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Christmas Music Playlists with Alabama Songs
This Time We Are Guided By The Southern Star
Alabama were formed in 1969 and while their roots are undeniably in the country scene their music has appeal to fans of other genres including bluegrass, Christian rock and on occasion to those of the gospel fraternity. With such a rich sonic tapestry it is no wonder that Alabama have become one of the bestselling country acts of all-time which in part lead to their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
The band's love of the season is undeniable and can be traced back to what remains their best known Christmas hit 'Christmas In Dixie'. The song was initially released as a single in 1983 and was included on Alabama's most revered festive release, 'Alabama Christmas', which appeared 2 years later in 1985. With plenty of originals and relatively unknown Christmas songs (even 'Happy Holidays' was a new track written by the bands collaborator Randell Rogers) making up the 10 tracks 'Alabama Christmas' blazed a trail and sold in excess of 2 million copies. With heartstrings being pulled to within an inch of their life on sweet ballads 'Santa Claus (I Still Believe in You)' and 'Christmas In Dixie' this was an album with universal appeal. Other tracks like 'Thistlehair The Christmas Bear' and 'Tonight Is Christmas' were also impressive in that they gave the season a pair of new songs that had every intention of rearing their cherishable heads each new December.
Alabama's next Christmas release arrived in 1994 and was called 'Christmas with The Judds and Alabama'. While it was merely an attempt to get the tracks recorded for 'Alabama Christmas' out in the Christmas market again the addition of festive numbers for the Judds made for a great value package. With the success of the original 'Alabama Christmas' a true follow-up was inevitable and 'Alabama Christmas Vol. II' duly arrived in 1996. With a template of mostly down-tempo songs Alabama broadened their Christmas palette by including several covers this time. With their renditions sometimes complementing the original material such as in the case of 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' and 'Hangin’ Round the Mistletoe' this was another winner from the Fort Payne act. Elsewhere soothing numbers such as 'Christmas is Love' and 'The Blessings' were perfectly cast beside the soft rock tendencies of 'The Little Drummer Boy' and an effortlessly tender 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'.
In 2006 the best tracks from 'Alabama Christmas' and Alabama Christmas Vol. II' were gathered together for the first time on 'Christmas Collection'. This was the perfect introduction to the Alabama's Christmas canon for those who had yet to sample their two previous efforts. A further release in late 2006 called 'Songs of Inspiration' gave fans a first taste of what the band could do in the gospel arena. As you'd expect the album was overtly religious in tone with Randy Owens and his bandmates carefully and precisely working their ways through hymns such as 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Amazing Grace'. Alabama also included their warm and acoustic version of 'Silent Night' which was sadly the only nod to Christmas on the album. 'Songs of Inspiration' was well received by critics and fans alike and so 'Songs of Inspiration II' quickly followed the following year in 2007. This time there were no Christmas moments but Alabama confirmed themselves as a Christian band par excellence.Author: Kevin