It’s almost Christmas. In two days in fact.
If you’re like me and you’ve been listening to Christmas music since early November then it should come as no surprise that we’ve almost reached that most magical of days. But before we gather around the Christmas tree and open presents, let’s reflect back on this one heck of a momentous year.
The year 2020 began with a whirlwind of political madness (at least in the U.S.) and quickly devolved into one of the worst health crises of the past 100 years, the Covid-19 pandemic, that struck every corner of the globe.
With the past eleven months of nothing but extreme weirdness, I for one am glad just to spend a few precious hours listening to some Christmas music, mainly old and old-fashioned Christmas music, to help heal my soul and ease the tension of this very dramatic year.
I have grown to really love Christmas music especially old Christmas music as it really takes me out of today and back into the magical feeling of being young and more hopeful.
I was just thinking this past October how nice it would be to have a new Christmas album by one of my favorite artists come out as sort of a musical band-aid to help heal this broken year. It was not a couple of weeks later that I heard that a new Christmas album (sort of) by none other than the late Davy Jones of The Monkees was being released in November.
Entitled appropriately enough “It’s Christmas Time Once More” this groovy new collection features Jones singing thirteen festive selections, most of which came out originally in cassette from in 1991, as well as two bonus tracks.
Produced by famed Monkees producer Chip Douglas, “It’s Christmas Time Once More” originally included eleven songs: “Winter Wonderland”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Silver Bells”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” , “White Christmas”, “Mele Kalikimaka”, “This Day in Bethlehem”, “Silent Night”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “When I Look Back on Christmas”.
This new 2020 edition adds two lovely demos from the 1960’s (two versions of “White Christmas”) plus some newly added vocals by none other than fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz along with his sister Coco plus Jone’s youngest daughter Annabel who duets with her father on another version of “White Christmas” and sings background vocals on three other tracks.
For those Monkee fanatics out there, Dolenz and his sister Coco are featured on background on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “This Day in Bethlehem”, two of the highlights from this new disc. Monkee fans may also recognize “Silver Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka” as Jones’ vocals from these were used on The Monkees 2018 release “Christmas Party”.
What can I say, this newly tweaked version of “It’s Christmas Time Once More” is truly a gift. Nearly nine years after Jones’ death in February 2012, it’s so nice to be able to hear his familiar voice wafting out of stereo speakers and so nice that the Davy Jones estate is keeping his memory alive with superb releases like this one.
Davy Jones voice is so suited for Christmas music so if you’ve never heard him sing some of these evergreen classics it might be worth tracking this new album down and giving it a listen in the next couple of days.
“It’s Christmas Time Once More” came out in November on most digital platforms but I was also able to get a hold of a CD copy just this past week. It seems that Davy Jones estate has made limited copies of the CD version available this year and I believe there might be a vinyl version in the future as well.
I have to say that the wonderful cover photo by esteemed rock photographer Henry Diltz (who also sings background on some of these selections) is by far one of the best Christmas album covers I have ever seen – it’s just terrific.
As I said this year has been so dreadfully bleak that to end it with this lovely new/old collection of Christmas standards sung by Davy Jones is the perfect way to cap of 2020 with a little hope and merriment. If you’re a fan of CDs this album is out there though it may be hard to track down as I think it may have sold out but I’m sure it will be available next year as well.
As usual I thought I would share some photos (above) of the new CD and if you can’t find it at least stream or download the album as it’s widely available in digital form. If you liked The Monkees “Christmas Party” from 2018 I’m sure you’d love to hear this new collection and what better time than two days before Christmas.
Well that’s it for now. I hope all of you out there are staying safe this Christmas and are able to have a few moments of calm and peace as we roll out of 2020 into a hopefully much better and brighter and healthier 2021.
Until next time be well and MERRY CHRISTMAS one and all!!!