Well reader, we have reached the tip of the holiday season and it won't be long before every commercial, store, and neighborhood will have something Christmas-related. You know the yule tide is coming, why not go ahead and get in the mood now? In case you are already full of Christmas cheer or need a musical primer to get you started, here are 5 Must-Have Holiday albums to bring in that good 'ol holiday spirit!
Bing Crosby- Christmas Classics
TobyMac- Christmas In Diverse City
4. This album is among the top five for all the reasons opposite of #5. Christmas In Diverse City sounds exactly like its name implies. TobyMac brings his unique style of Rock, Pop, R&B, and Funk all in one phenomenal Christmas album. It’s mostly a modern- day twist on many of the holiday classics like “The First Noel,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “This Christmas.” “Birth of Love,” will make any listener wish Christmas was happening right now! And what’s a Christmas in Diverse City without diversity? There are features from Jamie Grace, Owl City, and Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers that places this recording in a class of its own. You’ll want to put all 13 tracks on repeat again and again.
Babyface- Christmas With Babyface
3. Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds' holiday album yields the vocals and sounds that made him a household name in the 90's. What better way to open a holiday album than with Babyface’s soulful rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” If you love Jazz: this is it. If you love R&B: this is it. If you love the 90’s: this is it. "Christmas with Babyface," features the sounds that will not only get you in the Christmas mood, but it carries the sort of impact that will change the atmosphere. That’s why this entire album is great for your holiday social, in the car, or simple relaxation.
Kirk Franklin & The Family- Christmas
2. It’s easy to hear why this album ranks among the best-selling holiday albums ever. Gospel music and Christmas tunes never sounded so good together. Tune in to “Silent Night,” “Now Behold the Lamb,” and “Thank You For Your Child” and you’ll quickly understand how this album rocked Billboard charts at its release. You’ll also understand why the songs on this album are sang in churches and gospel choirs year-round. Kirk the Creative gives us his interpretation of the holiday season in eleven remarkable tracks while once again proving why he is the highly revered songwriter, arranger, composer, producer, and chart-topper that he is.
Nat King Cole- The Christmas Song
1. The legendary Nat King Cole seemingly put Christmas and everything it contains into these 20 well-orchestrated tunes. Who else could? Cole’s clear and thunderous voice blended with the Christmas message and glee makes you wonder why this album only gets recognition during the holidays. His original “The Christmas Song” only ranks among the other shining stars of this compilation. “Caroling, Caroling,” brings holiday joy right to you. “I Saw Three Ships,” is playful and warm. “The Happiest Christmas Tree,” is guaranteed to make you laugh and move. In a pool of compliments, the only bad thing about this album is there isn't enough of Cole on the piano, if at all. However, your heart and ears will delight in listening to many of the well-known holiday classics and the rare holiday treasures that are often neglected from our Christmas musicals and church hymnals. This ranks number one my list because fans of any genre at any age at any time can enjoy it.
James Fortune & FIYA- Grace Gift
* Earlier this year gospel ensemble James Fortune & FIYA released their holiday album. Known for their beautiful harmonies and always-relevant messages, Fortune & FIYA open up with “Holy Night,” is the first track featuring Josiah Martin; the intricate harmonies and voices are only the tip of the iceberg. "Christmas Time" is contagious: you’ll dance, the person beside you will dance, and before you know it you’ve lost 5 lbs. of that despised Holiday Weight! "Grace Gift" is all about the core of Christmas: Christ’s birth through God’s grace toward mankind. The melodies here let you know that these singers are trained professionals and that Fortune has a unique gift for arrangement and composition. This album is destined to be among the classics and in the holiday collections of many for years to come.
Thanks for Reading and Happy Holidays,