The Christmas album of your dreams > 25 songs to fill a CD

It’s Christmastime. Time to release a holiday album, that is. This season’s list includes such easy-listening choices as James Taylor at Christmas and Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong, the big hit of the bunch, as well as convivial outings from out-of-the-blue sources such as hair-metal band Twisted Sister, Parliament funkateer Bootsy Collins, and rapper Jim Jones.

The song list that follows fills up one CD with recommended revelries. All songs are either brand-new or chestnuts available on 2006 reissues. Everything’s available on iTunes, except where noted.

1.”The Winter Solstice,” Sufjan Stevens. Evocative instrumental from the wunderkind behind the 50 States project comes from Songs for Christmas (Asthmatic Kitty), a budget-priced, five-CD, 35-song box that’s this year’s stocking-stuffer standout.

2.”White Christmas,” Bing Crosby. Der Bingle, arranged by Nelson Riddle, off Christmas Classics (Capitol).

3. “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” Dean Martin. One suspects that a hot toddy also helped the effortless crooner heat up. From Christmas With the Rat Pack (Capitol).

4. “A Great Big Sled,” The Killers. Over-the-top Las Vegans climb aboard with Santa for this iTunes single. Proceeds go to Bono’s RED campaign to fight disease in Africa.

5. “Winter Wonderland,” Aretha Franklin. Vintage ‘Retha, available on the inevitable Rachael Ray’s How Cool Is That Christmas (Sony).

6. “Up on the Housetop,” Jackson 5. Preadolescent Michael leads his brothers in pleading their case with Saint Nick. On the hit-or-miss Now That’s What I Call Christmas, Vol. 3 (Strategic Marketing).

7. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” James Taylor. Sweet Baby James does justice to the bittersweet classic, from James Taylor at Christmas (Columbia).

8. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Ellis Marsalis. Crescent City jazz patriarch tickles the ivories on this jaunty instrumental. From New Orleans Christmas (Putomayo).

9. “Santa’s Second Line,” New Birth Brass Band. Kris Kringle gets Big Easy funeral party treatment. Also from New Orleans Christmas.

10. “Wish List,” Jim Jones. Harlem rapper brings the real, wonders if it’s “the proper way to spend the holidays / Locked down upstate a hundred miles away?” From A Dipset Christmas (Koch).

11.”Merry Christmas Baby,” Bootsy Collins. The P-Funk bass man has a funkalicious way with Charles Brown’s classic. “I haven’t had a drink this morning / But I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree.” From the delectable Christmas Is 4 Ever (Shout Factory).

12. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Twisted Sister. Dee Snider brings heavy metal thunder on A Twisted Christmas (Razor & Tie). Amusing in small doses.

13. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” Wynonna Judd. Country belter plays it straight on the solid A Classic Christmas (Curb).

14. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Rhonda Vincent. Brenda Lee goes bluegrass. From Beautiful Star: A Christmas Collection (Rounder).

15. “Jingle Bells,” Brad Paisley. Underrated axman cuts loose on honky-tonk instrumental, from the top-notch Brad Paisley’s Christmas (Arista).

16. “Christmas All Over the World,” Sammy Davis Jr. Holiday kitsch, with a multilingual children’s chorus. From Christmas With the Rat Pack.

17. “(It’s Good to Be) A Jew at Christmas,” Good for the Jews. “It’s clear we’re the chosen ones / We get eight nights, you only get one.” Humorous duo play the Tin Angel tonight. www.myspace.com/goodforthejews.

18. “Christmas Morning,” Loudon Wainwright III. Rufus’ dad takes a contemplative look around at a world where “there is sand, there are camels, but where are the wise men?” From Midwinter, an estimable four-CD set on the British Free Reed label.

19. “Cool Yule,” Bette Midler. The Divine Miss M sashays through Steve Allen-penned big-band title cut of her seasonal CD (Columbia).

20. “River,” Sarah McLachlan. Sorrowful thrush expresses disconsolate solidarity with fellow Canuck composer Joni Mitchell. On Wintersong (Arista).

21. “Christmas Light,” the dBs. Indie-rock heroes return with an expanded version of the 1986 holiday gem, Christmas Time Again (Collector’s Choice).

22. “Christmastime,” Aimee Mann. Adult alternative heroine sings hubby Michael Penn’s song, from the predictably melancholy and pleasurable One More Drifter in the Snow (Superego).

23. “Get Behind Me, Santa!” Sufjan Stevens. A horn-happy, hand-clapping play on the satanic title of the last White Stripes album spreads good cheer.

24. “I Believe,” Frank Sinatra. The Chairman keeps the faith, swings hard. From Christmas With the Rat Pack.

25. “My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year),” Peggy Lee. No Auld Land Syne, please. Fond wishes for a healthy and happy 2007, from Christmas With Peggy Lee (Capitol).

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One Response to “The Christmas album of your dreams > 25 songs to fill a CD”

  1. giaote

    I’d like 25 famous songs