Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Countdown

Writing on another tangent here. I am guessing that many of us love our holiday music and have a wealth of it to share. My iTunes library now exceeds 275 albums of the season thanks to the ease of digital. (There are still a few gems on vinyl and cassette that I am trying to track down on CD - like Steve & Eydie.) This will be the first of a holiday series counting down some of the best featuring material that might speak to our club. Here is my offering of holiday music for those of us in the cabaret world.

By all means - this does not mean it is my all-time favorites! There are several like classic Andy Williams, a swinging Stan Kenton and the family harmonies of both the Osmonds & Carpenters. But these 12 selections seemed to me to be stripped down a bit, unique, or at least intimate and worth sharing around a fireplace or a cup of cocoa. They have variety and a singular voice. Enjoy them and let me know what you have in your collection.

12) Sting - If On A Winter's Night - whether you like his voice or not, it is instantly recognizable. His album is full of gems that would not be on the top of any regular playlist. Many with a Celt or Folk vibe -  his small rag-tag acoustic band would be at home in a neighborhood coffee shop. Stand outs are the haunting Cold Song and the Hurdy Gurdy Man.

11) Kenny Loggins - December - his songs are connected with musical segues that make it seem like a chamber concert offering. From the opening strains of the wind and piano on Walking on the Air (from the Snowman). To the gentle snowfall of Some Children See Him, it definitely sets a mood for a peaceful and silent December evening.

10) Bette Midler - Cool Yule - you can't deny that the girl has sparkle. Yes there are the slick tunes like the sassy title cut and the camp of her unique take on Mele Kalikemaka. But what she does better than most, is deliver on a lyric. She changes moods as often as she changes her costumes and each seems genuinely her. She is just as comfortable on the simple Merry Christmas or Berlin standard White Christmas. Remarkable too, that this album dates only a few years back and she manages to stay true to herself over decades now.