‘Tis the season . . . where people complain about how the familiar Christmas carols are too overdone.
Granted, there’s some truth to the complaint. But this is a glass-half-full sort of website, so let’s look at ten Christmas songs that aren’t overdone.
- At The Right Time (Booth Brothers, Carry On, 2007, on YouTube here): The Booth Brothers cut this Mosie Lister song on a 2007 table project. The Garms Family recognized the song’s potential as a Christmas song, using it as the title track for their just-released Christmas CD. But it’s not overdone yet! It would make a great album opener.
- We Will Find Him (Michael Card, The Promise, 1991, on YouTube here): This song bursts with energy. It’s begging for quartet harmonines. And it’s so forgotten that it is as good as new.
- Never Before, Never Again (Cathedrals, Raise the Roof, 1994). Seriously, has anyone cut this since 1994? And has anyone ever put it on a Christmas project?
- Joseph’s Song (Michael Card, The Final Word, 1987, on YouTube here): This song is just waiting to be remade as a melodic bass solo (think Eric Bennett, Pat Barker, Gerald Williams).
- Grace Has a Face (Greater Vision, Everything Christmas, 2010, etc., on YouTube here): Three or four major groups have cut this song over the last fifteen years. But it’s far from overdone yet.
- Hand of Sweet Release (Gaither Vocal Band, Still the Greatest Story Ever Told, 1998, on YouTube here): Yes, the Gaither Vocal Band did a magnificent rendition which might be hard to top. But it’s been thirteen years now, and no major Southern Gospel group has recorded it since. That’s long enough for a solid new rendition to stand on its own merits.
- Something’s Happening (Mercy’s Mark / Hoppers, on YouTube here): Both renditions by major Southern Gospel groups are on mainline projects. But the song’s opening lines—”Something’s happening in Bethlehem / from a stable a lonely light glows within / is that a Baby crying, there’s excitement in the wind / something’s happening in Bethlehem”—place it solidly into eligibility for a Christmas album.
- Redeeming Love (Bill Gaither Trio / Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, on YouTube here): It’s not a Southern Gospel project without a magnificent big ballad, and this one is exactly what the doctor ordered.
- God Himself the Lamb (Cathedral Quartet, Symphony of Praise, 1987, on YouTube here): After a first verse describing Abraham, Isaac, and the prophecy of Christ as the Lamb of God, the lyric plunges into the Christmas story: “When the Promise rang / unto Bethlehem this God reached down to man / and gave to us the only Son He had.” There’s nothing like finishing a Christmas project by completing the story and telling why Jesus came.
- For What Earthly Reason (Cathedral Quartet, Symphony of Praise, 1987, on YouTube here): Yes, two songs on this top ten from one non-Christmas Cathedrals project. Much like “God Himself the Lamb,” the song touches on Christmas themes before moving onto Calvary.