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I have no problem making Thanksgiving dinner for everyone but I have been scratching my head and trying to make a decision on music. Been listening to a lot of old timey stuff, Nina Simone, Etta James and the like. Any suggestions?

asked by thirschfeld over 6 years ago
16 answers 1669 views
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Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

Do you have Pandora? You can set up stations and let it do the work for you - based on Etta James for instance - or maybe something like a Pink Martini channel? Our house will have The Din Of Four Genrations channel playing :-)

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added over 6 years ago

How about:
Handel for the Holidays (1996)
and for kid in all of us...
A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Vince Guaraldi (1964)

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added over 6 years ago

I've been quite partial to Louis Prima these days. I know Mambo Italiano is hardly traditional Thanksgiving music, but it's fun. I also second the Pandora recommendation.

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added over 6 years ago

Love this question, as we are huge music lovers in this house. And Pandora rocks. You should check it out thirschfeld.

Right now, I'm listening to my Pandora on my Logitech Squeezebox - set to the Brown Eyed Girl station, which has a great mix of oldies like Van Morrison, Sam & Dave, Beatles, George Harrison, with some new stuff mixed in. This link may or may not work: http://bit.ly/cDol79

And I've been listening to the "Swinging Christmas" station too. Driving my family crazy in the process, but, well, that's life!

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Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

Ditto on the Pandora. George Winston did Vince Guaraldi's music--you can download it from Amazon. I have a Pink Martini channel on Pandora, too--love it. Try your favorite singers--Pandora finds similar music and it's a fun surprise. In the vein you suggested, we like Tierney Sutton, Jessica Molaskey, Diana Krall, and Nancy LaMott. We've also been known to play zydeco at Thanksgiving! But that's just us.

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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

Tracks from Buena Vista Social Club and from the film, Chocolate; for music a bit older: William Boyce Symphonies; certain Beethoven Cello Sonatas (best if performed by Gastinel and Guy); a wide variety of piano solo and piano-included chamber music by Beethoven and Schubert; Marsalis playing Haydn; short works for solo piano by Chopin; and some Eugene Ormandy Phila Orch oldie-but-goody short works. You get the idea. (I play the piano, so I'm rather partial to it . . . and I could listen to Brendel play anything, all day.) December holiday music: either or both of the Eaken Trio recordings (probably out of print but not too hard to find in the secondary market). I could list a half a dozen other favorites but I have to get back to work. ;o)

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added over 6 years ago

What, no Beiber???

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added over 6 years ago

My Pandora Duke Ellington channel while I'm cooking and probably during dinner. And afterward, with dessert and coffee, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra "Festival of Carols in Brass" to officially usher in the holiday season.

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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

And just to clarify, I don't like music on during dinner. I find it too distracting, even when it's a very low volume,. It's one of my many idiosyncratic preferences. . . . . ;o)

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added over 6 years ago

I'm preferential to Etta, as well and will probably put together an I-tunes playlist in that vein. I've noticed at events where music is not the primary focus, it seems that Motown/Atlantic from the 60's & 70's always makes people smile, sing along and bop around a bit.

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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 6 years ago

Like your avatar Queen of Spoons!

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added over 6 years ago

What a great question (and great bunch of answers)!

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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

Mr. T, you are not doing the Ramones? What's with you man?

Actually I like Yann Tiersen. French composer responsible for the crazy waltzes in Amelie. Of course the French don't celebrate Thanksgiving even though they should be grateful all those cheeses and Perigord truffles.

Stephan Grappelli or Madeline Peyroux might also be good.

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added over 6 years ago

pierino I am glad you mentioned the Ramones and while I will enjoy them Christmas morning I don't want to burn out on them before then. Like the idea of Tiersen. All are good suggestions.

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added over 6 years ago

Add Bettye LaVette's cover of "Salt of the Earth" to your playlist.(Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook). It falls within the female soul genre you like, and with lyrics referring to drinking and to the popular seasoning, its holiday appropriate.

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added over 6 years ago

Much depends on the age(s) of the people at the table. In a retail setting where there were people of all ages, and we wanted the music to be enjoyable but not invasive, we found that soft jazz, big band and swing, ladies like Cesaria Evora and the singers you gave above were enjoyed by the whole cross section. Volume is crucial too -- not too loud, but just right!

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