For all the Christmas tunes we have, there really wasn’t much question about which three we would start with and which three we would end with.
With a near blizzard howling outside — the snow is coming down sideways — we offer three swinging tunes that capture the spirit of the season.
“Christmas Medley,” the Salsoul Orchestra, from “Christmas Jollies,” 1976. Though seemingly not out of print, it’s getting increasingly harder to find.
This is 12 minutes of soul, salsa and dance bliss, putting together “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Jingle Bells,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “The First Noel” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
You simply can’t go wrong with this medley anytime, anywhere.
“Cool Yule,” and “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” Louis Armstrong and the Commanders, 1953, from “The Stash Christmas Album,” 1985. It’s out of print, but these two cuts are widely available on a variety of Christmas compilation albums and CDs.
Both of these hipster tunes were recorded on Oct. 22, 1953.
“Cool Yule” gets the big-band treatment, driven by Sandy Block’s bass and Ed Grady’s drums. This one features a trumpet solo by Satchmo in addition to his familiar, raspy vocals.
“‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” opens with a rat-a-tat-a-tat drum break by Grady, and he and Block again drive this swinging, swaying tune in which Satchmo stalks “Santy Claus,” waiting for him to arrive on Christmas.
(Did you know? “Cool Yule” was written by Steve Allen. Yep, that Steve Allen. The guy who virtually invented the talk show, the guy who did “The Tonight Show” long before Johnny Carson. “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” was written by James Fox, about whom I can find nothing.)
But do stop back tomorrow, on Christmas Eve.
We’ll have one more thing for you to put under your tree.