 'Jingle Bells' and 'Jingle Bell Rock' as performed by The Hollyridge Strings on their 1965 album Christmas Favorites.