Christmas Music and Audiophiles?

I personally really enjoy listening to Christmas music. I find that when it's done well it can be better than just about any other types of music. I even listen to it from time to time throughout the year.

Are there any audiophile Christmas Albums that are worthly of your dedicated stereo listening systems or do you only play Christmas music on your whole house systems as background music?

What are you favorites?

One of my personal current favorites is the Canadian Tenors Christmas album. I have five more Christmas CDs on the way to enhance this upcoming season.
Personally, I can't stand the stuff. Bah freakin' humbug!!!!

Don't know if they rank as audiophile buy:

One favorite is The Ray Coniff singers We Wish You A Merry Christmas on Columbia(I only have it on CD).

My parents had it, I loved it then and still do now.

Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Bing Crosby, The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas,MCA/Decca.

Happy Holidays to everyone here!


That's the only thing sucks about Christmas!

Showing up at shopping mall and everywhere listening to that Jingle Bell... Ughhh...
The soona the beta to getoutathere.
Not a big fan but my wife gets more leeway in choosing music around the holidays and she likes it so....Vince Guraldi and Diana Krall are passable but my favorite is Mindy Smith. Nicely done and worth checking out.
Not audiophile but good xmas tunes Merry Axemen or axeman produced by Steve Vi.
Tpreaves - I can't argue with "Bah Humbug" as I get really tired of all the useless stuff that has been confused with the holidays. I would prefer it to be simple. Why does everyone insist on making 4x the amount of food any normal person should be disgusted by?

I recommend the Christmas Can Can by Straight No Chaser to you. You'll enjoy it, try You Tube.
Harry Connick has a great Christmas album, can't remember the name off the top of my head, but the recording quality is pretty decent and the songs are consistently good. Some standards and some New Orleans jazz stompers.
Also, a sentimental favorite for me is the Carpenters Christmas album. It can be a bit cheesy, but the arrangements are well done and Karen never sounded better.
Merry Christmas!
Boy, some of yous are going to be visited by three ghosts.

I would recommend "Christmas with Dino" by the rat packer Dean Martin and Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" the original motion picture soundtrack for the motion picture.

If you are a bit whimsical try "Christmas Island" by Leon Redbone for a bit of island music on the holiday.
(1) The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols, and Ballads for Christmas by Anonymous 4 (Harmonia Mundi SACD); (2) Christmas through the Ages (Hyperion); (3) The Baroque Christmas Album (Archiv); and (4) both Comfort and Joy recordings by Cantus (Stereophile). The sound quality on #3 is not as good as the others, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Okay, I'll amend my post. I do enjoy "Xmas with the Family" by Robert Earl Keen. But, no more than once a day please!!! There, maybe I won't go to hell now!!!
Why is there so much crap Christmas music?

At any rate, may I recommend an LP? Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs MFLS 1-135 "A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra". Oh, I know, Sinatra is not to everyone's taste. But if you enjoy his singing, this one is a must have. Joyeux Noel.
A delightful little CD titled "What if Mozart wrote "Have yourself a merry little Christmas"" by the Hampton String Quartet. Great Christmas music done as string quartets.
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Winter Wonderland are especially nice, no piece over six minutes
The new She & Him-"A Very Special She & Him Christmas" is excellent.
To add to my previous list: The Rose Ensemble "And Glory Shone Around: Early American Carols, Country Dances, Southern Harmony Hymns, and Shaker Spiritual Songs" (2008). There, 6 quick recommendations that sound great, are excellent performances, and don't fall into the "crap Christmas music" category, which I guess means popular nonsense!
More and more good sounding Christmas stuff lately - "The McGarrigle Christmas Hour" is great. Shelby Lynne's is good. Emmylou Harris "light of the stable". Dean Martin's got a good one too. A new favorite of ours is Sloan Wainwright's "On a Night Before Christmas".. She does a great job of Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel! We have the new She and Him - haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.
I'm definitely a fan Christmas music. Kind of like the McRib. It comes around once a year, and those six weeks are about all one can/should take on.

Ditto on Charlie Brown Christmas - should be in any rotation. To round that out, try "The Ultimate Christmas Collection" by the Bryan Setzer Orchestra, "Merry Christmas From The Trailerpark" by Antsy Mclain, "Suzy Snowflake" by Rosemarie Clooney (or the original), "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" by Augie Rios and (more recently), Guster, "Domenick The Italian Christmas Donkey" by Lou Monte, etc. -

For our friends of the Jewish faith and those (like myself) who are (sort of) in spirit, give a listen to "Schlepp The Halls With Loaves of Hallah" by Rabbi Tevye and the Three Weissmen.
Mazel tov, Joe. I'm goin' for that one. Thanks for cool sugggestion!
Haven't read the other responses, so sorry if this is a repeat, but there is a nice CD compilation from Blue Note called Yule Struttin' Christmas.
Christina Aguilera's Christmas CD, Mariah Carey's Christmas CD and Rosemary Clooney's Christmas CD. These are the best of the best Christmas albums and the best that these ladies have to offer.
Vanessa Williams - Star Bright
James Taylor - At Christmas
Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration
Yo-Yo Ma - Songs of Joy and Peace

Ditto on Charlie Brown Christmas, esp the hi-res version

It's a bit kitschy but Mannheim Steamroller Christmas and Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops Christmas record - I only have the vinyl - are great fun.
Man, "Christmas at the Patti", does it for me.
It seems a little early for the annual Christmas Music thread . . . but I love Christmas music - but only for the few days surrounding Christmas day. I'm not much of a fan of the usual pop songs (jingle bells, etc), instead I prefer the more religious songs even though I'm not very religious.

