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What's New?You might not think so from looking at my website, but I've had a busy few years. I haven't been writing or reviewing much, but I've been neck-deep in the tortured process if finishing my collection - buying, selling, and doing all that stuff obsessive/compulsive collectors do. Hence, these annual round-ups have become my way of staying semi-caught-up with the seasonal scene. To paraphrase Paul McCartney, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed melting them.

Before I dive in, let's make note of the big releases I don't care about - but that you might. These include albums by vocal acrobats Pentatonix, sax maniac Dave Koz, Frozen singer Idina Menzel, easy-going pianist Jim Brickman, classical soprano Renée Fleming, Italian heartthrobs Il Divo, cartoon tycoon Seth McFarlane, pomo crooner Michael Feinstein, Christian star Michael W. Smith, and Australian boy band Human Nature, plus a well-mannered collection called Christmas at Downton Abbey. Hip? No. Popular? You betcha.

albumsNew albums

All Is BrightIt was bound to happen. The year's biggest Christmas album isn't an album at all. Rather, it's Amazon's exclusive playlist, All Is Bright, which consists of all new recordings by exclusively female vocalists (a fact Amazon curiously fails to note...). The artists include big names like Lucinda Williams, Liz Phair, Kelly Hogan, Beth Orton, and Yoko Ono & The Flaming Lips, plus a bevy of youngsters including Selena Garcia, Jesse Baylin, and Austinites Ruthie Foster and Heartless Bastards. You can buy the tracks individually, but the whole thing streams free for Amazon Prime subscribers. Oh, the times they are a-changin'...

Beyond that, it's been a curiously quiet year. Maybe the pace of new Christmas releases is slowing. Maybe I simply care less. More likely, the real action is shifting to the interwebs where artists are writing, recording, and releasing Christmas music in a more expeditious, less conspicuous manner - usually just singles, often distributed through websites like Noisetrade, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud, and more than likely for free. I've found some gems this year - most notably a collection from The Dollyrots - but it's clear that the way musicians create music and people consume it has been almost completely transformed by the digital revolution. Trendy vinyl notwithstanding, the virtual world is virtually here.

Blue RodeoOf the albums that actually appeared in the physical realm - and that we actually have to pay for - I was most excited about the first-time Christmas releases from Canadian alt-country elder statesmen Blue Rodeo and 70's rhythm & blues superstars Earth, Wind & Fire. The former's Merrie Christmas To You is solid but unremarkable - exactly what you'd expect from a band that perfected it's craft many years ago; my favorite cut is their unexpected cover of Paul Simon's "Getting Ready for Christmas Day." The latter's Holiday is solid, as well - but less impressive. The hyperkinetic funk that characterized hits like "Shining Star" and "Boogie Wonderland" is rarely heard, replaced by smooth professionalism and muted reverence. It comes as no surprise, then, that two of the standout tracks are "December," based on their 1978 hit "September," and "Happy Season," based on "Happy Feelin'" from their landmark 1975 album, That's The Way Of The World.

The year's best rock releases are two very, very different albums. The first is A Christmas Gift For.... by power pop band The Connection, which collects a couple of past singles with seven jangly new tracks. The second is Happy Skalidays, an EP from ska/punk veterans Reel Big Fish. More upbeat than the band's usual stuff, Happy Skalidays includes a heartening ode to tolerance, "Whatever U Celebrate." I can't think of sentiment more apropos at the closing of this violent, divisive, unsettling year.

An American ChristmasOther recommended albums include Talkin' Christmas! from Blind Boys of Alabama & Taj Mahal; Harmony Is Real from the Living Sisters featuring Inara George, member of The Bird & The Bee and daughter of Little Feat singer Lowell George; It's Merry Christmas Time, a lovely EP from Austin singer/songwriter Miranda Dodson; When Christmas Comes, a bracing EP from Wales-based indie band Los Campesinos; Like A Gift From God Or Whatever, a quirky, catchy album from Fake Problems leader Chris Farren; and Santa Is Real from the Xmas-Men, a pseudonymous release by Robert Earl Keen's backing band (check out the cover art inspired by the Louvin Brothers' Satan Is Real).

