Yep. It's getting to be that time of year. Terrestrial radio started playing Christmas music on November 13 here in Chicago. Way too early, in my opinion. Especially when they play the same 10 songs every hour.
Last year, Vinyl Voyage went all Christmas for a week in what we called "Christmas Music that Doesn't Suck." Get ready, the "2nd Annual Christmas Music that Doesn't Suck" is just around the corner.
Over the last several weeks, I've been scouring the local thrift stores for Christmas vinyl goodies. This year, we are adding a few more to the rotation that now exceeds 450 songs. That's a lot of Christmas music. I read last year that the local terrestrial radio station that plays Christmas music has only 150 songs or so on their playlist. And it is painfully apparent.
New this year:
I can't believe I didn't have this album: The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait. This album came out in 1978 and features the oft-heard, "Merry Christmas Darling." But it has some other great tunes as well, including several instrumentals. Nothing beats the voice of Karen Carpenter, in my opinion.
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. This is a fun album, with some silly renditions of Christmas favorites, plus some serious tunes as well. I love the Muppet take on "Christmas is Coming."
Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers: We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Nothing says early 60s like Ray Conniff. This was one of the best selling albums of 1962.
Narada: The Christmas Collection, from 1988. This I just picked up the other day. Narada, of course, was the New Age label founded in 1983. The popularity of this album spawned other volumes of Christmas music in later years, all of which were released on CD. This is the only Christmas album that was released on both vinyl and cd. This is mostly synthesized music and the instrumentation is very 1980s. In what was cutting edge at the time, one song boasts of being played on a "Macintosh computer with Mark of the Unicorn Performer 2.0 software." Another song is played on a Commodore 64. Hey, I had one of those computers in the 80s, too!
Plus, I have many, many more. Mostly compilation albums. Back in the 60s and 70s, department stores sold Christmas albums. Firestone was one of the first. True Value was another. I Found a Montgomery Ward Christmas album the other day.
More to come. I am hoping to get that playlist over 500 songs. We will go all Christmas music for a week starting Friday, December 20, 2013.