It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Or so the saying goes. And hey, we can’t deny that we’re big fans of the holiday season here at Thalia capos.
But, we do have a bit of a bee in our bonnet when it comes to the Christmas season, and that’s Christmas music.
For six-string aficionados, typical holiday music fare can be a bit of a bummer. The mighty guitar tends to play a supporting role in popular seasonal songs. Tis the season to be jolly? Sure. The season to shred and strum? Not so much.
So what can you do about it?
Well, option one is to complain royally about the terrible state of Christmas music to everyone within earshot. But, while doing so might mean catharsis for you, it’s a sure fire way to wind up the rest of your family over the holidays.
Option two– the option recommended by Thalia Capos – is to get your festive six-string fix by listening to the Thalia approved Christmas playlist!
As far as we’re concerned, nothing says “seasons greetings” like a scorching guitar line, and these cuts, from the greats of blues and rock n’ roll are testament to that.
Of course, as with all of our Thalia playlists, this is just the starting point. Make sure that you guys share your selections in the comments so that we can keep this one going and growing!
Chuck Berry – “Run Rudolph Run”
“Said Santa to a boy child what have you been longing for?
All I want for Christmas is a rock and roll electric guitar”
Now those are sentiments that all of us at Thalia can relate to. Chuck knew the score back in 1958 and they’re still true sixty years later.
Oh, and if Chuck’s version isn’t heavy enough for you, there’s always this blistering take by Motorhead’s Lemmy, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dave Grohl.
Albert King – “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’”
The unmistakable sound of Albert King is up next, with this raunchy blues-funk blast. Bonus points for the use of sleighbells!
B.B. King – “Back Door Santa”
From one King to another, B.B. actually released an entire album of Christmas songs – “A Christmas Celebration of Hope” – in 2001. We’ll admit it’s not exactly a B.B. King classic, but there are some standouts, most notably this rollicking rendition of “Back Door Santa.”
Eric Clapton – “Crying Christmas Tears”,
Eric Clapton’s take on Freddie King’s “Crying Christmas Tears” from the 30th Anniversary Special Olympics Gala is a masterclass. See if you can make it through this one without picking up a guitar.
So those are our picks. But, we’re only just getting things started. What are your favorite Christmas-themed guitar numbers? Tell us your suggestions in the comments, we’ll add them to the list and create the ultimate Christmas playlist as chosen by the Thalia community!
Cal Jam doesn’t get the same love as festivals like Monterey Pop or Woodstock. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the late ‘60s countercultural cred, happening a full five years after the summer of love reached its peak. Maybe it’s because it was staged to be filmed for television (as part of ABC’s legendary “In Concert” series). Why do I love California Jam so much? It is because it established the record for the largest concert sound system ever assembled? Was it because it featured the first ever appearance of the Good Year blimp at a music festival?
Guitar lessons eventually followed. But, classical guitar didn’t grab me in the same way that my own freeform compositions had. Firstly, I didn’t know any of the songs I was supposed to be learning. Secondly, it required the kind of co-ordination and finger dexterity that I was – at that time at least – far too impatient to master. “I read somewhere that there are these things you can use to hit the strings so you don’t have to use your fingers. I think they began with a P,” I once told my guitar teacher. “The thing that begins with a P is called practice,” he replied. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean I wanted to hear it.
This week, to satisfy my yearning for live music, I’ve taken a deep dive into my record collection and rediscovered some live favourites. Given how much joy I’ve got out of these records, I thought I’d share them with you today. Putting together this list, I’ve tried to take the road less travelled. I didn’t want to put together a list of classic live albums that everyone already knows like the back of their hand. Instead, my three picks serve as alternatives to some of those classic albums, offering a new look at some legendary bands.