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More Music for Christmas

By RD Heldenfels Published: December 19, 2005

Well, it looks as if I am going to have to do another piece on odd Christmas music for the Beacon Journal next year. The 2005 one has been picked up by newspapers around the country and brought all sorts of enthusiastic e-mails; one gentleman sent a list of his more obscure fare along with a promise to forward his discography of Liberace's Christmas recordings.

Other folks mentioned a John Denver tune I had never  heard of, and one by Robert Earl Keen. One reader reminded me of ''Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,'' a Tom Waits ditty I actually own, on vinyl no less. (If you can't find the song, which was originally on his ''Blue Valentine'' album, see if you can at least hunt down the lyrics.)

Thanks, too,  to Dusty and Barb & Katie for including me in the recipients of their 2005 Christmas CD sampler. Thumbs up to the Manic Hispanics' ''Santa Got Run Over by My Chevy,'' Steve Goodie's Christmas carol medley, the Alice Project's ''Regifting for the Holidays,'' Box Car Willie's ''Hee Haw Honey'' and Relient K's ''Hallelujah Chorus.''

These suggestions had me thinking of other things, and digging deeper into my collection. The Relient K cut made me remember that every holiday I dig out the ''Hallelujah Chorus'' from ''Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration.''

The CD also included a Fairfield Four cut, and that made me want to play (again) the Blind Boys of Alabama's Christmas CD. And I've been thinking about ''Holiday Love,'' by Sounds of Blackness, one of the high points in an interesting album.

Kathy Mattea's ''Baby King'' reminded me of Wynonna's version of ''Let's Make a Baby King.'' When I was digging around in my cassettes, I came across the odd and endearing ''What If Mozart Wrote 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'?'' by the Hampton String Quartet -- classically styled standards. And Dread Zeppelin's ''All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.''

And I can't ignore Bridget Ball & Christopher Shaw. While their ''Mountain Snow and Mistletoe'' album included Chris's own ''Ten Dollar Christmas,'' I keep going back to it for their version of Karla Bonoff's ''Home.'' As they say in the liner notes, ''Home is where Christmas is the way you remember it.''

So, as I said, lots of material for a 2006 story. If you have suggestions of your own, post them now and avoid the rush next year.

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