Friday, December 22, 2017

Gene Autry - Christmas Favorites LP


CBS (1981)

Excluding the Ventures' Christmas Album, this Gene Autry LP is hands down my favorite Christmas record.  While it certainly isn't as rocking as the Ventures and likely may not appeal to everyone that typically reads this website, there's something about these songs that are so ingrained into me that I can't get into the Christmas mood without them.

My dad had this album on cassette when I was a kid and when it was Christmas time, it would always get broken out.  The songs, by Gene Autry - the singing cowboy, are very obviously geared towards children, which was probably a lot of the appeal.  About ten years ago or so, I picked up a CD that contained every Christmas song that Gene Autry recorded for Columbia records.  It covers everything that is on this LP plus another dozen or so more songs.  That tends to be my go to this time of the year, but I wanted to have these songs on vinyl and I really wanted the specific album I listened to as a kid.  Luckily while kicking around on eBay, I found a copy that was brand new, still sealed and it was only ten bucks.  An easy decision.

The songs on this album are some of the most classic every written.  You have "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" (the song that Gene originally made famous), "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  There's no way you haven't heard these before as they are the very essence of traditional Christmas music.  

For me, it's the deep cuts on the album that really make it for me.  "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas" spins a tale of how could Santa Claus get to your house if there's no snow and he can't use his sleigh.  It's full of charming imagery of Santa flying a plane and other unusual modes of transportation.  "Christmas Waltz" is a slow, wonderful song about a couple dancing together while the spirit of the season affects everyone around them.  

Then there are my two personal favorites: "The Night Before Christmas (In Texas That Is)" and "Merry Texas Christmas You All."  Both put a cowboy spin on the traditional Christmas story, and I have to admit, they have an even funnier, more personal connection for me now since my wife is originally from Texas.  It's impossible for me to say enough good things about this album.  I just love it to bits and rest assured it's going to be played pretty non stop for the next few days.

This will be my last proper review of the year.  Right around New Years, I'll post my Absolute Best Records of 2017 list, but aside from that I'll be taking a break and doing a lot of eating.  Hope everyone has a nice holiday and a happy new year.

Gene Autry - "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer":

Gene Autry - "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas":

Gene Autry - "Merry Texas Christmas, You All":

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