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BRAVE COMBO: “O, Christmas Tree,” 1992. The Denton polkaholics recast this traditional German song into an irresistible samba. From It’s Christmas, Man! (Rounder).
CHARLES BROWN: “Please Come Home for Christmas,” 1960. This ballad barely edges out 1947’s “Merry Christmas, Baby” as the Texas City cocktail-blues piano man’s greatest contribution to seasonal sadness. From Please Come Home for Christmas (King).
LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS: “Merry Christmas,” 1953. The Houston bluesman salaciously awaits the return of his baby. From the compilation Blue Yule (Rhino).
ROBERT EARL KEEN: “Merry Christmas From the Family,” 1994. A woebegone tale for those of us who don’t know whether to laugh or cry our way through the holidays. From Gringo Honeymoon (Sugar Hill).
ROY ORBISON: “Pretty Paper,” 1963. Only the Voice From Wink could be inspired to such majestic heights of loneliness and paranoia by gift wrap. From The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison, Volumes 1 and 2 (Sony).
JOE TEX: “I’ll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman),” 1967. As always, the Navasota soul sermonizer left no doubt that he meant it. From the compilation The Original Soul Christmas (Rhino).
GEORGE STRAIT: “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas,” 1986. Strait swings through yet another explanation of why Texans are different from everyone else. From Merry Christmas Strait to You (MCA).
ERNEST TUBB: “Merry Texas Christmas, You All!” 1952. Who can resist ET’s holiday largesse: “If wishes only could come true / We’d wish that we could send to you / A gushing oil well or two.” From Christmas (MCA).
GARY HOBBS: “Paz Esta Navidad,” 1992. You don’t need to speak Spanish to understand Hobbs’s plea—you need only appreciate the Eagle Pass singer’s tone. From the compilation Christmas in Texas (Capitol/EMI Latin).
LOU ANN BARTON: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” 1983. Barton knows how to spend the holidays, you betcha. From the compilation An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas (Epic).