26. "Christmas Comes But Once A Year," Amos MilburnKing 5405; b-side of Charles Brown's "Please Come Home For Christmas"
Highest chart position: #21 R&B (1960), #78 Pop (1961)
Recorded September 21, 1960, Cincinnati, OH
Some Christmas songs ignore the commercial madness and secular trappings that get built up around the holiday ("Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime"), some decry it (Roy Orbison's "Pretty Paper") and some embrace it ("Silver Bells," recorded by just about everybody). But this single, the b-side of what may well be the greatest Christmas 45 of all time, takes an bluesman's (that is, honest) approach to the season: this is all a lot of work, but we may as well enjoy it now. The music matches that feeling note for note, a West Coast-style blues from the original "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" man that goes down as smooth as that last Jack-and-Coke you have just after you're done assembling and inserting batteries into everything.