Posted by: Captain Easychord | December 20, 2009

Free Music Sunday: Squirrel Nut Zippers – Sleigh Ride

With Christmas coming up in just a few days, ’tis the season to take a break from our 2009 retrospective and appreciate a little bit of holiday tuneage.  Now I know that Christmas music is a little controversial… there are some people who, for whatever reason, really can’t stand it.  Other folks (myself included) appreciate it for what it is:  a traditional element of the season that helps set the holiday ambiance that is as essential to Christmas as the trees, lights, cookies and presents.

Picking just one track this week was pretty tough, after all, there are so many great Christmas songs to choose from.  Everyone from Metallica to Alvin and the Chipmunks to Kurtis Blow has produced a memorable Christmas classic.  In the end, I had to go with the only song to make a pair of appearances on a two disc compilation of excellent Christmas tunes that I made a few years ago.

“Sleigh Ride” is high up there in the hierarchy of Christmas songs, annually ranking in the top ten most performed songs by ASCAP members during the holiday season.  According to Leroy Anderson’s biographer, “‘Sleigh Ride’… has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music.”

One of those artists is neo-swing standby, The Squirrel Nut Zippers [m] [w], who recorded the song for their 1998 album, Christmas Caravan. Although the rest of the music world had a 50 year head start recording “Sleigh Ride”, it’s the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ rollicking romp through the song that really sounds like a sleigh ride that has become definitive to me.

Now it’s your turn… get into the holiday spirit (whatever holiday you like, “Sleigh Ride” is entirely nondemoninational!”), go download Sleigh Ride from Popdose.  Enjoy!

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