a christmas collection






a beatles collection

yesterday's news

a christmas collection

el dorado

cobble creek

on the horizon







'Twas just past November, best I remember
When quite off the wall, I got a call
It's Macy's you see, and we have a plea
We hear you can play, we need you today

The shoppers are coming, we don't need the drumming
Some solo guitar, maybe wise men and stars
Will help set the mood, even quiet the brood
You just never know, where strange gigs might go


1 The Christmas Song 3:07
2 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
O Come All Ye Faithful
Angels We Have Heard On High
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3 We Three Kings
What Child Is This
4 Jingle Bell Rock
Jingle Bells
5 Winter Lights -A Christmas Fantasy 5:33
6 I Wonder As I Wander
Coventry Carol
O Come O Come Emmanuel
7 Let It Snow
Here Comes Santa Claus
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
Up On The Housetop
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Winter Wonderland
8 I'll Be Home For Christmas
White Christmas
9 I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Auld Lang Syne
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day II
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

I have always enjoyed Christmas music, especially once I heard John Fahey turn some popular holiday tunes into ragtime guitar pieces. I also remember seeing him in concert create seamless transitions between unrelated songs, and stretch them into nice, long medleys. Sprinkle in a touch of Keith Jarrett improvising complete solo piano concerts and part of my musical foundation was formed.

Sometime in the early 1980s Macy's hired me to stroll around their massive department store in Sunnyvale, California playing instrumental versions of Christmas Carols for the holiday shoppers. The catch was they wanted me there for 5 hours a day, for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Sixty hours of guitar playing over 12 days is just a bit more than I ask of my students.

This gave me the opportunity to get very familiar with many songs, very quickly, and allowed plenty of time to practice them. My wandering around the store frequently turned into quality improvisation time and gave me a chance to combine songs in lots of different settings.

The next year I managed to buy a 4-track recorder and set about the task of recording some of the pieces I had come to love... and hate.


A Little Press Never Hurt...

Neil Hogan's A Christmas Collection proves that the seasonal standards don't have to be sedate. A bluesy version of "The Christmas Song" smacks of a Mamas & the Papas influence. Mellow standards like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing,""O Come All Ye Faithful,""Angels We Have Heard on High," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"–here as one medley– swing without changing the all-too-familiar mold of traditional tunes. "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Jingle Bells," meanwhile, are tossed together to create a witty little number. And combinations such as "We Three Kings/What Child is This" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas/White Christmas" suffer no strain for slower tempos.

Hogan focuses on the merry in his Christmas collection. His arrangements offer more bounce, more jive, and more groove than the average seasonal solo guitar recording–but he doesn't overdo it. That's what makes this package so appealing.

Mary-Kate Bourn, CD Review