New Music For Old People: Tracks for Everyone Who’s Tired of the Same Old Christmas Music

Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. “The Bells of St. Mary’s” — Aaron Neville

use that phrase, every now and then, about how certain singers could “sing the phone book” and it would be entirely listenable. Just now I was thinking of having them all sing the phone book for the city I live in. I could produce it and play the instruments and … oh, never mind. Mr. Neville, you would only have to sing my Social Security number.

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2. “Purple Snowflakes” — Marvin Gaye

Just discovered this recently and I thought I was a Marvin scholar. Motown made poor Marv sing Christmas lyrics written to one of his lesser (but still GREAT) singles called “Pretty Little Baby.” Second rate lyrics abound on the remake and how many people out there have actually seen purple snowflakes who aren’t lighting designers? Marvin was one of the few singers who could tolerate record company shenanigans like this. I also discovered I don’t own a vinyl or CD copy of “Pretty Little Baby” and this track is pretty damn distorted … BUT Marvin rooooolz!

3. “Funky New Year” — The Eagles

The Eagles didn’t need the record company’s persuasion to record a makeshift holiday track. I bet they were surprised this didn’t go top ten in whatever decade it was originally unveiled. Nowadays it’s probably a collectors’ item in Japan.

4. “O Come All Ye Faithful” — Mary Mary

Two sisters who consistently top ten in the R&B field go back from whence they came and do the modern gospel thang. I dig it.

5. “White Christmas” — The Isley Brothers

Ron Isley is another one of those phone book singers but he shows you how he can do his thang to this chestnut and miraculously make it his own. Wotta voice!

6. “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” — Steve Ouimette

Steve was born in 1968 and probably grew up on Van Halen. He provides soundtracks for all those video games where you play along on cardboard guitars. If you like heavy metal Christmas hymns, this is right up your alley. He made an album in 2010 titled EPIC, from which this was noticed. Steve, I can’t recall if Ouimette before.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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