Music-Folk Scene: NewsnetScotland’s Greatest Album (Update); Christmas albums with a difference

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This festive week: Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album update; and a selection of unusual Xmas albums that will warm the winter season.

NewsnetScotland’s Greatest Album – (Update)
Our quest for the quintessential ‘Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album’ continues unabated.  Great suggestions and a myriad of surprises abound.

This festive week: Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album update; and a selection of unusual Xmas albums that will warm the winter season.

NewsnetScotland’s Greatest Album – (Update)
Our quest for the quintessential ‘Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album’ continues unabated.  Great suggestions and myriad of surprises abound.

Although groups like Capercaillie can be and may well be included, a fine suggestion was made by Newsnet Scotland reader ‘chicmac’ to do ‘NewsnetScotland’s Greatest Folk-Music Album’ – good one, that’s a goer for the New Year.

Currently, continuing in what remains of this historic year, without a doubt Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album is already shaping up to be infinitely superior to STV’s offering – then again we may be biased.

Among the present heavy weight groups contending for a place so far on Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album are: Simple Minds, Ultravox, Fish (Marillion), Jethro Tull, John Martyn, Capercaille, Barbara Dickson, Donovan, Marmalade, The Average White Band, Run Rig, Gerry Rafferty, Middle Of The Road, Maggie Bell, The Beta Band, The Associates, The Eurythmics, Snow Patrol, The Cocteau Twins, Aztec Camera.

Bearing in mind a modern CD can hold 80mins of audio wav content, and it is after all a compilation, we will join the 21st century and include more than only a dozen songs offered on STV’s compilation:

[STV – Scotland’s Greatest Album
1)”Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty 2) “Maggie May” – Rod Stewart 3) “Stuck in the Middle” – Stealers Wheel 4) “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – Eurythmics 5) “Sunshine on Leith” – The Proclaimers 6) “Dignity” – Deacon Blue 7) “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers 8) “The Whole of the Moon” – The Waterboys 9) “Caledonia” – Frankie Miller 10) “Candy” – Paolo Nutini 11) “Take Me Out” – Franz Ferdinand 12) “Run” – Snow Patrol]

Keep your suggestions coming in this week to be included in the final choice. A Youtube link (or other video-audio link) is essential really.

So get linking – time is of the essence – one more week to offer your selection!

For your listening perusal, two world class Scottish groups worth an audition:

The Silencers – ‘The Painted Moon’ (1987)

The Associates, Club country (1982)

Christmas albums with a difference:
Unusual Xmas albums that you can enjoy for their musical merit as well as for their festive spirit and even happily offer as Xmas gifts.

Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong (2006)
Sarah McLachlin made her career with the seminal album ‘Fumbling Towards Exctasy’, here she brings her beautiful voice to Wintersong, a warmth and originality delivering traditional and modern Christmas songs, producing something often lacking in the Xmas genre – good music that you’ll listen to every year and never tire of.  Sarah will warm the chill in a winter heart if you invite her in as a guest.

1) Happy Xmas (War Is Over) 2) What Child Is This? 3) River 4) Winter Song 5) I’ll Be Home for Christmas 6) O Little Town of Bethlehem 7) The First Noel / Mary Mary 8) Silent Night 9) Song for a Winter’s Night 10) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 11) In the Bleak Mid-Winter 12) Christmas Time Is Here

Winter Song

Warner Bros. Jazz Christmas Party (1997)
If you like jazz then this is a great record for those who want something different.  I love it – it gives a less commercial, less predictable take on Xmas songs we know so well and potentially a more entertaining one at that … did I say I love it?  You might too but it’s best to listen to it on spotify and judge for yourself (where incidentally you can listen to a near limitless collection of Christmas albums).

1) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Joshua Redman; Brad Mehldau 2) Celebrate Me Home – Al Jarreau 3) A Cradle In Bethlehem – Kirk Whalum 4) I Bought You A Plastic Star For Your Aluminum Tree – Michael Franks 5) Our First Christmas – Gabriela Anders 6) Silent Night – Brad Mehldau 7) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Boney James 8) I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Kevin Mahogany 9) Pure Imagination – Mark Turner 10) Christmas Time Is Here – Brad Mehldau 11) Personent Hodie (Sing Aloud On This Day) – Bob James 12) White Christmas – Béla Fleck; Bob James; Hilary James

Fiona MacKenzie – Duan Nollaig: A Gaelic Christmas (2007)
A 2-disc set of traditional Christmas songs sung in Gaelic with the sweet, dulcet tones of Fiona MacKenzie.  The songs work perfectly naturally in Gaelic – if you like one then you’ll like them all and this might well be an agreeable stocking filler.

Listen to the album on spotify OR on Amazon to brief song extracts of Duan Nollaig:

Fiona MacKenzie singing ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’(Anns An Dubhlachd Gheamhraidh)

Dean Martin – Christmas With Dino (2004)
Dean Martin “was one of the warmest human beings you ever met” as his friends would testify and the warmth of Dean Martin’s humanity makes this album something special, well above the ordinary.  This is the remastered (2004 edition) and is quite simply timeless and will no doubt become a family favourite – you’ll be singing too

1) Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 2) White Christmas 3) Silver Bells 4) I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm 5) Winter Wonderland 6) Baby It’s Cold Outside 7) Blue Christmas 8) Jingle Bells 9) A Winter Romance 10) A Marshmallow World 11) The Christmas Blues 12) Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer 13) Silent Night 14) I’ll Be Home For Christmas 15) Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! [Version 2] 16) Winter Wonderland [Version 2] 17) White Christmas [Version 2]

Rat Pack pals Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra perform – ‘A Marshmallow World’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAEqsnOQrxY