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Spotlight On: "The Ventures' Christmas Album"

By John Rieg

The Christmas season, while filled with joy for many, can be considerably exhausting for some. Between the presents, the lights, and the ongoing pandemic, this season has proven different than years past, and particularly challenging at that.

One thing remains constant though. That is of course, the incessant playing of Christmas music in every overcrowded store and supermarket across America.

How many times in a month can one stand to hear “Last Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” or the absolute worst offender: “All I Want for Christmas is You,” before going mad?! Why are we, the general public, forced to suffer through the same tunes over and over again, when there is so much more Christmas music out in the world?

In recent year, one album in particular has caught my attention, and served as a healthy refresher from the incessantly repetitious dribble that plays in the stores every season; it turns 45 this year.

Released in 1965, “The Ventures’ Christmas Album” has proven itself a peaceful oasis, in a sea of boring seasonal holiday music.

The Ventures were an instrumental rock n roll group from the 60’s, that put the electric guitar at the forefront of their music. Well known for their 1960 single, “Walk Don’t Run,” the group has been recognized as pioneers of guitar-based music, leading to their eventual induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1960.

“The Ventures’ Christmas Album” takes songs we’ve heard countless times before, strips them down to surf-rock instrumental jams, and combines them with popular hits from the time period.

Some of my favorites from the record include renditions of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which takes elements from the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine,” and a version of “Frosty the Snowman,” infused with the all time party classic, “Tequila.”

The album offers a fun deviation from Christmas classics, without abandoning the songs that have grown to become so familiar to us. If you need a break from the usual round of Christmas songs that plague our holiday season, but still want to maintain your Christmas spirit, I highly recommend giving this bad boy a listen!

You can hear “The Ventures’ Christmas Album” here:

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