I was also very impressed by An Americana Christmas, in part because I couldn't believe that nobody had thought of the concept until now. It collects tracks both new and old from alternative country and roots rock artists as notable as John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and The Band. And, for the first time ever on CD, An Americana Christmas compiles "Here It Is Christmas Time" by the Old 97's - a melancholy, modern classic. And, last but loudest, I have to mention the sixth volume of Cashing In On Christmas, a series of hardcore punk that, while increasingly predictable, is always amusing. This year it comes on "yellow snow" and "black coal" vinyl (with download upon purchase).

albumsReissues & Compilations

Three SunsIt's been threatening to happen for the past few years, but this is the first Christmas when, inarguably, better stuff was reissued in the MP3 format than on compact disc. Sony/BMG, in particular, opened the floodgates, reissuing dozens of classic albums for download, many of which had never been reissued on CD. We can assume, I fear, that they never will be.

Foremost among these is A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas (1959) by The Three Suns. This is a a marvel of an album, catching the instrumental trio at the height of their goofy, inventive powers. The Three Suns recorded several other Christmas albums, but Ding Dong Dandy Christmas is easily their best. It is also a glittering example of RCA Records' storied "Living Stereo" series - sheer delight to the ears, even at 256 kbps.

Another forgotten treasure to finally go digital is Homer & Jethro's A Cool Crazy Christmas (1968), another RCA LP never previously released as CD or download. Cool Crazy Christmas includes mainly new versions of songs Homer & Jethro recorded as singles in the 1950's, but these cornpone comedians were long past their prime by the late 60's. Hence, the new versions sound rather tired compared to the earlier, more manic sides, but it's nice to finally hear the album sans pops and clicks.

Edwin Hawkins SingersOther MP3 reissues include Johnny Cash's Christmas Spirit (1963) and Family Christmas (1972), both with restored original artwork; My Christmas Favorites (1969) from latter-day crooner John Davidson; Have A Happy Holiday (1965) from Bonanza patriarch Lorne Greene; Christmas Card (1965) by future sausage king Jimmy Dean; a pair of Motown classics by The Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles; sax maniac Boots Randolph's Boots and Stockings (1969); Merry Christmas (1966) by faux folk group The Brothers Four; Christmas (1966) by country gentleman Hank Snow; Christmas Greetings (1964) by honey-voiced Jerry Vale; a couple of soundtracks, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) and The Waltons' Christmas Album (1974); and the Edwin Hawkins Singers' Christmas album, finally released under its original title, Peace Is Blowin' in the Wind (1972).

Whew - and that's just the highlights! Even further, a number of impressive compilations emerged from the digital-only world this year. Most notably, there's Classic Motown Christmas, an eleven "disc" digital album that compiles just about every seasonal track every released by the storied Detroit-based label (too bad I already own them all). Then, there's a three "disc" set from George Strait (A Holiday Collection) and a two "disc" set from Andy Williams (40 Christmas Classics). And, Sony/BMG compiled several good-but-generic starter sets: 21 Christmas Hits, 21 Classic Christmas Favorites, 21 Country Christmas Favorites, and 21 Jazz Christmas Favorites. If all digital albums were packed with this much value, old farts like me would have a lot less to complain about! Though, complain we would....

Lost Christmas: Holiday RaritiesStill, of the many digital-only albums released this year, the one that I think most begs for a physical edition is Capitol's Lost Christmas: Holiday Rarities. Frankly put, guys like me live for albums like this. Culled from the vaults of Capitol, Decca, MCA, Mercury, Chess, and other labels controlled by Universal Music, nearly all of these tracks (as advertised) are quite rare - for instance, Leon Russell's "Slipping Into Christmas" and "Bobby Helms' "Captain Santa Claus." Some have never been reissued in any digital format - such as Bobby Goldsboro's "A Christmas Wish" or two Chet Baker tracks rescued from obscure 60's albums. The rest, including Billy Squier's "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" or Canned Heat's "Christmas Blues," are merely classic. For collector's, Lost Christmas: Holiday Rarities is a lost opportunity. For most modern consumers, it's a rare and valuable chance to hear some great music.

