Christmas carols

Look now for glad and golden hours …

Angels We Have Heard on High,” Sixpence None the Richer
Away in a Manger,” Mindy Smith
The First Noel,” Sarah McLachlan
Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Oh Susanna
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Pedro the Lion
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” Sam Phillips
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” Feist
O Holy Night,” Avril Lavigne & Chantal Kreviazuk
O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Belle & Sebastian
Silent Night,” Evan Dando

Now that the mall has stopped playing them, the church can start singing them.

These aren’t the only 10 Christmas carols in my collection. Or the best 10. But these are 10 good ones for which I could find YouTube links.

The Sam Phillips’ version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” comes from the 1992 movie A Midnight Clear, based on the William Wharton book, and I recommend all three if you like things in a melancholy minor key.

I usually do, which is why “O Little Town of Bethelehem” is one of my favorite carols, but the rendition of it linked above, by Belle & Sebastian, is a departure from that, sounding more like something to be played in a ballroom on New Year’s Eve than at a midnight service the week before. But I maintain the melancholy/upbeat balance in the list above by also including David Bazan’s “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

  • hidden_urchin

    For “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” there is no better, in my opinion, than Annie Lennox.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaWQGX_qKWg

  • christopher_y

    Steeleye Span: Gaudete

  • ReverendRef

    On the sixth day of Christmas  . . . we will have a service of Christmas Lessons & Carols.  The first Sunday after Christmas is traditionally the time for this service for the simple reason that the priest has been too busy with Christmas Eve & Day to work on a sermon for the following Sunday.

    Our list (without any linkage because, yeah, me and technology) includes:

    Angels from the realms of Glory
    O little town of Bethlehem
    Good Christian friends, rejoice
    The snow lay on the ground
    Of the Father’s love begotten
    Hark! the herald angels sing

  • Amaryllis

    These aren’t the only 10 Christmas carols in my collection. Or the best
    10. But these are 10 good ones for which I could find YouTube links.

    Sounds like a plan.

    E la don don – Choir of Uppsala
    I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – The Civil Wars*
    In dulci jubilo -King’s COllege Cambridge
    Joyful Mysteries – L’Ensemble Choral du bout du monde
    Noel Nouvelet – Anuna
    Nowell Sing We – Oxford Camerata
    Sherburne (while Shepherd Watched) – Boston Camerata
    Sir Christemas – Winchester Cathedral Choir
    The Sussex Carol – King’s College Cambridge
    The Wexford Carol – Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss*

    * Slight deviations from the general theme of choral carols, I’m not sure one or two voices counts as a choir, but they’re cool.

  • lowtechcyclist

    Now that the mall has stopped playing them, the church can start singing them.

    Your mall plays actual Christmas carols??  All I hear when I’m shopping is the non-carol Christmas songs – “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and so forth.

    IMHO, it wouldn’t cause the Earth to stop spinning on its axis if certain liturgical churches threw in the towel and sang Christmas hymns during Advent.

    I’ll second ReverendRef on the oft-overlooked “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” which has long been one of my favorites.  And definitely a winning move, having the Lessons and Carols service on the Sunday after Christmas.

    And no mention of Christmas carols would be complete without a shout-out to the joys of ballad meter, the oft-used meter that allows the words of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “O Christmas Tree,” among other Christmas songs, to be sung to each others’ tunes.

    And if we want to reach beyond Christmas carols, we can add “Amazing Grace,” “House of the Rising Sun,” the “Gilligan’s Island” theme, “Auld Lang Syne,” “Yellow Rose of Texas,” “America the Beautiful,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and (with some minor adjustments) the Mickey Mouse Club theme song, among many others.

    Also, the vast majority of Emily Dickinson poems are in ballad meter as well, a fact I learned from xkcd – see the mouseover text and forum discussion for #788.

  • aunursa

    On the Twelfth Day of Chanukah my true love gave to me…

    Twelve tribes of Israel,
    Eleven stars in Joseph’s dream,
    Ten Commandments,
    Nine festivals,
    Eight lights of Chanukah,
    Seven days of the week,
    Six days of Creation,
    FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES,
    Four Mothers of Israel,
    Three Patriarchs,
    Two Tables of the Covenant,
    And one God of the world!

    It’s the lyrics to a Passover song sung to the Christmas song, with which I amuse myself during the Chanukah season.

  • Drea

    What Child is This, Lindsey Stirling has a lovely violin only version and Carol of the Bells anyone? It can be a pain to sing but its so happy.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    The Abney Park song I linked to last week also came with a cover of Jingle Bells, to which I have never listened.

    And never will.  I don’t care who’s singing it.

  • spinetingler

    Would it be too self-promotional to mention that I posted 25 days of OOP Christmas vinyl on  my blog? The first one is here: http://audioarchives.blogspot.com/2012/12/blogmass-day-one-2012-happy-holly-days.html

    There were also posts in 2009-2011.

  • Splitting Image

    No mention of good Christmas songs would be complete without Big Star’s “Jesus Christ”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIO3KvvgCqA

  • Lorehead

    Mary Had a Baby,” Paul Robeson.

  • Carstonio

    Thanks – I knew about the musical phenomenon but didn’t know the name of the meter.

  • Carstonio

    Today I was in a thrift store run by a Christian organization, and the music playing was a CCM radio station. I didn’t think about it at the time, but now I realize that the station wasn’t playing any Christmas music. But the shocker was an old T-shirt that I spotted on the rack. It had a play on the Serenity Prayer, ending with “the wisdom to bury the bodies of the people I had to kill because they pissed me off.” Somehow it seemed more subversive than if it had been a Mercyful Fate tour shirt.

  • Rowen

     I’ve been working on rewriting the lyrics to Santa Baby, but got super sick and slept all last week, and am tired of the song stuck in my head. Here’s what I have so far.

    Santa Yoda, slip a light saber under the tree, for me.
    Been an awful good jedi, Santa Yoda,
    so hurry down the moisture evaporator tonight.

    Think of all the fun I’ve missed.
    Think of all the Wookies that I haven’t kissed.
    Next year I could be oh so good,
    if you check off my Life Day list.

    Maybe I’ll finish it next year.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     But now that Bea Arthur is dead, who could possibly sing it?

  • Lorehead

    Well, John Bongiovi (better known as Jon Bon Jovi) sang on “Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album.”  Not sure he’d be the best choice for that song, though.

  • ReverendRef

     I don’t know of this is “ballad measure,” but I’ve messed up more than one friend by pointing out that Come thou fount of every blessing can be sung to the tune of Clementine.

    Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine
    Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace

  • Dash1

    Now that we’re in the Twelve Days of Christmas, Straight No Chaser’s Twelve Days of Christmas.


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