The Classic Christmas '80s Album - Various artists
You may remember them singing that they know what boys like but here quirky group the Waitresses sing about the (sometimes questionable) joys of the holidays in "Christmas Wrapping" where they cook up "the world's smallest turkey" and forget the cranberry sauce but still manage to come out with an upbeat attitude. The song is a perfect opener to this compilation which also features covers of classic Christmas tunes by the likes of the Hooters ("Silent Night"), Whitney Houston ("Do You Hear What I Hear") and the Pointer Sisters ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town") along with originals like Billy Squier's "Christmas is the Time to Say 'I Love You'," Wham!'s "Last Christmas" and Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Christmas Time is Here." RUN-D.M.C., the Bangles, Fishbone, Dave Edmunds, Hall & Oates, Buster Poindexter, New Kids on the Block and Bo & Doug McKenzie also contribute.
Elvis Presley - Merry Christmas Baby
From Irving Berlin's classic "White Christmas" to Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)," Elvis here delivers a 17-song set of familiar holiday songs packed with favorites like "Silent Night," "Blue Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "O Come, All Ye Faithful." Any Christmas spent with Elvis is something special but vinyl collectors will especially appreciate the fact that this album is pressed on translucent green vinyl.
The Classic Big Band Christmas Album - Various artists
If you'd like to have a swingin' holiday season, look no further than this great compilation spanning the Big Band Era and featuring popular cuts from the late 1930s through 1951. Featuring lots of brassy arrangements suitable for dancing, the collection features cuts like Sammy Kaye's instrumental take on "Winter Wonderland," Woody Herman and his Orchestra bouncing through "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" and superstar Glenn Miller tuning up the "Jingle Bells." Don't for a minute think that these old cuts aren't cool; just check out the hip 1948 offering from Frankie Carle, "Little Jack Frost Get Lost" with sassy vocals from Marjorie Hughes. Harry James, Les Brown, Kay Kyser and Benny Goodman are some of the other contributors.
Luther Vandross - This is Christmas
Have you ever experienced a Christmas where you stocking was filled with coal? This year fill it with soul! Here the late singer performs mostly original songs that he wrote or co-wrote, including "Every Year, Every Christmas," "This is Christmas," the Darlene Love duet "I Listen to the Bells" and the amusing "The Mistle Toe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)." Interpretations of the standards "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "My Favorite Things" are also included.
Johnny Cash - Christmas: There'll be Peace in the Valley
Christmas is the time for the man in red but here the spotlight is on the Man in Black as Cash gets in the yuletide spirit with favorites like "The Little Drummer Boy," "Blue Christmas" and "Silent Night." But a good deal of the album finds Cash delving into material beyond the expected, including cuts like "Ringing the Bells for Jim," "Matthew 24 (Is Knocking at the Door," "The Ballad of the Harp Weaver" and "King of Love" with the Statler Brothers and the Carter Family. Also performed with the Carter Family is the gospel chestnut that gives the album its title, "(There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)."