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40 Essential Christmas Albums

Classics and new entries worthy of your holiday bonus

Johnny Cash, 'Christmas with Johnny Cash'
Courtesy of Columbia Records24/40

24. Johnny Cash, 'Christmas with Johnny Cash'

Johnny Cash's sonorous voice is not what you expect on a Christmas album – but his faith was strong enough that he made four of them anyway: one a decade, starting in 1963. This 2003 album compiles the highlights of the first three, plus a moving story he told on his TV program about an impoverished childhood Christmas. If Cash's voice sounds earthbound, that suits his the moral of the song-poems: the true spirit of Christmas is loving your fellow man.

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