But, lest we forget, record companies actually are releasing some actual records. Sony/BMG continued their "Classic Christmas Album" series with releases from Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra - most with a few rare tracks - and a remastered version of last year's Barbra Streisand installment. Plus, they compiled some various artists collections called Classic Christmas Country Album (annoyingly, a Wal-Mart exclusive), Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album (drawn mostly from their Merry Axemas series) and Classic Christmas Pop Album.

Salsoul OrchestraMore significantly, indie labels Friday and Real Gone continued catering to Christmas collectors this year. Friday Music gave us new editions of the soul classic In The Christmas Spirit (1966) by Booker T. & The MG's and the snooze-worthy Christmas Album (1969) by country crooner Ray Price. They also reissued the Salsoul Orchestra's campy disco classic Christmas Jollies (1976) in a deluxe edition. If you'll recall, a similarly-titled digital album appeared last year compiling all the tracks from both Christmas Jollies and Christmas Jollies II (1981). The Friday Music version, however, contains just the first album plus bonus tracks. Hopefully, they'll follow up with the sequel next year.

Real Gone Music unleashed a slew of holiday releases this year - though none are terribly hip. These include The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas (1960) by legendary arranger and conductor Frank DeVol; Irving Berlin's White Christmas (1954) by Rosemary Clooney, with several rare radio performances added; The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings by golden-throated Robert Goulet; new editions of folkie classics Last Month Of The Year (1960) by the Kingston Trio and Merry Christmas (1966) by the Brothers Four; and Christmas Album (1970) by the Williams Brothers featuring Andy Williams, available for the first-time-ever on compact disc. To my chagrin, I was most thrilled to see The Complete Mercury Christmas Recordings by the Statler Brothers - a very square country quartet for which I maintain an inexplicable fondness. Do you remember these? I do.

Charley PrideAnother country album I picked up is Charley Pride's Christmas In My Hometown (1970), reissued with some rare bonus tracks by heretofore obscure Music City Records. It's a B-minus album, at best, but this is the best-ever version to grace the market. Also worth noting is On This Holy Night (1959) by the Anita Kerr Singers, reissued by El Records under the permissive European public domain laws. The Kerr Singers appeared on hundreds of records as background singers, but this album was recorded for internal use by music publishing house SESAC. It's available here to the general public for the first time ever, but the compact disc is most notable for its bonus tracks: the entire album Christmas With Chet Atkins (1961), which featured the Kerr Singers prominently, and several more holiday singles on which they appeared.

If you've knocked about this website very much, you know that I love a good "various artist" collection. This year, in addition to the aforementioned An Americana Christmas, I picked up two albums from Demon-distributed Crimson Records, An Alternative Christmas and The Gift That Keeps Giving, both of which lean far to the left of the dial. I also recommend Hoodoo Records' Gonna Have A Really Soulful Christmas, which is just the latest in a never-ending stream of rhythm 'n' blues collections from the European public domain - but it's a really good one.

I wish I could say the same for Document Records' Blues, Blues Christmas Vol. 4, which has a stellar line-up of obscure blues, gospel, doo wop, and rockabilly, plus very impressive annotation. But, Document is way too fond of their noise reduction software, and none of these tracks sound better than other versions on the market. Some, in fact, sound far worse. But, enthusiasts will note that a few of these songs have never been reissued anywhere by anybody (check out "Guitar Jingle Bells" by Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith), and that fact makes Blues, Blues Christmas a necessary purchase.

Johnny MathisIf - and only if - you are an English person of a certain age, you'll also enjoy Songs For A London Winter, a compilation of oh-so-very-British pop artists curated by Saint Etienne member Bob Stanley. Despite the appearance of a few semi-widely known songs like Adam Faith's "Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop)," Alma Cogan's "Must Be Santa," and Billy Fury's "Christmas Prayer," this is an album that will be appreciated only by people who employ phrases like "Boxing Day" and "Christmas crackers."

