Christmas albums are, for the most part, shit. It’s a fact, and it’s a testimony to the amount of romantic slushy good-will in the air that people releasing them aren’t marched through the streets, tarred, feathered and dumped in a municipal waste disposal skip.
Every now and again, a genius christmas record happens. Fairytale Of New York, for example – possibly the greatest christmas record of all time. Another contender for that title is ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell, also a front-runner in the ‘most miserable christmas song of all time’, it’s a really really beautiful song, and one of the few JM songs that don’t sound really daft when someone else has a go at them.
As indeed James Taylor has! Yay – click here to download his version of River – I might have to get the rest of his Christmas record – if anyone can do unashamed sentimentality without it being mawkish, it’s JT.
Failing that, I’ll do what I’ve done for about the last 10 christmases and let Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Christmas’ album be my only Christmas CD, along with an MP3 of ‘Fairytale…’ – if you can get it, the greatest ever performance of a Christmas song is the version of ‘Cry Of A Tiny Babe’ by Bruce Cockburn, recorded live on the Columbia Radio Hour, with Roseanne Cash and Lou Reed guesting. Lou completely ignores the tune, the meter, everything, and Bruce nearly pisses himself laughing, but holds it together to sing. It’s magique! Yes, Paul, it’s even better than that Wombles christmas record you posted on the forum. It’s that good ;o)
I used to own the GRP christmas album, but you can refer to my first sentence on this blog for my opinion on that one…by