The 12 Essential Tracks of Christmas, Day One: Straight No Chaser's "12 Days"

The 12 Essential Tracks of Christmas, Day One: Straight No Chaser's "12 Days" December 24, 2013

Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas! As my gift to you readers, I’m trying something a little different this year. Instead of taking Christmas off, I’m preparing a little series of twelve posts in a row (okay, maybe we’ll take a little Duck Dynasty break in the middle for next Monday’s funnies), but, essentially, twelve posts in a row. I’m calling it “The 12 Essential Tracks of Christmas.” To avoid confusion, let me explain what this series is not. It is not the twelve essential Christmas carols. Nor is it even the twelve essential Christmas songs. Nor is it a comprehensive Christmas collection.

Now for what it is: This series is intended to showcase twelve recordings that I believe no Christmas collection should be without. The main thing I looked for was that extra quality that separates a definitive recording from a good one. A lot of carols and other great songs are missing because I haven’t found what I consider to be a definitive performance. On the flip side, not every song is remarkable, but what the recording artist did with it is. Narrowing it down to just twelve was a tough task. Think of this as your “Christmas survival kit,” your can’t-leave-home-without-’em essential tracks. To be sure, a Christmas collection with these recordings alone is still woefully incomplete. But a Christmas collection without any of them is unthinkable. On day thirteen (or fourteen… whatever), I’ll round up some tracks that narrowly missed the bare minimum cut. That way we can begin to approach something like a complete collection.
Are you ready? Let’s kick it off! This is the twelve essential tracks of Christmas, day one. Read on to see what’s inside today’s gift bag…
Day One
It’s the college performance that lay un-digitized for nearly a decade before becoming a viral Internet sensation. It’s the monster mashup that at once brilliantly mocks the nonsensical jingles of Christmas and ups the cheese factor with gusto. It’s the perfect palate cleanser, the ultimate Christmas tonic. Plus a little Chanuka. And Toto. Don’t ask, just watch. It’s…
Straight No Chaser with “12 Days of Christmas.”
(Trivia: This arrangement is actually much older than Straight No Chaser. Minus, of course, the dreidel song and the Toto nod, it actually goes all the way back to 1968, when an arranger named Richard Gregory put it together for another college group called the Williston Caterwaulers. Sadly, I’ve been unable to locate an original recording, only this informal reunion performance.)

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