When we were looking for someone to guide us through the cream of the festive cannon, there reall was only one option – Peter Richard Adams of Hey You Guys!, And What Will Be Left of Them? and a host of other Joyzine favourites. A man so embued with the spirit of the season that he and his wife have released three Christmas albums over the past three years as Peter With Rosie, the latest of which, Advent, is available now on Bandcamp.
I love Christmas. I really do. In general I’m an atheist but put a loaded cracker to my head on Christmas Eve and ask me what I believe and I’ll be on my knees praising the baby Jesus faster than you can open a present.
So I thought it might be fun to give the readers of Joyzine a Christmas album listening list. There’s good. There’s bad. There’s goddamn ugly. But it’s Christmas, and if you can’t enjoy complete crap at the same time as sublime beauty then get the hell out of my dojo.
Merry Christmas and God save us every one.
Tuesday 1 December
The Young Tradition with Shirley and Dolly Collins: ‘The Holly Bears the Crown (1969)
Let’s start this off with some style. Recorded at the end of the 60s, I’m pretty sure this would have yielded at least a couple of festive staples had it not sat on a shelf until 1995. Ahhh who am I kidding, this is a folk album, some of these songs were staples for hundreds of years before Mud came along.
STANDOUT SONG: The Cherry Tree Carol
Wednesday 2 December
Weezer: ‘Christmas With Weezer’ (2008)
An EP rather than a full album, so a bit of a cheat, but well worthy of inclusion despite the fact that it was recorded in the era that also brought us ‘Raditude’. It’s respectful of tradition yet rocks like, well, Weezer.
STANDOUT TRACK: O Come All Ye Faithful
Thursday 3 December
Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler – ‘This is Christmas’ (2011)
What do you get when you mix two of modern indie pop’s greats plus a no holds barred approach to throwing everything festive into the mix? You get ‘This is Christmas’ and it’s fantasic.
STANDOUT TRACK: Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)
Friday 4 December
William Shatner – Shatner Claus (2018)
It’s Friday night so let’s have some fun! It’s quite possible this is just so horrible that I’m constantly drawn back to it to see what fresh horrendousness I can uncover. All the same, there’s a perverse joy in Shatner teaming up with Henry Rollins to essentially massacre Jingle Bells.
STANDOUT SONG: Jingle Bells – Punk Rock Version
Saturday 5 December
The Ventures – Christmas Album (1965)
What better way to get into the party mood on the first Christmas Saturday than some good old instrumentalising from America’s answer to The Shadows? Part perfection, part pure mess of material – just like a Christmas dinner.
STANDOUT SONG: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Sunday 6 December
11:47 – Christmas Eve for Piano (2019)
Sunday is a time for peace and tranquillity, and there are few albums as peaceful and tranquil as this record. It’s also exceptionally short.
STANDOUT SONG: A House Sleeps On Christmas Eve
Monday 7 December
The Muppets – The Muppets’ Christmas Carol (1992)
Mondays are rubbish, no matter what the season – so let’s perk things up with the soundtrack to the most respectful rendering of Dickens’ work ever committed to celluloid.
STANDOUT SONG: It Feels Like Christmas
Tuesday 8 December
Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957)
Is it too early to deploy Elvis? Possibly it is… but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a healthy dollop of Americanisation – so it’s time for the King to get carolling.
STANDOUT SONG: Blue Christmas
Wednesday 9 December
Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart (2009)
From one great American music man to another… Is it a joke? A desperate cry for help? Or just the sound made by someone of advancing years who doesn’t give a damn what you think and wants to keep Christmas in his heart? The jury may be out forever.
STANDOUT SONG: Here Comes Santa Claus
Thursday 10 December
Star Wars – Christmas in the Stars (Star Wars Christmas)
A completely ridiculous, yet completely enjoyable romp with C3PO and R2D2 on a hunt for… oh I can’t be bothered to explain it. Just give it a spin and be amazed that it was ever created in the first place.
STANDOUT SONG: What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas – When He Already Owns A Comb?