happy birthday baby jesus

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2014

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Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2013

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2013 reveals sort of a punker/”classic” indie lean, with plenty of originals alongside chestnuts roasted with new recipes.  Other genre excursions too, natch. Hope you find some new favorites to brighten your Advent and Christmas seasons. Love to hear what you’re diggin on.

Past year’s mixes here.


  1. Variations On Carol of the Bells — The Mermen
  2. Silent Night — Nick Lowe
  3. It’s Christmas Time — Yo La Tengo
  4. Bethlehem — Vigilantes Of Love
  5. Silver Bells — Chet Atkins
  6. Christmas Day Is Coming — The Blue Diamonds & Jack Bulterman Orchestra & Chorus
  7. Jingle Bells — Sy Mann with Jean-Jacques Perrey
  8. Free Christmas — Johnny Marr and The Healers
  9. Cry Of A Tiny Babe (Live Version) — Bruce Cockburn with Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash & Rob Wasserman
  10. Hurray for Santa Claus — The Fleshtones
  11. Little Drummer Boy (Up the Khyber) — Hoodoo Gurus
  12. O Come, O Come Emmanuel — Bad Religion
  13. White Christmas (Guitar Stooge Version) — Iggy Pop
  14. 14 Punch Bowl Full of Joy — Sonny Columbus & the Del Fuegos
  15. Christmas Night — Dwight Twilley
  16. Mary’s Little Boy Child — Jim Reeves
  17. Merry Christmas — The Cameos
  18. I’ll Be Your Santa Baby — Rufus Thomas
  19. Christmas in the City — King Sun feat. D Moët
  20. Le Cantique de Noël — Royksopp
  21. Home for the Season — Neil Halstead
  22. Christmas Eve Can Kill You — Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie "Prince" Billy
  23. Gaudete — Steeleye Span

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2012

‘Tis (almost) the season, Friends,

Per usual, HBBJ showcases this years’ particular pop obsessions (Roxy Music, the Bee Gees, the Manics [although I left out the Dead!]), outre cover versions (Cee Lo, J Tull, Jon Anderson), and selections from my Christmas vault that I propose for canonization (Ed Gerhard, John Prine, Byron Lee). Now – I submit to you this question: what makes the Glam and Power Pop sub-genres the ground most fertile for holiday originals.? Taste and see!



  1. Giddie Up — The Dumbells (aka Roxy Music)
  2. Three Ships — Jon Anderson
  3. Please Come Home For Christmas — The Insight (featuring Johnny & Edgar Winter)
  4. Christmas Time In Motor City — Was (Not Was)
  5. Let’s Get It Together This Christmas — Harvey Averne Band
  6. Winter Wonderland — Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
  7. Mele Kalikimaka — Arthur Lyman
  8. Merry Christmas Baby — Dr. John
  9. Hey Santa Claus — The Moonglows
  10. The Wildest Christmas — The Boys Next Door
  11. Deck The Halls — Metal Mike, Alison & Julia
  12. Merry Christmas Will Do — Material Issue
  13. Please Leave Me Home For Christmas — Imperial Drag
  14. Ghost of Christmas — anic Street Preachers
  15. Christmas, Bring Us — The Grip Weeds
  16. Christmas Was Better In The 80s — The Futureheads
  17. White Christmas — The Wedding Present
  18. Christmas Spirit — The Wailers
  19. Christmas in Prison (Live) — John Prine
  20. Christmas ’83 — Centro-matic
  21. Silver Bells — Arlo Guthrie & Ed Gerhard
  22. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman — Jethro Tull
  23. Christmas Must Be Tonight — The Band
  24. Children Go Where I Send Thee — Odetta
  25. River — Cee Lo Green
  26. Thank You for Christmas — Bee Gees
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Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2011

Lots of instrumentals this year. In that vein, I’ll let the mix speak for itself. Enjoy! Merry Christmas.

