Mark Kozelek – “Christmas Time Is Here” (Vince Guaraldi Cover)

The announcement that Mark Kozelek would, in 2014, release an album of Christmas standards came last December, along with some of the songs that would appear on that album. We were given “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” in time to add them to our Christmas 2014 playlists, and today, we get another: “Christmas Time Is Here,” the profoundly melancholy choral number from A Charlie Brown Christmas, written by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson. I don’t think I’m alone in saying the original is one of the very best winter-specific songs in recorded history, and I’ll add that Koz’s interpretation is every bit as lovely, ethereal, and transporting. Koz includes the dialogue from the film that was featured on the soundtrack version, but he adapts that, too: Kozelek, appropriately, plays the role of Charlie Brown, while a friend stands in for Linus. The names are changed, though. Says the Linus character to his glum companion: “Mark, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem … Of all the Mark Kozeleks in the world, you’re the Mark Kozelek-iest.” Perfect. The whole thing is perfect. You gotta listen.

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols tracklist:
01 “Christmas Time Is Here” (Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”)
02 “Do You Hear What I Hear” (Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker)
03 “2,000 Miles” (The Pretenders)
04 “O Come All Ye Faithful” (traditional)
05 “O Christmas Tree” (traditional)
06 “Away In A Manger” (traditional)
07 “Silent Night” (traditional)
08 “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (traditional)
09 “What Child Is This” (traditional)
10 “I Believe In Father Christmas” (Greg Lake of King Crimson)
11 “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (traditional)
11 “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” (traditional)
13 “The First Noel” (traditional)
14 “The Christmas Song” (Bob Wells and Mel Tormé)

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols is out 11/4 via Caldo Verde.