Here's a couple of music recommendations to keep you dancing while you stoke your barbecue fires during this holiday season. I know that most of these aren't new, and you may or may not have heard them before, but take a listen. If you're like me, you'll enjoy them.
First up is the Alligator Records Christmas Album. I love this blues inspired Christmas album. It's fun, not sappy and a different take on the traditional holiday music.
Artists include: Charlie Musselwhite, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, The Uppity Blues Women, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Kenny Neal, Koko Taylor and many others.
Next - let's switch to the totally other end of the spectrum, take a listen to The Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale. Here's the version of the Little Drummer Boy you remember. Listen to the soaring vocals and choirs. Listen to the white guys trying to put soul into Go Tell It On the Mountain.
This is the Christmas album I grew up listening to. Very slick, very well produced and to me, just drips with Christmas and sentimentality. But it's still the album I listen to after the kids are in bed and it's just me, a beer and watching the lights of the Christmas tree.
And what's Christmas without a new Beatles CD? This year it's Love. The remix and mashup of just about every Beatles song for the new Circus De Solie act in Las Vegas. I don't know how I feel about this CD. On one hand, it's great to have some new Beatles music. On the other, it reminds me a lot of the old "Stars on 45" remix of the Beatles hits which always bothered me.
I wish the Beatles would get off their royal asses and just remix and reissue the original CDs. There's snippets in the Love album where you hear the cleaned up version of a song and just marvel at it's clarity, beauty and strength. Listening to George singing Something is a new and moving experience. Apple has promised digital versions of the whole Beatle catalog. How long do we have to wait?