Nowadays, if they think of Christmas music from the Sixties, young people are apt to think of The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album or Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records or any of the Motown versions. But I think of artists like Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, and Nat King Cole.
Back when I was a kid, the Christmas music I heard was pretty lightweight. I wasn’t listening to some of the fine seasonal offerings from Stax or Atlantic. I wasn’t much of a rock or soul aficionado at all.
I prefer Christmas music with a little heft, but there can be something charming about the lighter offerings. For example, The Free Design’s 1968 single “Close Your Mouth (It’s Christmas)” offers an odd blend of wistful pop and folk psychedelia. It sounds like it could either be a children’s record or a jingle for a bank commercial.
Their style became influential on more contemporary bands like Stereolab and Pizzicato Five. The Bird and the Bee seem to also be channeling that sound with their 2007 version of “Carol of the Bells.”
Think of these as little soufflés to balance out heavier offerings.
The Free Design – Close Your Mouth (It’s Christmas) — BUY The Bird and the Bee – Carol of the Bells — BUY