A Very Vintage Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014 Of Minds And Mixtapes 0 Comments

Vintage Christmas Playlist @ Of Minds & Mixtapes

It’s that time of the year when you are (or at least know someone who is) putting up the tree, hanging up the stocking, writing cards or updating their e-cards account, getting out the stars and the lights, and of course cozying up to those nostalgic Christmas carols.
Hearing carols simply reminds me of the wonderful things the season brings— time spent with family, celebrating the passing of another year, and my childhood Christmas memories of how my mother would play the same Boney M or Jim Reeves tapes over and over again as we prepared sweets and wrapped presents together.
Carols are one of those few things that get me all excited about the holiday season. Before December even starts I’m usually humming a few bars from Sleigh Ride, Drummer Boy and Twelve Days. There’s something magnificent about songs that we (by and large) only get to sing and hear for a couple fleeting weeks a year.
Being a millennial my taste in Christmas music is diverse, yet the warmest place in my Christmas tune loving heart is reserved (undoubtedly) for old Christmas songs; those masterpieces that were performed by some of the best artists from the 1930s to the 60s. These are the songs that have become soundtracks for the season the world over, played often in movies, at fĂȘtes and as the background music at countless family Christmas dinners.
Here are the YouTube videos of some of the best holiday songs from the mid-twentieth century (and, of all-time). My future posts will of course feature newer tunes, but these I believe are a good place to start. Given the unpredictable nature of how long music videos stick around on YouTube sometimes, I can’t guarantee that all of the videos will still be up until season end, but most of them should be. Give them a listen:

Jim Reeves’  ~ An old Christmas Card ~
Recorded in the 1960s, this carol is one of Jim’s best known holiday tunes and of course 'Twelve Songs of Christmas with Jim Reeves' is probably one of the most legendary Christmas albums out there.

Rosemary Clooney's   ~ Let It Snow ~
Beautifully sung by Rosemary Clooney, this vintage version is sure to make you happy.
Nat King Cole’s  ~ The Christmas Song ~
Also known as “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”; a 1944 song written by Mel TormĂ© and Bob Wells, preformed by Nat King Cole.

Elvis Presley's  ~ I’ll Be Home for Christmas ~
Numerous crooners from Andy Williams to Dolly Parton have covered this 1943 holiday classic, though few could do it as soulfully as Elvis, whose version is here.

Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra's  ~ Santa Claus is Coming to Town ~
With the crackling in the background, you can hear history itself echoing in the notes of this song –-which was first performed in 1934-– as Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra play a rich version of it here.

Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark's  ~ Baby, it’s cold outside ~

The quintessential holiday tune for romantics, this charming duet from 1944 is my favourite, and I agree that few versions can compare with the recording above from ’49 by Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark.

Pat Boone's   ~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ~
My Dad had this old cassette with a bunch of old people on its cover titled 'Family Christmas'. I somehow hated it, and by extension, hated the songs in it; it was the rather dull cassette cover (Yes, I judged the cassette by its cover). But the one song I remember is "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", coz my dad rewound that tape a zillion times till I got the lyrics of that carol right. Result: I've grown to like Pat's version over the years, and get the lyrics right.

Ella Fitzgerald's   ~ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ~
Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, this song was introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Even with numerous other covers of this song, I like the Jazz Queen Ella Fitzgerald's upbeat version best. Here Ella's accompanied by Frank DeVol & His Orchestra, recorded July 15, 1960.

Kay Starr's  ~ I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm ~
Though this is not strictly a Christmas song as the lyrics make no mention of the holiday, it's usually found on many old Christmas albums. Originally written by Irving Berlin in 1937, this delightful tune is perfect for winter, especially when sung by an adorable voice like that of 1950s star, Kay Starr.

Andy Williams'   ~ The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year ~
Written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle, it was recorded and released that year by Andy Williams for his first Christmas album. It is the perfect number to play during the span of festive days between Christmas and New Year’s.

Dean Martin's   ~ Jingle Bells ~
This iconic carol was first published in 1857 by a guy named James Pierpont who had failed in his efforts to be a politician, a scientist, a businessman, (a father, a husband) and even a clergy. Yet he wrote a song that became one of the most popular and recognizable songs of the Christmas season. The version here is Dean Martin's.

Doris Day's   ~ Here Comes Santa Claus ~
A Christmas Eve anthem for tiny humans for generations now, this charming song first appeared in 1947 and was covered by many artists in the years that followed –-including Doris Day in 1949, whose version is here.

I hope that you enjoyed this playlist. It was difficult to limit this list to just twelve; I could have nimbly kept going to fifty or more! I'd love to hear about your favourite Christmas songs – be they old or new – as I’m always looking to expand my holiday playlist. Write to me at: ofmindsandmixtapes@gmail.com

Merry Christmas and have a great season !