Thursday, December 16, 2004

CONTINUING MY "TOP TEN" CHRISTMAS MUSIC CD LIST. In addition to the previously posted five Christmas CD projects that capture my imagination and appreciation (posted December 7th), here are five more...though I have no preferential ranking within the top ten. You're welcome tell me your favorites via the "Comment" option.

The previous five were:
10. Windham Hill: A Winter Solstice Reunion
9. Bethlehem After Dark: Butch Thompson and Laura Sewell
8. Gary Hoey: the Best of Ho! Ho! Hoey (Christmas surf!)
7. Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration
6. Now It Is Christmas Again: Garrison Keillor and the PHC crew

5. Michael W. Smith: Christmastime. For those who like contemporary Christian music and the MWS style, this is rich. I can only listen to MWS for a short while. Why does CCM have such a need to blast and over-embellish?

4. KiHo’Alu Christmas: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. 1996, Dancing Cat Records (distributed by Windham Hill Records). Unplugged. Very smooth. I checked this out of the library last week; a great find. How can folks who’ve never seen snow so wonderfully distill the essence of the season?

3. Manheim Steamroller Christmas projects. I enjoy all of these CDs from American Gramaphone. Since 1984, Chip Davis has single-handedly invigorated instrumental Christmas music for our generation with six distinctive CDs.

2. Elvis’ Christmas Album. 1957, RCA. Acclaimed by pop music critics everywhere, this predates several later Christmas music projects by the king. This is pure, early, simple, soulful Elvis.

1. Ray Charles: The Spirit of Christmas. 1997, Rhino Records (CD of record made released in 1985). This is classic Ray Charles. Charles’ more recent project receives rave reviews, though I have not yet heard/seen it. It is a DVD called “Ray Charles Celebrates a Gospel Christmas,” released in 2003. It must be great, it is back-ordered almost everywhere. Have you seen "Ray?" What do you think?

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