Finally, a classic Johnny Mathis album, The Sound Of Christmas (1963), made it's formal CD debut this year after fully half a century - but only as part of a 13-disc boxed set, The Complete Global Albums Collection. Mathis made the album for Mercury after leaving his longstanding label, Columbia, and forming his own production company, Global Records. Later, after Mathis returned to Columbia, the label reissued the album as Christmas With Johnny Mathis (1972) minus two tracks, "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Have Reindeer, Will Travel." Luckily, since the box is also available for download, you can opt to download those two tracks without springing for the (nicely packaged, beautifully remastered) whole enchilada.


Bad Religion
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
The Both
Happy Fangs
Jackknife Stiletto
Martini Bros.
Mr Little Jeans
Nick D' & The Believers
Osaka Popstar
Jimmy D. Scott
Dallon Weekes

As mentioned above, most new, hip Christmas singles are being released through websites like Noisetrade, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud - often for free. Young musicians wisely take advantage of the available technology to release tracks directly to their fans. Good for them, but I just can't keep up - and I thank my lucky stars for websites like Mistletunes, Christmas Underground, and Stubby's House of Christmas that seem to take an almost perverse thrill in doing just that.

My favorites, on the other hand, tend to be things you can buy on Amazon or iTunes - which reinforces my belief that the cream tends to rise to the top. I found a lot this year, so let's get started.

Other noteworthy - though not necessarily sponge worthy - singles include:

Christmas treeMy Christmas List

Anyway, the list below is a look at all the new albums that I think will be of interest to people who love holiday music that rocks, rolls, swings, or twangs - meaning that it is neither a list of my recommendations nor a comprehensive list of new releases. Hope you find it useful. What have I missed? Drop me a line...

Randy Anthony

All-4-One Christmas EP, Vol. One
- three tracks
2014 image buy  
Ashanti Wonderful Christmas With Ashanti
- deluxe edition
2013 image buy  
Blind Boys of Alabama & Taj Mahal Talkin' Christmas! 2014 image buy  
Blue Rodeo Merrie Christmas To You 2014 image buy  
Booker T, & The MG's In The Christmas Spirit
- reissued by Friday Music
1966 image buy review
Brothers Four Merry Christmas
- reissued by Real Gone Music
1966 image buy  
Carlton, Larry Four Hands & A Heart Christmas
- companion to his Four Hands & A Heart series
2014 image buy  
Deanna Carter Father Christmas 2001 image buy  
Cash, Johnny Christmas Spirit
- newly available as MP3 with original cover
1963 image buy review
  Johnny Cash, Family Christmas (1972)
- newly available as MP3 with original cover
1972 image buy review
Elizabeth Chan Christmas In The City 2014 image buy  
Charles, Jimmy Jimmy Charles Sings Christmas (EP)
- compiles two 1960 Christmas-themed 45s for the Promo label
2014 image buy  
Christmas Jug Band Jugology: Greatest Near Misses (Best Of...) 2014 image buy  
Clooney, Rosemary Irving Berlin's White Christmas
- also see DVD reissue
1954 image buy  
Collins, Judy Joy To The World
- same track listing as All On A Wintry Night (2000), most of which was taken from Come Rejoice (1994)
2014 image buy  
Como, Perry Classic Christmas Album
- 14 tracks from his 50's and 60's RCA catalog
2014 image buy  
The Connection A Christmas Gift For....
- includes two previously released singles
2014 image buy  
Crosby, Bing Icon: Christmas
- 11 tracks, presumably Decca recordings...
2014 image buy review
Davidson, John My Christmas Favorites
- now available for download
1969 image buy  
Dean, Jimmy Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card
- now available for download
1965 image buy  
DeFrancesco, Joey Home For The Holidays 2014 image buy  
DeVol, Frank The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas
- Columbia LP reissued by Real Gone Music
1960 image buy  
Dodson, Miranda It's Merry Christmas Time (EP)
- singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas
2014 image buy  
Dollyrots The Xmas Songs (EP)
- digital EP compiling several years of holiday singles
2014 image buy  
DTCV Noel Interdit (EP)
- pronounced Detective; French-American post-punk band from Los Angeles
2014 image buy  
Dyer, Tom Xmas: 30 Years In The Making
- compiled from five previous Green Monkey Records samplers
2013 image buy  
Earth, Wind & Fire Holiday 2014 image buy  
Ellis, Pee Wee The Spirit Of Christmas
- guests include fellow James Brown alumnus Fred Wesley
2014 image buy  
Evans, Sarah At Christmas
- MP3 listed separately
2014 image buy  
Fitzgerald, Ella Icon: Christmas
- Verve and Capitol recordings
2014 image buy  
Goulet, Robert Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings
- Real Gone reissue containing This Christmas I Spend with You (1963) and Wonderful World of Christmas (1968) plus five bonus tracks
2014 image buy  
Grant, Amy Icon: Christmas 2014 image buy  
Green River Ordinance A Green River Ordinance Christmas
- Texas-based alternative rock band
2014 image buy  
Greene, Lorne Have A Happy Holiday
- also see Bonanza: Christmas On The Ponderosa
1965 image buy  

