Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2009

Yes, Bing is back again this year.

Welcome to the long anticipated HBBJ 2009. One whole year in the making.

My favorite sad-sack 8 year-old and I share many of the same frustrations about Christmas. (As does Loudon Wainwright III.) Why the need to gorge ourselves on the “holiday season?” Why are we so hungry?

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I, and the other James featured on this year’s mix, urge you not to sucumb to the easy, instant gratification of a prepackaged yule. Don’t settle for cheap sentimentality. What, at he heart of it, is so great about Christmas anyway? Do you really feel like it is worth it? Why or why not? Ponder. Enjoy the anticipation a few more days.

Yes, listen to that sweet tension in Steve Vai’s masterful interpretation of “Christmas Time Is Here.” Yes, it is upon us. But not quite yet. Savor. Already, but not yet.

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♦ “Isn’t There Anyone” – Charlie Brown
♦ Suddenly It’s Christmas – Loudon Wainwright III
♦ Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas) – Bing Crosby
♦ Pretty Paper – Roy Orbison
♦ “Fair Share” – Sally Brown
♦ I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You – Claudine Longet
♦ I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas
♦ Gotta Get Lucky For Xmas – Johnny Rabb
♦ A Merry Jingle – The Greedies
♦ Christmas Time Is Here – Steve Vai
♦ “Eastern Syndicate” – Lucy van Pelt
♦ White Christmas – Julian Koster
♦ Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow – Herb Alpert
♦ We Free Kings – Rahsaan Roland Kirk Quartet
♦ Merry Christmas Baby – Jimmy McGriff
♦ “Real Estate” – Lucy van Pelt
♦ Santa – Lightnin’ Hopkins
♦ Papa Ain’t No Santa Clause, Mama Ain’t No Christmas Tree – Butterbeans & Susie
♦ Let Me Hang Your Stockings In Your Christmas Tree – Roosevelt Sykes
♦ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Fantasy – John Fahey
♦ “Playing Shepherd” – Shermy
♦ Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year, Pts. 1 & 2 – James Brown
♦ Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
♦ Presents for Christmas – Solomon Burke
♦ Christmas In the City – Marvin Gaye
♦ “Wooden Trees” – Linus van Pelt
♦ O Holy Night – Smoking Popes
♦ If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home – Reigning Sound
♦ Xmas (Baby, Please Come Home) – Arab Strap
♦ “All About” – Linus van Pelt
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