The Film Frontier Christmas Mix

One of the great things about the Web is that it is a living collection of ideas. In other words, if a lowly blogger such as me is unable to think of an original idea for a post, I can always steal one from someone else a little brighter than me.

Gene Stout over at seattlepi.com recently published an article in which he selected about twelve songs from various new Christmas releases as suggestions for a “personalized Christmas album,” also known as a mix CD. You can check out his article here: Mix yourself a merry little Christmas album.

I know a fun idea when I see one, so I have decided to adapt it for use here on The Film Frontier. In fact, I may start a whole series of articles based on just this concept. Just you wait, I will have The Film Frontier New Year’s Mix, The Film Frontier Easter Mix, and The Film Frontier Arbor Day Mix ready to go before you know it.

You should be able to download most of these as individual tracks on Amazon, iTunes, or other legitimate online music sites. For my mix, I am not going to limit myself to only 2008 releases. It would not be Christmas to me without throwing in at least a couple of the classics.

01 “The Christmas Song” (2008)
Sheryl Crow
Album: Home For Christmas
Though Nat King Cole still has the definitive version, Sheryl Crow’s take on the song from her recent Home For Christmas album is one of the few modern versions that can even compare.

02 “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (1987)
The Pretenders
Album: A Very Special Christmas
As a fan of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, this recording will always be special to me as the one that played during “Season’s Greedings,” a second-season episode written by series star Dean Cain. It marked a turning point for both the series and the relationship between the two main characters.

03 “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” (1957)
Elvis Presley
Album: Elvis’ Christmas Album
Forget the manufactured messes on 2008’s Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, stick with the originals. “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” is not only Elvis’ best Christmas song, but also ranks right up there with “Reconsider Baby” as one of his greatest blues numbers.

04 “The First Noel” (2004)
Josh Turner
Album: Sounds of the Season: The Country Collection
Best known for his debut single, “Long Black Train,” Josh Turner’s deep vocals are extremely effective on this Christmas standard.

05 “The Little Drummer Boy” (1993)
Harry Connick, Jr.
Album: When My Heart Finds Christmas
Harry Connick, Jr.’s Christmas songs vary greatly in quality from one another, but this great arrangement of “The Little Drummer Boy” from 1993 remains a standout.

06 “Silent Night” (1960)
Nat King Cole
Album: Christmas Favorites
Like Elvis, Nat King Cole owned just about any Christmas song he chose to sing. His beautiful version of “Silent Night” may be the best ever recorded.

07 “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (1998)
Martina McBride
Album: White Christmas
Martina McBride’s smooth vocals are a fine match for this Christmas classic.

08 “Christmas Time Is Here” (2006)
Sarah McLachlan & Diana Krall
Album: Wintersong
I chose this one mostly because this song from A Charlie Brown Christmas is so rarely covered. A fine performance by these two ladies.

09 “What Child Is This” (2008)
Faith Hill
Album: Joy To The World
It was hard choosing just one song from Faith Hill’s recent Joy To The World album, but this one is certainly one of her best.

10 “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (2008)
Carrie Underwood
Album: Carnival Ride (2008 Bonus Disc)
I re-bought Carnival Ride just to get this bonus disc with five Christmas songs. It must be the Elvis fan in me. I have been trained to re-buy the same songs over and over.

11 “Mary’s Little Boy Child”/”O Holy Night” (2004)
Vanessa Williams
Album: Silver & Gold
It was about four years ago that I stumbled across a Vanessa Williams Christmas concert on TV. She was not an artist I had paid attention to before, but I thought her Christmas songs were beautiful that night. I went out and bought both of her Christmas albums the next day. Among many top-notch tracks, my favorite was this medley of “Mary’s Little Boy Child” and “O Holy Night.”

12 “On A Snowy Christmas Night” (1971)
Elvis Presley
Album: Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas
Unless you are a fellow Elvis fan, you may not even recognize this one. Believe it or not, Elvis sang other Christmas songs besides “Blue Christmas.” (He also sang other non-Christmas songs besides “Hound Dog.”) “On A Snowy Christmas Night” is a quiet little song that closes out The Film Frontier Christmas Mix perfectly:

Give thanks for all you’ve been blessed with,
And hold your loved ones tight,
For you know the Lord’s been good to you
On a snowy Christmas night. . . .