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10 Top Christmas CDs You May Not Have Heard

November 20, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the best Christmas music is country but there are many Christmas albums by other artists that are outstanding. Here’s my list of the best Christmas albums to share with you. Some will be familiar; others won’t but are worth a listen!

Jim Reeves “12 songs of Christmas ” is such a tradition for our family it just isn’t Christmas without this playing in the background. Jim Reeves was gone much too early but this Christmas album is a classic of songs that he made his own. “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” have been covered by many but his telling of Old Christmas Card and “C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S” are songs that capture the beauty and meaning of the season. His version of “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’ is among the best I’ve heard anyone sing it.

Ian Mitchell – “The Gift” is a rockin’ up beat celebration of Christmas with traditional messages from the season. Starting right off with “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” there’s several guests appearing on the CD. “White Christmas” gets a “sitting around the piano” feel while “Amazing Grace” and “Oh Holy Night” are incredible renditions. “Coz It’s Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” will get the toes tapping. There’s a bonus for New Year with “Auld Lang Syne.” This CD was recorded to help build a church, and there is good music for helping. For those who think the name sounds familiar – Ian was part of Rosetta Stone and, before that, the 1970s band the Bay City Rollers. This is an outstanding Christmas CD that shows the talent that has always been there.

Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas To You” delivers some traditional classics in a way that only Reba can deliver along with a few ‘new’ ones that for me are uniquely Reba’s. One of these is “On This Day” which sets the Christmas story to music. “The Christmas Guest” is a highlight reminder not all is as it seems. Another highlight is “Happy Birthday Jesus (I’ll Open This One Just For You)” where it’s a light hearted look at the meaning of the season. Traditional favorites like “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Silent Night” are treats as is the Christmas Letter of wanting what we can’t seem to have.

Garth Brooks – Beyond The Season offers some outstanding music as well as the message of the season, Christmas stories and tradition. Some highlights – “The Gift,” “Friendly Beasts” and “Mary’s Dream.” This is an older CD and may take some effort to find but is worth the effort!

George Strait “Merry Christmas Strait To You” has highlights of “There’s a New Kid In Town” “For Christ’s Sake, It’s Christmas” and “What a Merry Christmas This Could Be.” There’s covers of “Winter Wonderland and “Frosty The Snowman” and a distinctly George Strait sound on “Merry Christmas Strait To You.” A nice collection of Christmas music that includes the light hearted “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas.” Worth a listen!

The Carpenters Christmas Portrait is an oldie but is worth another listen. Classic sounds, classic songs, deep in tradition it brings up memories of the Christmas specials they once did in the mid ’70s. It also brings forth Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice, silenced far too soon, for those who remember her and introduces her to those who haven’t heard her. Along with several unique adaptations of traditional favorites such as “Sleigh Ride” “Christmas Song” and ‘O Holy Night” it’s this album we first heard Karen’s classic rendition of “Merry Christmas Darling” – a song that for me will always be hers alone.

Sawyer Brown “Hallelujah He Is Born” is just fun. While a serious message in many of the songs, fitting of the season. “Sweet Mary Cried,” “Where Christmas Goes,” “Christmas All year Long” and “He Sent A Carpenter” are songs that pay tribute to the holiday with a distinct Sawyer Brown sound. Too often overlooked these guys are an incredible talent and this cd highlights it at their finest. This isn’t just a good Christmas cd – it’s a good cd period.

Kenny Rogers has a few Christmas CD offerings but “The Gift” is a favorite. There’s a montage of familiar favorites but a list of unique songs like “Pretty Little Baby Child” “I Trust You” and “It’s The Messiah.” This is the CD that highlights with Wynonna “Mary, Did You Know?” and a powerful song “A Soldier’s King”. He’s a legend for a reason and this CD highlights a reason why.

Randy TravisOld Time Christmas” is another older CD but it has held up as a solid CD. “Old Time Christmas” “White Christmas Makes Me Blue” and “Pretty Paper” get the Randy Travis treatment and sound so good. Other highlights include “Oh, What a Silent Night” and “How Do I Wrap My Heart Up For Christmas.”

Alabama’s Christmas CD is rich in the tones of the legendary band Alabama in songs like “Santa Claus (I Still Believe),” “Joseph and Mary’s Boy,” “Christmas Memories,” “Tonight Is Christmas” and the tale of “Thistlehair the Christmas Bear.” It is the CD that holds the memorable Alabama songs “Tennessee Christmas” and “Christmas in Dixie.”

These offer some outstanding performances of Christmas songs without being the same songs. Many have released Christmas CDs but these are favorites for the songs, the performances, the memories.

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