40 Essential Christmas Albums

Classics and new entries worthy of your holiday bonus


Various Artists, 'Blue Yule'

Various Artists, Blue Yule
Courtesy of Rhino Records

Explore the flipside of Christmas cheer with this exceptionally well-curated 1991 collection: eighteen tracks of seasonal blues music (most of them from the '50s and '60s), compiled by James Austin for Rhino Records. Luminaries here include John Lee Hooker ("Blues for Christmas"), Canned Heat ("Christmas Blues"), and Sonny Boy Williamson ("Santa Claus"). "Santa Claus, Santa Claus, I'm in misery," Louis Jordan sings (in the last song he ever recorded) and he makes you believe it.


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