BITTERSWEET, Ky. — Okay, I admit it – sometimes even I search for something a little different to listen to at Christmastime. As much as I love the classics, we will get more than our share of those familiar hits before the New Year gets here.
So, I decided to do a little research and find old Christmas songs you have likely not heard, or at least not heard in a long time. I will start first with a song by Burl Ives, the snowman on the classic cartoon “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the voice behind the classic holiday song “Holly Jolly Christmas.”
Ives released a song called “The Seven Joys of Mary” in 1952, and at the time it really wasn’t a Christmas tune but more of a folk religious song. Over the years it began to be played at Christmastime, and this song really shows off the beautiful folk voice Ives had.
Next I would like to introduce you to the tune “Christmas Eve” by Perry Como. I know, I know – Como is hardly a stranger to Christmas music – but this selection is seldom heard unless you have it hiding in an old record collection. It is truly a Perry Como-style song and will likely become a favorite if you play it enough.
Johnny Cash is another artist who sang a few Christmas tunes in his day but, I must say, his version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is so heartwarming. It was included on his The Christmas Spirit album back in 1963 and was his first Christmas collection.
And while we’re talking about this album, Cash’s recital of the poem “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver” is also on this album and will touch your heart for sure.
One more you likely aren’t familiar with is the release by Brenda Lee called “Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day.” And it is a true Brenda Lee tune, sort of sad – but it’s hard to hide the fun in her voice. The song was included on her Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee album released in 1964.
And if you think you don’t know much about this collection, the biggie that came off of this album was “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” I’ll just bet you hear that one on the radio tomorrow.
Bluegrass Johnson comes from a long line of country music performers and enjoys a passion for the rhythm and melody. From the hills of Kentucky, he will offer his opinions on a variety of new country music each week. Readers with questions or comments may write to Johnson in care of this publication.