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Christmas Music Playlists with Alan Jackson Songs
If You're Up For A Little Bitty Good Time Over The Holidays
Alan Jackson's speciality is honky tonk, a strand of country music most associated with the Southern States of America. With a vibrant mix of steel guitars and fiddles this is a genre that was made for getting everyone on the floor and dancing. Naturally this characteristic lends itself perfectly to the party season and so Jackson has made good on this by releasing a couple of Christmas albums to bring the house down over the holidays.
The first of Jackson's Christmas albums arrived in 1993 and the 10-track 'Honky Tonk Christmas' was awash with originals and little known festive numbers. In fact to the casual ear only Johnny Marks 'A Holly Jolly Christmas' stands out as a perennial Christmas number (thanks to our old favourite Burl Ives). While there is a consistent melancholy theme in the lyrics throughout (lots of tears and too many beers) Jackson keeps the tone uplifting throughout. The album included a pair of duets with a young Alison Krauss showcasing her undoubted talent on the soft lilt of 'The Angels Cried'. He also teamed up with Keith Whitley on Whitley's own 'There's A New Kid In Town' which lent a religious angle to an album that is primarily secular in direction. Jackson also showed his fun side in recording of 'Santa's Gonna Come In A Pickup Truck' with those chirpy characters the Chipmunks. This song would later appear on the Chipmunks very own 'A Very Merry Chipmunk' release in 1994. Merle Haggard’s ‘If We Make It Through December’ is also notable for its dandy approach to a topic that must have been worn with a heavy heart.
In 1996 Alan released a standalone single where he countrified 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' to within an inch of its life. With wild slide guitars and Jackson’s trademark drawl this was an altogether different Rudolph that we’ve grown used to hearing each year. The song was also included on a collection of Country Christmas songs called 'Star of Wonder: A Country Christmas Collection' which also featured Tammy Graham, the Tractors and Diamond Rio.
Whereas his debut Christmas 'Honky Tonk Christmas' was blessed with originals Alan Jackson's festive follow-up in 2002 'Let It Be Christmas' only had one new compositions in the shape of the album's title track. For the rest of the time the country and western man gave his all to reshaping old faithful’s like 'Winter Wonderland', 'O Come All Ye Faithful' and 'White Christmas' with plenty of orchestral embellishment throughout which gave ‘Let It Be Christmas’ a more immersive sound. In many ways 'Let It Be Christmas' is an old style Christmas record with Jackson quite often dropping his country outlook. His version of ‘The Christmas Song’ is that of a crooner rather than a master of ranch based melodrama and ‘Jingle Bells’ is something that could entertain the throngs in the bright lights of Las Vegas. ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ is similarly dashing, a throwback with cooing female backing vocals and big band flourishes at every turn.
In 2003 Alan's 'Just Put a Ribbon in Your Hair' from his 1993 'Honky Tonk Christmas' record appeared again on 'A Very Special Acoustic Christmas' which was part of a series of Christmas releases where all the proceeds go to the Special Olympics. The collection featured an array of country music stars such as Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs and Wynonna Judd.Author: Kevin