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The Christmas Song Thread


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Obviously, there's a general "canon" of sorts of certain Christmas songs that are played every year, without fail, to the point where it's even given rise to the cultural quirk that is Whamageddon.

But I've discovered a fair few songs that I've added to my own personal Christmas playlist that I think are tremendous, and also sometimes sing at Christmas gigs. Hence, I would like to share some of them, and also like to hear what discoveries you've made - whether they're originals, or tremendous covers of classics.

With that in mind:

Stan Rodgers - At Last, I'm Ready For Christmas


I came to love Stan Rogers' work a couple of years ago, when a friend played me some of his songs, Barrett's PrivateersThe Northwest Passage and The Mary Ellen Carter. He was kind of a big deal in Canada for a while, and was even considered the unofficial "Bard of Canada" by a fair number of Canadians, to the point where The Northwest Passage was even voted as Canada's unofficial national anthem in a poll a while ago. Sadly, he was killed in his early 30s in an aeroplane fire in 1983.

Anyway, he was known for his superb, unique voice, and his evocative lyrics. I only found At Last, I'm Ready For Christmas this season - honestly don't know how I missed this gem:

Last Boxing Day the wife went out the “White Sales” for to see,
In trunk-load lots bought half-price paper and tinsel for the tree.
I packed it up for use this year in a box I marked so plain.
That stuff would sure be handy now, but it’s never been seen again!

At last I’m ready for Christmas, I’ve even finished the tree,
At last I’m ready for Christmas, like I thought I’d never be!
With my feet propped up by a good hot fire and a matching inside glow;
At last I’m ready for Christmas, with nearly two hours to go!

We swore this year we’d start off early, no need to rush around;
The intention was to start in August when the prices still were down!
But it was dentist-this and new bike-that and the money melts away;
So I had to wait for Christmas bonus and did it all yesterday!

We must be fools, just look at that pile, you can hardly see the tree!
We said this year we’d keep things simple, then did our usual spree.
But it feels so good when the kids go nuts! It’s worth the toil and strain.
These kids are only this young once and they’ll never be so again.


Kate Rusby

A singer I'd heard about, but only got round to listening to a couple of years ago as well. She's from Yorkshire, and so often cites a lot of Yorkshire traditions as influences on her work and style. Every year she does a big Christmas gig - I went to her performance at the Barbican last year, and it was fun and charming.

One of the Yorkshire influences she cites is the custom of tavern carolling, where everybody sings songs in pubs to musical, usually brass band, accompaniment. These often lead to variations in well-known classics. Two of these, I've posted below, as I think they're lovely; these are amongst my favourite songs to sing at gigs in particular. Her version of Here We Come A-Wassailing is, for me, the best I've ever heard.

Kate Rusby - Here We Come A-Wassailing



Kate Rusby - Sweet Bells



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Superb shouts already - love the Low Christmas album!

I always used to DJ Christmas Eve, so finding fun stuff to play became a bit of an obsession, even if I knew my mate was always going to top it with Wombling Merry Christmas and the Goodies' "Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me".

Anyway, some that have been in steady rotation for years;

The Kinks - Father Christmas


Joey Ramone - Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)

My favourite cover of what, to me, is the all-time best Christmas song.

Billy Childish - Christmas 1979


It ain't a BomberPat family Christmas without me, my brother and his missus singing "MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL" at some point over the festive period.

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This cover of 'Walking In The Air' by The Maccabees is sublime, and I'm real glad I found it because the original is impossible to play without sucking the actual air out of a Christmas playlist.

Fancy a bit of wanky indie rock this Christmas? 'I Wish It Was Christmas Today' by Julian Casablancas is right up your street then! Lovely stuff.

Christmas and down-beat, loney ass songs go hand in hand. That's why 'TV Christmas' by D.I.D (formerly known as Dog Is Dead) is up there with my Christmas faves.

Nothing beats a real oldie though when it comes to festive tunes, and "Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby" by Amos Milburn is a hidden gem. The sexiest Christmas you'll ever have!

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