Some of my favorites include Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Windham Hill - "Carols of Christmas", "GRP Christmas Collection", "Majesty of Christmas" (Pipe Organ/Choir), and yes Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Nutcracker on Mercury Living Presence 35mm

Christmas Pops Living Stereo

Moody Blues December
I agree with Robert Earl Keen.
But my favorites are the Christmas albums by Leon Readbone and John Prine.
THE MANY MOODS OF CHRISTMAS - Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orch & Chorus.
Cantate Domino by Oscar Motet.

Goosebump vocals
I love classics, hate just about any newer attempts at X-Mas music. I do like "Xmas with the Family" might be the only exemption. Especially hate that countrified tune about a kid buying shoes for his dying mommy. I will pass on the sob rag, pass me the barf bag.
I always get a kick out of Jaymz Bee's "A Christmas Cocktail".
Now that I'm thinkin' about it, the Pogues "Fairytale of New York" from their album "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" begins:

"It was Christmas in the drunk tank......" And kind of goes down hill from there. Probably my favorite.
Like a McRib! LOL! Now that's funny! :)

In keeping with the seasonal schmaltz I offer some offbeat collections:

Another Kind of Christmas (Alternative tunes put to traditional songs)

Christmas On The Border (Tex Blues and Salsa meets Christmas)

The Edge of Christmas (an ecclectic mix including David Bowie and Bing Crosby's duet, Cocteau Twins, etc.)

For those who wish to delve deeper into the Christian/Biblical tradition of Christmas I offer:

The Final Word and The Gift both by Michael Card
I like "Stille Nacht" from the Cantate Domino.
Always gets to me.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Chip Davis with any of the Mannheim Steamroller collection.
pop songs in which the word 'Christmas" is uttered a few times, is not Christmas music. Christmas music celebrates the birth of Christ.
Dr. John singing "Silent Night" on the Dr. John plays Mac Rebennac CD. Incredible music and sound. I was able to find two sealed copies on vinyl, but Silent Night is only on the CD. Christmas or no, pick up this CD.
Capitol records ultra lounge Christmas series sounds great and don't forget Esquevel did a Christmas record as well.
'Dr. John singing "Silent Night" on the Dr. John plays Mac Rebennac CD. Incredible music and sound.'

Listened to a clip on amazon. Guess I just don't get this one. He said the words to Silent Night, but other than that, it has nothing in common with the song. He could have been singing about his woman leaving him, and it would have sounded similar. Wasn't very good Dr John either.
You want good Christmas songs by Pop / Jazz artists? Try Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis.
Some Christmas music celebrates the birth of Christ. Some Christmas songs are about Santa, snowmen, sleigh rides, chestnuts, mistletoe, mutant reindeer, elves, bells...
Blkadr has it right with respect to contemporary Christmas music though lately it seems like Christmas muzak offerings are heavily weighted towards Santa Fraud and his ilk. My personal Christmas music preference is certainly for that celebrating the birth of the Christ.
Blkadr, "Especially hate that countrified tune about a kid buying shoes for his dying mommy. I will pass on the sob rag, pass me the barf bag."

Amen, brother! You've got to get some serious consideration for post of the year with that one.

Excellent suggestion, Marty. The Pogues and Kirsty McColl do a wonderful job with that song.

Anyone for "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis" from Tom Waits?
Wanted to chime in once again...

I love the soundtrack to White Christmas, love the film too.

Any Nutcracker except, sorry Bdgregory, TSO.


My two favorites of the last few years are Diana Krall's and Jethro Tull's Christmas albums. Both very good and very listenable.
Picked up Yo-Yo Ma - Songs of Joy and Peace based on the recommendation but have not had a chance to listen to it yet. That recommendation also led me to get Yo-Yo Ma's new Goat Rodeo album. I put it on in the car and can't wait to hear it on my system.

I'll admit to liking the Christmas shoe song. We also have a local Christmas song called Christmas in the Northwest that's pretty decent.
Two compilation albums:" Blue Yule" by some of the masters of the blues and "Jingle Bell Jazz" .. as the name implies

Also enjoy the yearly spinning of the complete "Nutcracker" ballet and of course "Charlie Brown Christmas" LP
Rok2id - If you don't like that record, there ain't no cure.
I like Dr John, He is one of my favorites from Nawlins. Check out his 'Dis, Dat or da udder.' I just never developed a taste for pop/rock Christmas Music. But variety is what makes it all so wondeful.
Actually, I grew up with DJ, but I always found his music too raucous when he played with bands. Mac Rebennac is solo piano and shows his, what I think is unbelievable virtuosity with this style. Plus, it was recorded by Dean Roumanis on a Mark Levinson audio system, so the recording is superb. I really think you should reconsider, even if you don't like Silent Night. Isn't it nice to actually discuss music? That's what we should be talking about.
Guess I will have to give it another listen. I plan to place an order from Amazon again tonight, so I might just have it soon. :) 'The Bright Mississippi' by Allen Toussaint and 'Marsalis and Clapton Play the blues' are two excellent CDs also. A real Gem I found by accident is Aaron Neville's "warm your Heart". Gotta love that New Orleans sound. I am always on the lookout for new thanks for the tip.
Today another three new Christmas CDs arrived: Il Divo, Faith Hill, and Celtic Woman. So far Il Divo is a great CD, but I prefer the sound/style of the Canadian Tenors. Faith Hill sounds great other than the first song sounded a bit hollow. Celtic Woman is expect it to be another classic Christmas CD, but I really enjoy their voices.
A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert-Kathleen Battle-Wynton Marsalis. Carpenters-Christmas Portrait. Both recordings are worthy of year round listening.
Always a personal highlight of the holidays, each year the University of Pennsylvania's radio station, WXPN, puts on a 24 hour show of quirky holiday music. Incredibly cool. I encourage anyone who appreciates the music enumerated in this thread to check it out.

I'll bump this when we get closer to the big day...