Hamilton, Anthony

Home For The Holidays 2014 image buy  
Hawkins, Edwin, Singers Peace Is Blowin' In The Wind
- newly available as download with original title
1972 image buy  
Heart Home For The Holidays
- CD and DVD; with "friends" including Shawn Colvin, Richard Marx, and Sammy Hagar
2014 image buy  
Home Free Full Of Cheer
- MP3 has three more tracks
2014 image buy  
Homer & Jethro A Cool Crazy Christmas
- newly available as download
1968 image buy  
Jackson 5 Christmas Album
- now available as download
1970 image buy review
Jackson, Alan Let It Be Christmas
- now available as download with new cover
2002 image buy  
Jackson, Mahalia Silent Night: Songs For Christmas
- UK public domain reissue with most of Sweet Little Jesus Boy (1955) appended as bonus tracks
1962 image buy  
Johnson, Jamey The Christmas Song (EP) 2014 image buy  
Kerr, Anita Singers On This Holy Night
- first-ever commercial release; includes Christmas With Chet Atkins (1961) and other bonus tracks which prominently feature the group
1959 image buy  
Kingston Trio Last Month Of The Year
- new edition by Real Gone Music
1960 image buy  
Lee, Peggy Icon: Christmas
- 11 track Universal compilation of Capitol recordings
2014 image buy  
Lewis, Annie Marie A Rock 'n' Roll Christmas In The USA
- with rockabilly guitarist Danny B. Harvey; Annie Marie is Linda Gail Lewis's daughter, Jerry Lee Lewis' niece, and Mickey Gilley's and Jimmy Swaggart's cousin
2014 image buy  
Living Sisters Harmony Is Real: Songs For A Happy Holiday
- featuring Inara George
2014 image buy  
Los Campesinos! When Christmas Comes
- also available on limited edition vinyl
2014 image buy  
Lynyrd Skynyrd Christmas Time Again
- appearances by Charlie Daniels and .38 Special
2000 image buy  
Martin, Dean Icon: Dino's Christmas
- 10-track Universal compilation
2014 image buy review
Martin, Kay & Her Body Guards I Know What You Want For Christmas
- vinyl-only reissue of album more famous for cover than contents...
1962 image buy  
Mathis, Johnny Classic Christmas Album
- Sony Legacy compilation
2014 image buy review
Maysa A Very Maysa Christmas
- solo artist and member of Incognito and Stevie Wonder's Wonderlove; guests include vocalist Will Downing and saxophonist Gerald Albright
2014 image buy  
Misfits Horror Xmas (EP)
- now available on compact disc
2013 image buy  
Moogstar Christmas With Moogstar
- reissued by Essential Media Group
2009 image buy  
Murray, Anne Icon: Christmas
- 11-track Capitol/Universal compilation
2014 image buy  
Over The Rhine Blood Oranges In The Snow 2014 image buy  
Price, Ray Christmas Album
- new edition from Friday Music
1969 image buy  
Pride, Charley Christmas In My Hometown
- Music City Records reissue with extra tracks
1970 image buy  
Randolph, Boots Boots and Stockings
- now available for download
1969 image buy  
Reel Big Fish Happy Skalidays (EP) 2014 image buy  
Rimes, Leann One Christmas: Chapter 1 2014 image buy  
Robinson, Smokey & The Miracles The Season For Miracles
- now available for download
1970 image buy review
Roubion, Rebecca Christmas Lights 2014 image buy  
Rucker, Darius Home For The Holidays
- Hootie & The Blowfish singer
2014 image buy  
Rushlow, Tim Classic Christmas
- Little Texas singer
2014 image buy  
Sackville All Stars Christmas Record
- featuring Milt Hinton
1986 image buy  
Salsoul Orchestra Christmas Jollies: The Deluxe Edition
- Friday Music reissue with bonus tracks
1976 image buy  
Schneider, John & Wopat, Tom Home For Christmas
- former stars of The Dukes Of Hazzard