Play it:


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And the Angel Said Unto Them - David Axelrod
White Christmas - He5
Christmas Time Is Here - John Zorn
Joy To The World - Lalo Schifrin
Hot Club Of Christmas - Aztec Camera
All I Want For Christmas (Is A Little Bit Of Music) - Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns
Little Drummer Boy - Lenox Avenue
Run Rudolph Run - Richards, Keith
Jingle Bells - The Blues Magoos
Christmas Bop (version 2) - Bolan, Marc
Christmas for the Free - Argent
Merry Christmas Baby (alt edit) - Elvis Presley
White Christmas - Les Paul & Mary Ford
The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - The Jackie Davis Trio
Every Day Is Christmas (When I'm Lovin' You) - Charles Bradley
Christmas On Riverside Drive - August Darnell
Things Fall Apart - Cristina
This Christmas - Shoes
Please Come Home for Christmas - The Uniques
Christmas Eve Can Kill You - Everly Brothers
Blue Christmas - Sharon Van Etten
Silent Night - Charles T. Chapman (Carillonneur on The Luray Singing Tower, Luray, VA)

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2010

Stephanie finds this mix my “coziest” yet. And its cold out there!

You’re going to need some of this:

  • Santa & The Satellite Pt.1 – Buchanan & Goodman
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – The Going Thing
  • Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas? – The Staple Singers
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  • Christmas Blues – Ramsey Lewis Trio
  • Merry Christmas, Baby – Charles Brown & Band
  • Presents for Christmas – Solomon Burke
  • Sleighride – Lloyd Glenn
  • Holiday On Skis – Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani
  • Christmas Day – Detroit Junior
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Pearl Bailey & Hot Lips Page
  • Twistin’ Bells – Santo & Johnny
  • Jingle Bells Part 2 – Pastor T.L. Barrett
  • Holy Babe (edit) – Kelly Pace, Aaron Brown, Joe Green, Paul Hayes, Matthew Johnson
  • Santa & The Satellite Pt.2 – Buchanan & Goodman
  • Winter Wonderland – Ruth Welcome
  • We Four King (Little Drummer Boy) – The Blue Hawaiians
  • Noelle A Hawaii – Antena
  • Got Something for You – Best Coast, Wavves
  • Time of the Season – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
  • The Chipmunk Song – Canned Heat
  • Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
  • (I Want a) Rock and Roll Guitar – Johnny Preston
  • One Of You (In Every Size) – Marty Robbins
  • Santy’s Movin’ On – Homer & Jethro
  • Rockin’ Santa Claus – The Moods
  • Santa Claus – Sonny Boy Williamson
  • In the Bleak Mid Winter – Bert Jansch
  • Happy New Year Blues – Mary Harris

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Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2006

Here at ARLT we dig deep. We give and give and then give a little more. One more from the archives.

2006, my first year back in Charlottesville. Listening to this one, I realize that I was at least a little lost that year… Oye’s “Last Christmas” is almost too sad to take, and talk about making a song your own. Wow. But this year, I skipped over “Another Lonely Christmas.” Didn’t want to hear. May never listen to it again. How wonderful it is, three years later, to be able to look over my shoulder and sing my songs to a certain someone… (You know who you are, you are my sexy Christmas baby mine.)


♦ Bright, Bright the Holly Berries – Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians
♦ Welcome Christmas – Califone
♦ Christmas Time Is Here (alternate vocal take) – Vince Guaraldi
♦ Warm December – Julie London
♦ Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto – Belle & Sebastian
♦ Child’s Christmas In Wales – John Cale
♦ Someday At Christmas (Alternate Mix) – Stevie Wonder
♦ Dig That Crazy Santa Claus – Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers
♦ The Christmas Boogie – The Davis Sisters
♦ The Christmas Song – Jimmy Smith
♦ I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Psapp’s Lady Remix) – Les Brown And His Band Of Renown
♦ Another Lonely Christmas – Prince
♦ Driving Home for Xmas ’95 – Saint Etienne
♦ One Christmas Catalogue – Captain Sensible
♦ When I Get Home For Christmas – Snow Patrol
♦ Last Christmas – Erlend Oye
♦ Sexy Christmas Baby Mine – morphine
♦ Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis – Tom Waits
♦ Santa Claus is Back in Town – Elvis Presley
♦ Santa to the Moon – Sonny Cole
♦ Christmas on the Moon – Troy Hess
♦ God Is My Santa Claus – Hank Snow
♦ Gloria (In Excelsis Deo) – The Tryfles
♦ Le Twist Du Père Noël – Les Chaussettes Noires
♦ Thanks For Christmas – The Three Wise Men (aka XTC)
♦ The Bells Of St. Mary – Bob B Soxx And the Blue Jeans
♦ Merry Christmas You Suckers – Paddy Roberts
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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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