Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Epic Listening: Six Great Christmas Albums

I firmly believe that it is never too late to buy or play Christmas music. I play it all through the season, at least until New Year's Eve provides significant distractions of its own. Also, a great album of Christmas music makes a nice last minute gift or stocking stuffer. Five of my favorite Christmas albums are:
1. Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails, Volume 1.
This album is another of the fabulous releases from the Ultra Lounge project. The highlights are "Christmas Is" by Lou Rawls and "I'd Like You For Christmas" by Julie London. Oh Julie, how can it be that we never met?

2. Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails, Volume 2.

Another superb album. "Baby It's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin is the greatest version of this great song. "Christmas Waltz" by Nancy Wilson is another highlight.

3. The Sinatra Christmas Album.
There are a lot of Sinatra Christmas albums but this one is my favorite because it has duets with Bing and some other surprises. The aching "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" steals the show pally.

4. Making Spirits Bright, Dean Martin.

This is my favorite of the lot. Every song on this is perfect. My highlights are "Christmas Blues", "Winter Romance" and, of course, "Baby It's Cold Outside".

5. I'll Be Home For Christmas, Joe Grandsen.

Atlanta trumpet man and vocalist Joe Grandsen is one of my favorite performers. His Christmas album is full of jazzy swingin' arrangements and has lots of energy. You can buy it here.

6. Snowfall, Jackie Gleason.
Many people do not know that Jackie Gleason was very well regarded as a band leader and put out several albums of big band and orchestra music. Not many people have this album but it is easily available. It is all instrumental and all swanky. My favorites are "Snowfall" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas". When I play this album, people invariably say "wow, that is fantastic...what album is that?"

I hope that you add one or more of these great albums to your collection. Put one on and have a holiday martini on me...


Petunia said...

Both Dean Martin and Jackie Gleason are regular staples of our Christmas Music rotation. New this year is the Elf Sountrack - better than you think!

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

We play Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas all year long. Pierpont can even duplicate it on piano by ear. I leave little bells in the car ash tray so we can "Keep Christmas in our hearts all the year long!"

Ben said...

Thanks for the guidance. My Christmas music is light on jazz and lounge, which is a shame. And I agree with you, I try to get Christmas music started when we come home with the Norfolk pine one week after Thanksgiving, and keep it going until Three Kings Day, when the tree gets chopped up and shoved in the back of my truck.

The Chipmunks, Ray Conniff, and my son playing his Christmas Story DVD over and over put me in the season.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lane and family.

M.Lane said...

Petunia, just hearing the soundtrack from Elf would have me cracking up all the time! What an hilarious movie!

Ben, thanks so much and the same to you and your family.

Mrs. Scoffs, that is one of the most lovely things I have heard in a long time. Good for you.


heavy tweed jacket said...

The Jackie Gleason Christmas album is my all time favorite. I cannot remember a time when it was not in my parent's home. Several years ago my brother found a CD reissue and gave it to us for Christmas. Perfect. We generally play Christmas music until around Epiphany. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Uncle Beefy said...

Well, M. Lane, here we are. Christmas Eve 2009. I LOVE this compiled playlist! Will have to add these to the pile for holidays to come!

Most assuredly wanted to wish you and your's a very Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for all your wisdom, eloquence, comments, and support throughout the year! It's meant a great deal. :)

One day Paris! But about that martini... I don't really think I, well... no, I really don't.... OKAY... twist my arm! ;) Happy New Year 2010!

M.Lane said...

HTJ, the same to you!! It has been a wonderful relaxed Christmas, just what the doctor ordered.

Mon Oncle, great to see your visit! And yes, Paris awaits...but for now...it is already 115pm so...TINI TIME...