2014 image buy  
Scott, Marilyn Get Christmas Started! 2014 image buy  
Sinatra, Frank Classic Christmas Album
- Sony/Legacy compilation including unreleased tracks
2014 image buy review
Snow, Hank Christmas With Hank Snow
- now available for download
1966 image buy  
Statler Brothers Complete Mercury Christmas Recordings
- includes Christmas Card (1978) and Christmas Present (1985)
2014 image buy  
Straight No Chaser Under The Influence (Holiday Edition)
- now available for download
2013 image buy  
  Under The Influence (Ultimate Edition)
- complete edition
2014 image buy  
Strait, George Christmas Time
- formerly a Target exclusive
2011 image buy  
  Holiday Collection
- three "disc" download album
2014 image buy  
Streisand, Barbra Classic Christmas Album
- new master
2013 image buy  
Swamp Dogg An Awful Christmas And A Lousy New Year
- reissued by Essential Media Group
2009 image buy  
.38 Special A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night 2001 image buy  
Thomas, B.J. O Holy Night (EP) 2014 image buy  
Three Suns Ding Dong Dandy Christmas
- now available for download
1959 image buy  
Unfortunates A Very Unfortunate Christmas (EP)
- now available on CD
2013 image buy  
Vale, Jerry Christmas Greetings From Jerry Vale
- now available for download
1964 image buy  
Watson, Dale Christmas Time In Texas 2000 image buy  
Williams Brothers Christmas Album
- Barnaby LP featuring Andy Williams finally reissued on CD
1970 image buy  
Williams, Andy 40 Christmas Classics
- Sony Legacy download-only compilation
2014 image buy  
Wilson, Nancy Christmas 2001 image buy  
Xmas-Men Santa Is Real
- Robert Earl Keen produced this pseudonymous instrumental album by his backing band; the title and cover are a parody of the Louvin Brothers' gospel classic Satan Is Real
2014 image buy  
soundtrack Christmas With Nashville
- also limited edition CD
2014 image buy  
soundtrack Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever
- from Lifetime cable TV
2014 image buy  
soundtrack It's A Wonderful Life
- limited edition Kritzerland reissue of Dimitri Tiompkin's original score
2014 image buy  
soundtrack Mad Men Christmas
- formerly a Target exclusive
2013 image buy  
soundtrack A Merry Friggin' Christmas
- comedy starring Joel McHale and Robin Williams is one of his final performances; features new and exclusive music from Ben Kweller and Rufus Wainwright
2014 image buy  
soundtrack Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
- TV soundtrack now available for download with restored cover art
1964 image buy  
soundtrack Waltons' Christmas Album
- now available for download
1974 image buy  
various artists All Is Bright
- Amazon exclusive playlist featuring all-new recordings by female vocalists
2014 image buy  
various artists Alternative Christmas
- 2-CD collection from Demon-distributed UK label Crimson
2014 image buy  
various artists Americana Christmas
- new and vintage recordings of American roots music
2014 image buy  
various artists Best Of Street: New Orleans Xmas
- part of a project to discover, celebrate & empower street musicians around the world
2014 image buy  
various artists Blues, Blues Christmas Vol. 4
- blues, jazz, doo wop, rockabilly and gospel 1925-1962
2014 image buy  
various artists Candlelight Carols: Holiday Songs for The Candlelight Ranch
- benefits Candlelight Ranch in Marble Falls, Texas
2014 image buy  
various artists Christmas Joy In Full Measure
- new music from UK label Hand Of Glory
2014 image buy  
various artists Christmas With The Rat Pack
- MP3 edition of frequently-reissued CD
2014 image buy  
various artists Classic Christmas Country Album
- Sony/Legacy collection; unlike others in the series, it's a Wal-Mart exclusive
2014 image buy  
various artists Classic Christmas Hard Rock Album
- Sony/Legacy collection drawn mostly from their Merry Axemas series
2014 image buy  
various artists Classic Christmas Pop Album
- Sony/Legacy collection
2014 image buy  
various artists Classic Motown Christmas
- eleven "disc" digital album compiling just about every seasonal track the label has ever released
2014 image buy review
various artists 80's Wonderland
- Sony/BMG 12-track budget album
2014 image buy  
various artists Gift That Keeps Giving
- Demon/Crimson compilation of alternative holiday songs
2014 image buy  
various artists Gonna Have A Really... Soulful Christmas
- 2-CD, 50-track collection from Hoodoo Records
2014 image buy  
various artists I'll Be Home For Christmas
- fairly amorphous pop collection from Sony/BMG
2014 image buy  
various artists Icon: Pop Christmas Favorites
- Universal 11-track collection
2014 image buy  
various artists It's Christmas On Mack Avenue
- solid collection from indie jazz label
2014 image buy  
various artists Lost Christmas: Holiday Rarities
- Capitol/Universal download-only compilation of classic and/or rare tracks
2014 image buy  
various artists Motown Christmas
- modern compilation bearing little resemblance to 1973 classic
2014 image buy review
various artists Mr. Santa's Boogie
- the first Savoy Jazz holiday album; later reissued as Christmas Blues (1994)
1985 image buy review
various artists Nashville Indie Spotlight Christmas
- off-the-beaten path country music, including mostly original compositions
2014 image buy  
various artists Putumayo Presents French Christmas 2014 image buy  
various artists Songs For A London Winter
- presented by pop group Saint Etienne and Croydon Municipal, a label curated by group member Bob Stanley
2014 image buy  
various artists Songs Of The Architect Presents: A Very SOTA Christmas, Vol. 1
- from the stable of an Atlanta-based music publisher
2014 image buy  
various artists 21 Christmas Hits
- Columbia/Legacy digital compilation
2014 image buy  
various artists 21 Classic Christmas Favorites
- Columbia/Legacy digital compilation
2014 image buy  
various artists 21 Country Christmas Favorites
- Columbia/Legacy digital compilation
2014 image buy  
various artists 21 Jazz Christmas Favorites
- Columbia/Legacy digital compilation
2014 image buy  
various artists Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails
- vinyl reissue of hipster classic
1996 image buy review
various artists Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails 2
- vinyl reissue of sequel to above; both part of Capitol Records' extensive Ultra-Lounge series
1997 image buy review
various artists A Very Busted Christmas
- original collection from trip-hop, hip-hop, and funk label Cold Busted Records
2014 image buy  


Previous Years. We've been compiling this "what's new?" list for awhile, going back to 2004 (Chris Isaak, Dwight Twilley), 2005 (Diana Krall, Brian Setzer), 2006 (Aimee Mann, Bootsy Collins), 2007 (Smithereens, Darlene Love), 2008 (Weezer, Pretenders), 2009 (Bob Dylan, Los Straitjackets), 2010 (James Brown, Shelby Lynne), 2011 (Killers, Carole King), 2012 (Rod Stewart, Polyphonic Spree), and 2013 (Salsoul Orchestra, Nick Lowe). Christmas Tree

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